Why Mobility

One sentence to……

  • Organizational agility/ Proactively preparing for the future of work

The new approach to mobility is fully aligned with the People Strategy 2021-2025. This is evident from the human resources strategic framework, both in the part of long-term outcomes, where mobility features under the Agility outcome, as well as the intermediate results to be achieved by 2025 where mobility has a dedicated result under results area Proactively Preparing for the Future of Work.

Mobility is an important talent management instrument, particularly so in the role that it plays in the development of high-potential talent. Diverse experience and new knowledge and skills acquired and enhanced through learning on the job are of paramount importance in building capacities to make informed, and hence better, decisions to deliver results and make an impact. The Secretariat’s new Values and Behaviours Framework  stresses the importance of making a positive difference to the people and causes that the United Nations serves and thus galvanizes the link of mobility with the entire talent management system, including the new performance management framework.

Further, the mobility approach closely aligns with the Learning strategy 2021-2025. Skill acquisition and development through service in entities with diverse mandates and in different duty stations is at the heart of the new approach to mobility, whereas the learning strategy underscores the centrality of acquiring skills in the flow of work.

Finally, the Secretariat continues to examine and align the various components of ongoing and planned human resources management initiatives, both internal and within the auspices of the work of the United Nations Central Board for Coordination and, as has been customary, will be providing periodic updates as significant developments arise.

  • Improve equitable geographical representation and gender balance at entity level

At the global level, the new approach to Secretariat staff mobility will have no net impact on geographical diversity or gender parity, given that it applies to encumbered posts.

However, at the entity level, the new approach to staff mobility may have a favourable impact on achieving both geographical diversity and gender parity at the entity level depending on their performance against KPIs in the Senior Managers’ Compact, given that mobility decisions will be made by heads of entities. Entities must remain vigilant in addressing equitable geographical representation and gender parity, monitor the impact of mobility on their diversity targets and take prompt action to plan accordingly.


Benefits for the Staff Members

  • Linkages with learning and career satisfaction

The new Career Satisfaction: A Support Framework for Staff of the United Nations Secretariat elaborates amply on the linkages between mobility, learning and career satisfaction. It emphasizes on the paramount role of breadth of experience, that is the skills and capability staff members accrue while taking on roles laterally in a variety of functional and organizational contexts and duty stations, as a key driver of achieving career satisfaction. The new approach to staff mobility promotes and builds on this holistic way of helping staff achieve career satisfaction that enables them to develop essential competencies for a well-rounded talent, provides for opportunities to build multidirectional and multipurpose careers in line with the Future of Work, and sustains a long-term culture of skill growth through mobility.

  • Possible incentives for staff members

The main incentive for current staff to opt into the new mobility would be its strong linkages to career satisfaction, learning and development and skill acquisition, given that currently serving staff who opt-in will be able to broaden their experiences, acquire new knowledge and skills and learn through service in different geographical and organizational contexts.

As part of efforts to further develop incentives for currently serving staff, requiring a prior geographical move to apply for P-5 and higher-level posts may be considered.

As a significant additional incentive and as stipulated in A/RES/65/247, conversion from fixed-term to continuing appointments of internationally recruited staff in the Professional and Higher Categories, as well as staff in the Field Service Category who satisfy the eligibility requirements, is based on a system of points allocation, where a number of criteria are derived from geographical mobility.

Linking mobility with the new performance management framework may allow staff who make geographical moves and have excellent performance ratings (“exceeds performance expectations”) to qualify for roster inclusion at a higher level. Staff members may also be considered for automatic rostering in the job family they are selected for through mobility.

The new approach to staff mobility will be an incentive for staff currently serving in hardship duty stations, as it will ensure that staff would have opportunities to gain experience through service across Headquarters and non-Headquarters locations. While the new approach to staff mobility will be mandatory for new staff, staff who currently serve in hardship duty stations can opt-in and have more opportunities to move to non-hardship duty stations. Previous service and staff’s preferences in hardship duty stations will be given due consideration in matching staff to mobility assignments. Staff members who have had geographical mobility will be flagged in Inspira for possible consideration for promotion for all positions for which they meet education, experience, mobility and other criteria, as a further incentive.

Staff who move from Headquarter locations to Hardship duty stations will be provided with the mobility incentive in accordance with the administrative instruction on Mobility and Hardship Scheme (ST/AI/2016/6) based on resolution 70/244.

Staff mobility would also present opportunities to build talent pipeline in the system. Current initiatives such as the Senior Female Pipeline could be leveraged to include female staff members who have completed mobility exercise.

Use of flexible working arrangement, that is allowing part of the service to be performed outside the duty station, while requiring a minimum period of service physically at the duty station that would satisfy the definition of a geographical move, will also be deployed, if and when feasible and within the overall organizational approach to this modality in the context of its forthcoming review, based on lessons learned from the large-scale telecommuting implemented as a result of COVID-19.

Other incentives, including reward and recognition measures may be considered to further encourage mobility participation, as the system matures and depending on mobility scale and momentum.

The effectiveness of the incentives and rewards will be monitored and evaluated through the two-tiered mobility key performance indicators system.

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