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Chief of Section (HR Policy)

Geneva (Switzerland)

Before submitting an application, UNHCR staff members intending to apply to this Job Opening are requested to consult the Recruitment and Assignments Policy (RAP, UNHCR/HCP/2017/2 and the Recruitment and Assignments Administrative Instruction (RAAI), UNHCR/AI/2017/7 OF 15 August 2017.

Chief of Section (HR Policy)


The position is located within the Division of Human Resources (DHR). The Division¿s mission statement indicates that DHR is a strategic, trusted and innovative business partner in enabling UNHCR to protect and respond to persons of concern by attracting, motivating, retaining and developing a talented, diverse and agile workforce, while nurturing a culture of excellence, respect and wellbeing for all.

The incumbent of this position supports the UNHCR¿s People Strategy and contributes to the implementation of the 2018 independent HR review which resulted in the establishment of HR strategic priorities and the reconfiguration and transformation of the Division from a largely transactional model into a strategic business partner for field operations and senior management.

The Chief of HR Policy Section is part of the Human Resources Operational Partnership Service and leads a team of professional staff (one P-4 and two P-3s).

The staff member works under the supervision of the Deputy Director and collaborates with Heads of Services and Chief of Sections within the Division as well as with the Legal Affairs Service (LAS) and the Organizational Development and Management Service (ODMS).

The staff member maintains close relationships with Human Resources staff and other managers in the Organization, such as Senior Resource Managers, Country Representatives, the Ombudsman, Inspector General's Office and the Staff Council, as well as with consultative bodies such as the Joint Advisory Committee.

The Chief of HR Policy Section promotes UNHCR's position and interests on HR matters with partners in the UN system, ICSC and in various interagency working groups, such as the HR Network Standing Committee on Field Duty Stations, and has close working relationship with the UN Secretariat (OHRM); the HR Network, and Heads of Policy (HR) departments in other UN Organizations.

The incumbent engages and contributes to the work of internal Task Forces, as deemed appropriate.


- UNHCR HR policy framework is compatible with the staff rules and regulations and other policy references of the UN Common System. .
- HR Policy development at UNHCR is at a leading edge in support of its operations in the Field, it is forward looking and promotes the Duty of Care as well as the Inclusion, Diversity and Gender.
- Professional guidance is provided in the consultative process leading to the HR policy formulation and development.
- Policy documents are updated in the Staff Administration Management Manual (SAMM) and other related Manuals and Guidelines.

- Initiate/coordinate and prepare policy papers and technical proposals on HR policies and procedures to meet UNHCR's evolving operational needs.
- Advise on all HR issues and on related policy formulation.  Elaborate and recommend strategies and methodologies to ensure sound and flexible HR policies that will serve to attract, motivate and retain high calibre staff and enhance UNHCR's organizational performance.
- Actively monitor (newly) implemented HR policies and procedures, to ensure consistency.
- Present position papers on behalf of the Division and ensure full inclusion of the HR perspective in policies and decisions by participating in internal working groups and task forces.
- Maintain an open system of information exchange on HR policy needs, development, and interpretation by establishing close partnership with the Bureaux, Divisions and the Staff Council.
- Analyse information and statistical data to identify new areas of gaps in the HR policies and procedures.
- Represent UNHCR in external HR fora, such as the HR Network, ICSC, and various Inter-agency Working Groups, to promote UNHCR HR interests with partners in the UN system and ICSC.
- Ensure HR policy consistency and regular communication of clear and up-to-date instructions and guidelines to staff and managers.
- Support the Director and Deputy Director of DHR on HR related issues.
- Work closely with the Legal Affairs Service on interpretive issues or on administrative reviews.
- Any other responsibilities/functions deemed necessary or delegated by the Director or the Deputy Director, DHR, in order to meet the required level of the services in the organization.

- Represent DHR in policy discussions with the Staff Council and other interlocutors.
- Recommend HR policy strategies, procedures and methodologies for approval by senior management.
- Provide expert interpretation of the Regulations and Rules as well as other HR issuances.

- Graduate Degree (equivalent of a Master's) in a human resources related field plus minimum 11 years of experience in progressively responsible functions and exposure to HR policy matters. Undergraduate degree (equivalent of a BA/BS) plus 12 years or Doctorate degree (equivalent of a PhD) plus 10 years of previous relevant work experience may also be accepted.
- Knowledge of UN system, of its bodies (specifically CEB, HLCM and ICSC), its practices, standards, and processes.
- Good communicator with strong interpersonal and negotiation skills.
- Excellent computer skills and excellent knowledge of MS office software.
- Excellent knowledge of English (written/oral/comprehension).
- Highly developed drafting and negotiation skills in English.

- Knowledge of trends, initiatives and best practices in HR policies, in the UN Common System and in the public and private sectors.
- Experience/Exposure to change management process.
- Understanding of legal implications of HR policies.
- Experience in Humanitarian Field Operations.
- Knowledge of French. C002L4 - Teamwork & Collaboration Level 4
C001L4 - Accountability Level 4
C003L4 - Communication Level 4
C004L4 - Commitment to Continuous Learning Level 4
C005L4 - Client & Result Orientation Level 4
C006L4 - Organizational Awareness Level 4
M002L4 - Managing Performance Level 4
M001L4 - Empowering and Building Trust Level 4
M003L4 - Judgement and Decision Making Level 4
M006L4 - Managing Resources Level 4
M005L4 - Leadership Level 4
M004L4 - Strategic Planning and Vision Level 4
X001L4 - Analytical Thinking Level 4
X008L4 - Stakeholder Management Level 4
X006L4 - Policy Development & Research Level 4
X005L4 - Planning and Organizing Level 4
X009L4 - Change Capability and Adaptability Level 4 <p>The UNHCR workforce consists of many diverse nationalities, cultures, languages and opinions. UNHCR seeks to sustain and strengthen this diversity to ensure equal opportunities as well as an inclusive working environment for its entire workforce. Applications are encouraged from all qualified candidates without distinction on grounds of race, colour, sex, national origin, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.</p>
See below for this postion's Operational Context

For those people applying for High Risk Duty Stations, we strongly encourage colleagues to read the country specific security and welfare profiles which can be found on the Intranet under Support Services - Duty of Care ( These profiles have been specifically designed to answer some of the key questions (on security conditions, medical provisions, staff welfare, living and working conditions) potential applicants might have before deciding to apply. Ensuring staff are better informed is part of the increased attention UNHCR is paying to Duty of Care. This project is still in the pilot phase, and as such some of the information leaflets are being produced as we speak and might not be available yet. They will be soon, so keep checking. 

In-depth knowledge of UN System, its Regulations & Rules, and policy framework;
Experience in inter-agency collaboration;
Extensive experience in the field of human resources, policy formulation and development, as well as sound understanding of legal implications;
Experience in administration of staff. The position is part of the HR Operational Partnership Service. 
The incumbent works under the supervision of the Deputy Director, Division of Human Resources and leads a team of professional staff (one P-4 and two P-3s). Position is located at UNHCR Headquarters in Geneva where staff work in open space.
In general, Geneva enjoys comfortable living and working conditions. Not applicable ¿ There is no security concern or restriction. The candidate must have a very good record of performance and possess excellent managerial and inter-personal skills.
Excellent knowledge of English (oral and written) is crucial and knowledge of French language will be highly desirable.

Please note that the closing date for all vacancies in the Add.4 to March 2018 Compendium is Wednesday 5 Septembe 2018 (midnight Geneva time).

We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

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  • Organization: UNHCR - United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
  • Location: Geneva (Switzerland)
  • Grade: P-5, International Professional - Internationally recruited position - Senior level
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Human Resources
    • Legal - Broad
    • Managerial positions
  • Closing Date: 2018-09-05

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