Annex I

PROGRESS REPORT TO THE FINANCE COMMITTEE

Issues/Activities

Tasks

Original Performance Indicators and timelines

Revised Timeline

Comments

Human Resources Planning

To deliver the organizational objectives, the role of AFH in HR planning must be clear. There is a need for a strategic overview of the human resources within the Organization using trends, directions and objectives to develop new and innovative HR policies.

In order to provide meaningful HR planning information, AFH needs to be able to hold and access comprehensive data on both individuals and posts.

The data required at individual level includes: basic demographic data; qualifications; experience (pre-FAO and within FAO); career history within FAO (promotion rates, mobility record etc.); competencies; appraisal data; development history; career development plan; and personal development plan.

Human Resources Management System (HRMS) that provides the indicated types of information will be in place by 2005.

Dependent on phased introduction of necessary HRMS components (December 2006)

HR planning is a workstream in the HRMS project and will be considered in collaboration with PBE. Subsequently, the HR planning tools developed for managers will be included in the implementation of the new system.

AFH will hold one annual meeting with each of the headquarters departments and offices and the regional offices to support them in analyzing and planning their human resources needs and in developing a human resources plan.

Consultations have been undertaken with departmental managers to establish a shared understanding of HR planning and to identify essential HR planning.

Each department, office and regional office would have an agreed human resources plan that establishes the targets necessary to meet its HR needs, as well as the Organizational HR goals. The HR plan should be aligned with PWB plans.

To be aligned with PWB process for 2006-2007 and thereafter

Strengthening the recruitment process – Professional Recruitment

Time taken to fill posts

The time taken is very long and frequently good candidates are lost due to the excessive delay. FAO will take action to reduce this time.

The task would be to reduce substantially the average time taken to fill professional vacancies.

The average time taken to fill a post was 304 days as at 1 January 2000.

The average time taken to fill posts in 2003 was 196 days.

The target is to reduce recruitment time to 140 days by December 2004.

The freeze on recruitment during the first six months of 2004 will impact on the initial timeline of December 2004. Timeline now pushed forward to December 2005

Whilst there has been a reduction of time taken due to streamlining of manual processes, the time taken has stabilized around a level of approximately eleven months over the past two years. Reduction of life span of vacancies has helped maintain time taken to less than a year. Further significant reduction of this time is not likely to occur until the introduction of the Oracle HRMS system.

Support to managers - AFH will strengthen advisory and support services to line managers, monitor the filling of posts and provide guidelines and increased training of line managers in the recruitment process.

Revised guidelines were issued on the FAO Intranet and training of line managers began in June 2003. Departmental workshops on preparation of job descriptions commenced in the latter part of 2003.

All managers would be fully conversant with the recruitment process.

The Guidelines were prepared and workshops and briefings held by December 2003.

December 2003.

Guidelines for professional recruitment and selection have been issued and are available to managers on the FAO Intranet. Briefings were provided to all departments. Recruitment guidelines are continuously updated on-line.

Acknowledgements -Particular attention is being given to the timely acknowledgement of applications.

AFH is monitoring divisions to ensure that they routinely acknowledge the receipt of applications.

Reduction in the percentage of applications not acknowledged.

There has been a significant reduction in the percentage of applications which have not been acknowledged by divisions.

Increased use of technology - The time taken for the approval and translation of vacancy announcements will be reduced.

A job description data bank will be included as part of the HRMS implementation.

80% of VAs would be approved, translated and posted within an average time of 20 days by December 2003.

December 2004

There has been a reduction in the time taken from an average of 28 working days in 2000 to and average of 20 working days in 2004. Translation times are closely monitored by GI to keep them to 15 days. Implementation of Oracle HRMS could bring further improvements.

Moving from passive to active recruitment - Improving FAO’s profile as an employer

At present the Organization relies solely on candidates’ willingness to apply to vacancy announcements posted on the FAO website

FAO would move to an active and targeted approach to professional recruitment to redress gender and age imbalances, as well as geographical representation.

Extending FAO’s Global Outreach - FAO has placed increased emphasis on making better use of the Internet for advertisement and search purposes.

A website mail list has been consolidated which is broken down by location and fields of work.

Testing of all websites on the list to ensure their global outreach and cost effectiveness.

Continue to provide guidance to managers on further websites for dissemination of vacancy announcements.

Generation of qualified candidates through website mail list contributing to the redress of non- and under-representation, gender and age imbalance.

Ongoing

Project still in pilot. Resources permitting, this practice will be extended to the majority of vacancies.

Out of 14 vacancies posted on external websites since 2003, an average of 10% of applications received were from candidates from under-represented countries vis--vis 11% from the FAO website.

Publicity material on FAO
Dissemination of information on employment opportunities.

Preparation of a standard leaflet on employment opportunities.

Create a four page brochure which provides for a broader view of FAO as an employer.

Leaflet prepared and distributed widely

Brochure prepared and disseminated widely.

Completed/January 2003

First quarter 2005

Moving from passive to active recruitment - Targeted Recruitment

Equitable geographical representation

The breakdown by representation as at 1/1/2000 was as follows:

equitably represented: 63;

under-represented: 7;

non-represented: 27; and

over-represented: 83.

Adopt an action plan for redressing non- and under-representation of certain member states.

Continue to implement plan of action for under-represented countries by enlarging the pool of candidates from these countries applying to the Organization and by pro-active recruitment measures. These initiatives will be strengthened with the implementation of Oracle HRMS.

Increase the number of applicants being selected from non- and under-represented member states, thereby reducing the number of such member states.

Ongoing

It is noted that the Conference decision to introduce a new geographical distribution methodology had an impact on the representation status of many countries. The breakdown by representation as at 01/06/2004 is as follows:

equitably represented: 120

under-represented: 19

non-represented: 31

over represented: 10

The impact of these changes has been to expand the number of equitably represented countries.

Recruitment missions - Recruitment missions have proven to be a very effective mechanism to attract a broader pool of candidates as well as raise the profile of the Organization in these countries

Undertake recruitment missions to targeted non- and severely under-represented member states.

Commencing in early 2003 (and ongoing, as necessary), increase the number of selected candidates from countries covered by recruitment missions.

A significant roster of candidates from these countries would be set up from candidates applying to vacancy announcements posted on the FAO website.

Ongoing

Findings gathered during recruitment missions indicate the need for member states to assume a stronger role in preparing their nationals to compete on the international scene. FAO should continue to work with member states in support of measures that go from learning more about FAO and its mandate to skills and competencies needed (including languages) to work in an International Organization.

The number of applications from these countries has more than doubled in comparison with 2002-2003.

The freeze on recruitment during the first six months of 2004 will impact on the initial turnaround of the recruitment missions to South East and Central Asia and Ukraine.

Age Profile

In 2000 the average age at the time of external professional recruitment was 43 years.

Number of junior professional posts will be increased in the PWB 2004-2005. The average age at the time of professional recruitment would be reduced.

Increase in the proportion of young professionals and reduction in the average age of professional recruitment.

Ongoing

Notwithstanding an overall reduction in professional posts of 87 in the PWB 2004-2005, there was an increase in the proportion of junior professional posts (P2 and P3) in the budget from 29 to 32%

Further there has already been some reduction in the average age of recruitment from 43 years in 2000 to 39 years in 2003. This is expected to improve further with the increase in the proportion of junior professional posts.

Identifying young professional candidates - The creation of rosters as one of the outcomes of Recruitment Missions, the participation in Job Fairs and the increased posting of vacancy announcement on external websites have proven to be a valuable tool to achieve this objective

Continue to sensitize managers in FAO to the need to review post descriptions so as to allow for more entry level positions to be available in the Organization.

With the large number of expected retirements in the course of the coming years, concerted efforts to lower the grade point average of posts across the Organization to be included in future HR planning exercises.

Establishment and maintenance of a large pool of junior professionals on an ongoing basis.

Ongoing

Some progress has been made in this area, particularly as a result of candidates identified by the Recruitment Missions

Participation in job fairs

FAO has been attending some job fairs in the USA and most recently in Switzerland

Ongoing

This is recognized as a very powerful tool to target young professionals.

Improving gender balance

The percentage of professional women as at 1/1/2000 at all locations was 24% of total professional staff.

The draft Gender Action Plan has been developed and circulated to parties for consultation. The Plan proposes the establishment of both corporate and departmental targets.

The percentage of female professional staff would increase to 35% by December 2003.

December 2005

As at 30 June 2004, the overall percentage of women in the professional and higher categories was 28%.

General service (GS) staffing

Taking into consideration the changing work requirements and increased use of technology, the GS review will modernize job roles, administrative support structures and improve career development opportunities.

Occupational structures will be rationalized and job profiles updated to reflect the increased levels of responsibility and skill required by the category

Selection and development will be based on competencies and skills

Career paths within occupational groups will be provided to the GS category, both horizontally and vertically.

Complete set of job profiles of Office Assistant from G-2 to G-7.

Use of job profiles and individual work plans instead of post descriptions.

Interchange programme to facilitate rotation and exposure to wider in-house work experience.

Bridge the competency/skill gap between the requirements of the new job profiles (e.g. advanced IT skills and 2nd language) and current skill levels.

Original timeline: January, 2004

August 2004

February 2005

April 2005

April 2006

The GS Review has experienced significant delay due to protracted negotiations; however broad agreement has now been reached with the staff association.

While overall, GS numbers have declined by 38% at HQ a new competency profile has been designed, reflecting the increased skill base of this category.

In addition to being in line with other UN Organizations, the key benefits of the review for FAO are:

new job profiles with a set of updated skills and competencies which are output-oriented in nature;

improved career paths for staff members

a commitment to work plans as a basis for performance appraisal.

Management development

The improvement of programme delivery particularly in an interdisciplinary environment requires the active assessment and development of the skills and competencies of staff. The MTP identifies as a priority the need to establish core managerial and professional competencies, assess staff against these and provide an active program of development for managers to develop the necessary competencies

In consultation with staff and managers, develop core managerial and professional competencies

Assess skills and competencies of staff against core competencies

Identify development needs for staff

Completed managerial competency framework for FAO managers by March 2004 including:

identification of existing competency frameworks within the UN System

acceptance and validation by staff and management of FAO managerial competency framework

management development needs identified

establishment of a management development programme to meet competency requirements

Completed

September 2005

May 2005

September 2005

Project will have been completed in September for the development of a set of core managerial competencies, conducted by the UN Staff System College with the assistance of external consultants. The process for development has been a highly participatory one

Resources for implementation for the Management Development Programme have not been available and need to be identified if it is to be fully realized.

Performance management

The implementation of an effective performance management system would constitute the cornerstone of the human resources management practices that the Organization is seeking to put in place, especially with regard to ensuring results-based management and the optimal use of human resources.

In consultation with the divisions concerned, a new performance management system should be developed that links individual performance plans to the Organization’s programme plan and thus contributes to strengthening the current performance management process. Under the new performance management system, each staff member would have a work plan that would identify individual objectives and expected outputs linked to programme objectives, career development and training needs and managerial skill requirements.

Initially, it was foreseen that a policy relating to the introduction of a new performance planning and review system would be formulated and submitted to the Human Resources Committee by end 2003, with training and implementation taking place by the first quarter of 2004.

December 2006

While a preliminary policy framework document outlining the new performance management system had been formulated by the third quarter of 2003 in consultation with the divisions concerned, difficulties were encountered in the formulation of specific provisions of the new system (e.g. relating to issues of reward for performance and linkages to the specific planned programme activities). These issues have been reviewed extensively and consultations are presently underway with a view to finalising the policy framework document prior to it submission to Senior Management.

Upon adoption of the policy framework, an appropriate electronic system would have to be developed within the Oracle HRMS aimed at ensuring the effective application of a new performance management system.

Supportive working environment

Organizations of the UN common system have recognized the need to create a supportive work environment that will promote productivity and enable staff members to respond to the conflicting pressures of work and family life.

Human resources management policies should be introduced in areas relating to the conditions of employment that are of considerable interest to individuals in the current global market. These areas range from enhanced flexibility in the organization of working time to family support services and family-related leave arrangements.

Flexible Working Arrangements

In order to be able to attract and retain staff of the highest standard of efficiency and technical competence, FAO must maintain a work environment that recognizes work/family issues as a priority for employees.

Develop policies that would allow greater flexibility in the working arrangements.

AFH envisages submitting the policy framework document on this subject to the Human Resources Committee by 31 December 2004.

Teleworking - In conformity with the Work/Family Agenda Policy adopted by the ACC in 1995, the Organization recognised the need to introduce a policy that would contribute to creating a more flexible workplace.

The Organization required a policy framework that would facilitate and allow for home-based work or telecommuting to be conducted by staff. Such a policy framework was developed and implemented initially on a trial basis at Headquarters.

Following the trial period of one year that was concluded in early 2003, AFH submitted its evaluation to the Human Resources Committee (HRC) in July 2003, which recommended the official adoption of the policy. The recommendations of the HRC were endorsed by the Director-General.

Completed. The policy was officially introduced on 7 January 2004

The concept of teleworking has been well received and accepted by staff members, operational and administrative departments/ offices and staff representative bodies alike. Its introduction has yielded positive results (both in quantitative as well as qualitative terms) and has been found to be cost efficient as well as effective.

Family-related matters

Introduction of paternity leave – In recognition of the fact that couples increasingly pursue dual careers and share the responsibilities of their family obligations.

A draft policy on paternity leave was presented to the HRC, which endorsed the proposed introduction of such leave at FAO, subject to the decision to be taken by the UN General Assembly at its 59th session on this subject.

This item was tabled in the previous progress report with a general indication that the family-related issues were on-going and stated that the review of FAO policies in this area that was being conducted at the time would be completed during 2002. No specific mention was made of paternity leave.
With regard to the new updated policies on family related matters, AFH will develop appropriate policy proposals in consultation with staff and Management.
The HRC’s recommendation on paternity leave was submitted to the Director-General for decision. Should the General Assembly concur with the ICSC recommendations, it is envisaged that the Staff Rules and FAO Manual provisions would be amended to introduce a paternity leave policy in FAO by 31 December 2004.

While having recommending the introduction of paternity leave, AFH will continue to review additional areas where it would be feasible for the Organization to introduce new/updated policies aimed at enhancing the work/family balance within the FAO working environment as well as on other family-related matters, including inter alia the treatment of non-traditional marriages/domestic partnerships, an issue which is presently under consideration by the Governing Bodies.

Spouse Employment - In line with the recommendation by the ACC in 1995 related to the Work/Family Agenda and in view of the current practice in other organizations of the UN common system, FAO sought to introduce a policy that would permit the employment of spouses of staff members.

A draft policy proposal in this regard was formulated, with the appropriate procedural guidelines and safeguard measures incorporated therein, allowing spouses of staff members to apply and compete for positions as well as temporary assignments with the Organization.

The spouse employment policy framework document was submitted to the Human Resources Committee, which endorsed the proposal and transmitted its recommendation to the Director-General for his approval. The HRC’s recommendation was endorsed by the Director-General.
Completed/Staff Rule 302.4.8 was amended to introduce the revised policy on 19 April 2004

With the recent introduction of the policy permitting the spouses of staff members to compete for positions and assignments with the Organization, FAO has enacted a measure to conform more closely to the CEB’s recommendation and on-going practice within the UN common system. The impact of this policy can only be assessed properly once an appropriate period of time has elapsed.

 


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