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Call for Interest in short-term/Temporary Assignment - HR Specialist (Business Partner)


  • Organization: IFAD - International Fund for Agricultural Development
  • Location: Rome
  • Grade: Mid level - P-3, International Professional - Internationally recruited position
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Operations and Administrations
    • Human Resources
    • Sustainable Business Development
  • Closing Date: Closed

Organizational Setting

This call is advertised as a short-term assignment with a duration of initially 6 months and expected to start shortly after selection. Should an external candidate (including consultants and staff members not meeting IFAD HR Implementing Procedures' definition of 'internal') be selected, the contract type would be that of a short-term professional (TPO). In the event an IFAD staff member, holding a FT/continuing contract be selected, the movement would be implemented as a Temporary Assignment through the applicable provisions. The temporary assignment is expected to start shortly after selection.

The Corporate Services Department provides IFAD with the human resources, administrative services, safety and security and information technology resources required to allow IFAD to meet its objectives of enabling rural people to overcome poverty. The Human Resources Division (HRD) is fully integrated within the Corporate Services Department (CSD), providing services to colleagues at Headquarters and in the field, with the ambition of being a strategic, business-oriented and fully trusted professional partner with IFAD managers and staff. HRD’s mission is to provide best practice HR policies, advice, and solutions, all of which are designed to recruit and develop the best and most appropriate talent to carry out IFAD's mandate.

The division is currently comprised of the Talent Management Unit, Policy and Strategic Support Unit, and Business Partner Unit. Each Unit is bound with the same team spirit and has specific responsibilities to help achieve HRD’s vision of offering management and staff comprehensive and seamless solutions.

The Business Partner Unit (BPU) is responsible for a full range of HR services across IFAD and shapes a workplace in which individuals thrive and teams excel. The BPU provides best practice HR policies, advice and services, thanks to dedicated, customer-oriented professionals. The BPU is the first point of contact for staff members and managers. Business Partners aim to develop deep relationships with client divisions to add substantive value through advice and support on recruitment, succession planning, career development and performance management, centred on IFAD's core values and competency framework, and aligned with the organizational strategic direction.

The HR Specialist works under the overall strategic, policy and management guidance of the Director of the Human Resources Division (HRD) and the direct supervision of the Chief of Business Partner Unit.

Job Role

Human Resources (HR) Specialists at this level are seasoned professionals reflecting an in-depth and complete understanding of at least one specialised HR occupation in the context of IFAD’s mandate and work programme. They may additionally perform a range of additional human resource occupations as part of an HR full-service centre dedicated to specific departments/divisions/offices/units. Within their areas of responsibility, HR Specialists exercise a high degree of independence in providing reliable HR programme delivery. HR Specialists perform a large range of HR work independently; the supervisor is consulted in the analysis of complex and/or precedent-setting cases to ensure consistency in the interpretation and application of regulations and rules and to document such decisions. HR Specialists (BPU) are responsible for talent acquisition and reassignment, benefits and entitlements, case management, and providing sound advice to managers and staff on HR matters in the assigned portfolio of client divisions.

The HR Specialist (BPU) is responsible for talent acqusition and re-assignments, benefits and entitlement, case management, and provides sound advice to managers and staff on HR matters in the assigned portfolio of client divisions.

Key Functions and Results

1. BUSINESS PARTNER: HR Specialists' customer service focus on client outreach and the provision of seasoned advice and guidance on a range of HR regulations, rules and procedures, ensuring the highest level of client-orientation. They serve as the single point of contact for their client portfolio on advice pertaining to all aspects of the employment life cycle. HR Specialists proactively advise clients on the resolution of human resources issues ensuring equitable and transparent solutions that protect both staff and the organization’s interests in accordance with policies, regulations and procedures. They support HR best practices in the Fund through outreach to counterparts in other private- and public-sector organizations to identify potentially innovative solutions to IFAD client concerns, as well as maintain open communications with counterparts in other UN and IFI organizations for further discussion with other HR Specialists, internal committees, and/or review boards. HR Specialists promote the organizational goals and targets for gender equity and cultural and geographical diversity.

2. HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT: HR Specialists are seasoned HR professionals with the capacity to interpret and apply a broad range of HR policies, rules and regulations, as well as standards and techniques related to UN and the Fund’s HR strategy, principles, policies, regulations, rules and procedures. HR Specialists may be assigned to an HR generalist team providing support to a large, complex group of clients, or serve as a specialist in one the various HR occupations (talent acquisition, administration of entitlements, classification, staff development, performance management, social security, etc.) with accountability for independent performance of on-going HR casework comprising the full range of complexity of work including the establishment of precedent-setting determinations on entitlements. With respect to highly sensitive/political cases, HR Specialists recommend solutions that are considered technically accurate and are, therefore, not subject to technical review. They may prepare special reports and participate in or lead ad hoc human resource projects. HR Specialists interpret and analyse HR data to help inform strategic decision making on HR processes and strategies.

3. HUMAN RESOURCES ADVOCATE: HR Specialists establish a foundation for HRD's reputation as a value-added service provider as part of the Division's HR strategy. At this level, the focus is on thorough knowledge of the Fund's governing structure, mandate, long-term business strategy, organizational dynamics and culture, and through their seasoned professionalism. HR Specialists reach out to supervisors and staff, listening and responding effectively and efficiently to common issues and problems, and building relationships based on respect and trust. From the perspective of a value for diversity and respect for a multi-cultural client base, HR Specialists demonstrate communication skills that serve to promote the Division's strategy and the equitable management of IFAD staff.

4. AGENT OF CHANGE: HR Specialists understand and apply the principles of change management and proactively serve as role models for transformation and capacity for acceptance of change. They use a solid knowledge of information technology to analyze and promote acceptance of new methods of work, and effective communication skills to persuade and influence managers, supervisors and staff to adopt change. Going beyond acceptance to change in methods and technology tools, HR Specialists manage change through consultations with HR colleagues and outreach to client offices to ensure open and regular communications pertaining to current and planned changes in HR strategy, policies, regulations and rules. They explain the scope and ramifications of proposed HR initiatives, promoting understanding of their purpose and functional advantages.

5. MANAGERIAL FUNCTIONS: HR Specialists are accountable for integrity, transparency, and equity in the personal use of assigned IFAD resources, including equipment, supplies and, as applicable, staff supervised.

Key Performance Indicators

The work requires the identification of the need for changes to HR policies, as well as the interpretation and application of HR policies, rules and regulations to a broad range of complex casework. HR Specialists at this level analyse proposals and requests received from managers, supervisors and staff and make recommendations or take technically sound actions. Examples of such actions at this level include the resolution of a range of staff entitlement matters, the recruitment of staff to atypical positions within the Fund requiring the use of outreach recruitment services, such as social networks, revisions to procedures for the classification of jobs or the design of specific training programmes to meet staff development needs. As seasoned professionals, the work of HR Specialists reflects directly on the professionalism of the incumbent and the overall reputation of HRD for technical quality in terms of both substantive depth and adaptive relevance to client needs, and a customer service approach to problem resolution. HR Generalist positions cover a range of HR specialties and normally have access to advice from specialists in the individual areas (broad in scope but restricted depth of treatment of subject matter). HR Specialist positions, on the other hand, are more restricted in scope but require more in-depth analysis to solve case-by-case problems independently; this could include, for example, the revision of the on-boarding induction course for new staff members and/or off-boarding activities.


Working Relationships

Internally, HR Specialists are required to explain, clarify and achieve consensus for HR decisions taken or procedural changes planned. These contacts are with managers, supervisors, staff members and staff association representatives and may cover such matters as the determination of non-routine or difficult staff entitlement cases, new types of selection or recruitment activities, the results of job classification reviews, etc. 

Externally, work relationships for HR Specialists at this level are normally required to obtain information from and exchange views with a range of outside sources dealing with such matters as obtaining information from insurance companies on the coverage of plans and resolution of claims, identifying and assessing candidate qualifications through personal interviews, and consultations with counterparts in local UN organizations to discuss classification issues. Contacts may also be established with the UNJSPF on a range of pension matters. Both internally and externally, HR Specialists establish and maintain effective, collaborative relationships and project the image of a credible/reliable partner. Internal contact can reach the Director’s level to clarify specific situations in relation to their job role and key functions and results.

Job Profile Requirements


  • Advanced university degree (Master or equivalent) - Human Resources, business or public administration, social sciences or related area. 


  • A mimimum of five (5) years of progressively responsible professional experience relevant for the area of Human Resouces.


  • Accredited CIPD Certificate or equivalent is an asset.


  • English (4 - Excellent)
  • Desirable: Working knowledge of French, Spanish, and/or Arabic 


  • Procedure interpretation: Ability to interpret established, formal guidelines to address and recommend solutions or further actions required
  • Analytical skills: Outstanding ability to analyse and synthesize qualitative and/or quantitative information from a variety of sources and filter out key insights and recommendations
  • Stakeholder management: Strong alignment capabilities and consultation skills, building on effective interactions and relationships with different stakeholders (e.g. for the co-creation of communication material with member states) and ability to build and maintain a strong network (e.g. with journalists, media outlets, etc.)
  • Compensation: Expertise in compensation methodologies and practices, benefits and entitlements
  • Diversity & inclusion dynamics: Expertise in diversity & inclusion dynamics applications in human resources
  • HR knowledge: Expertise in principles and concepts of human resources management, including HR business partnering and client outreach, job classification
  • HR systems: Know-how in the design and management of HR systems and tools (e.g. learning platforms, performance platforms, etc.)
  • Performance management: Expertise in performance management methodologies and strategies
  • Talent acquisition: Know-how in recruitment and talent acquisition methods and processes, including proactive talent acquisition
  • Workforce management: Know-how in organizational development and design and strategic workforce planning
  • Basic ICT & digital fluency: Expertise relevant to the specific role (e.g. in-depth, computer information systems, including micro-computer operating systems software, hardware and applications software and other office technology equipment), end-user computing configuration management
  • Adaptability: Adaptability and flexibility when facing new or unexpected situations, and to specific constraints and circumstances and managing complex processes
  • Client orientation: Strong critical thinking combined with communication skills to liaise between the business and technologies to understand business problems and needs, document requirements and identify solutions
  • Confidentiality & Discretion: Establishes self and division as trusted advisor to internal stakeholders by maintaining high level of discretion and confidentiality in assignments; demonstrates sound judgement when dealing with sensitive and/or confidential matters; drives good governance and is a "Culture Carrier" demonstrating IFAD institutional conscience through his/her work.
  • Listening: Effective and active listening to others; understanding and acting upon indirect statements
  • Verbal communication: Clear, succinct and convincing verbal communication; highly professional, balanced and diplomatic language
  • Written communication: Clear, succinct and convincing written communication in the language needed for specific role; highly professional, balanced and diplomatic language (e.g. for drafting of position papers, briefings, etc.)

Other Information

This call is advertised as a temporary assignment with a duration of initially 6 months and expected to start shortly after selection. Should an external candidate (including consultants and staff members not meeting IFAD HR Implementing Procedures definition of 'internal') be selected, the contract type would be that of a short-term professional (TPO). In the event an IFAD staff member, holding a FT/continuing contract be selected, the movement would be implemented as a Temporary Assignment through the applicable provisions. The temporary assignment is expected to start shortly after selection.

Internal candidates, holding a FT/continuing contracts, should verify and obtain their supervisors' support to release them in the event they are selected. Temporary assignments may include movement to a higher grade and granting of a special post allowance (SPA) in line with the provisions of HRIP Chapter 3, and at the end of the temporary assignment staff will return to their former position at the original grade. 

In the interest of making most cost effective use of funds and resources, we are only able to respond to applicants who are short-listed for interview. Candidates who do not receive any feedback within three months should consider their application unsuccessful. Candidates may be required to take a written test and to participate in interviews.

This vacancy is now closed.
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