PM Roles and Responsibilities

Heads of Departments/Offices/Missions play a crucial role in supporting staff and managers in the performance management process by providing guidance, communicating standards and ensuring timely departmental compliance for all stages of ePerformance.

The main PM roles and responsibilities for Heads of Departments/Offices/Missions (HOD) are below:


Lead PM communications
  • Heads of Department (HOD) have the primary responsibility for timely, consistent and fair implementation of the performance management process. As such, they need to oversee departmental communications about, inter alia, best practices in PM for their contexts, the PM policy and system and ePerformance deadlines.

    Strong communications about performance management - for example through town hall meetings or email broadcasts – can increase overall productivity along with staff awareness of and compliance with PM requirements.

Ensure compliance
  • Heads of Department are responsible for ensuring that all staff in their entities comply with ePerformance deadlines at the work plan, mid-point review and end-of-cycle stages. They do this in part through their senior management team who must ensure divisional-level compliance. Final accountability on implementation, however, rests with Heads of Departments.

    These leaders must also ensure that SROs and FROs comply with guidelines on addressing underperformance. They do this through communicating with their direct reports about performance issues, including cases that warrant special attention or escalation and staying aware of the status of cases that have advanced to the internal justice system.

Work plan alignment
  • A Head of Department must develop an annual work plan for his/her entity and oversee its distribution to all staff. He/she should ensure that the senior management team aligns the work plan with divisional, sectional and unit work plans. If this alignment is in place, then every staff member can reflect team goals in their individual work-plans.

    This technique ensures maximum productivity toward delivering on UN mandates. It can also help to motivate staff because they can see in their work plans how their projects or tasks affect larger-level goals.

Ratings alignment
  • Per the performance management policy (ST/AI/2010/5), a Head of Department may
    “establish performance standards for the department of office as the basis for individual success criteria.”

    In practice, this can take the form of a series of meetings between a HOD and a senior management
    team in which the ratings guidelines are discussed and decisions are made about how ratings will be applied in their entity.

    When such a standard is set, and all managers know what kind of performance constitutes, for example, the
    “exceeds expectations” or “meets expectations” ratings, then the application of ratings department-wide is more likely to be consistent and fair.

Fulfill FRO and SRO roles
  • Heads of Departments also serve as First Reporting Officers (FROs) and Second Reporting Officers (SROs). Be aware of the main PM roles and responsibilities associated with these roles on the FRO and the SRO pages.



Guidance and Tips

Check out the Manager’s Toolkit for resources on the following topics and more:

Understanding management in the UN context
Programme Management
Managing Your Resources
Managing Your Team



Learning Options

 Mandatory Training for Staff Members at ASG and USG levels

Course Name Direct Link /Contact Modality/ Mandate

Induction Programme for Senior Leaders (IPSL)

Contact Ms. Katja Hemmerich at hemmerich@un.org for information 1-day instructor-led programme


 Mandatory Training for newly appointed Senior Leaders in Peacekeeping Operations at D2, ASG & USG levels

Course Name Direct Link /Contact Modality/ Mandate
Senior leadership Programme (SLP)7 Contact Mr. Ettore di Benedetto at dibenedetto@un.org for information 5-day residential programme.
Refer to note of 4 February 2005 from DSG to ASG DPKO

7 To be taken within the first 6 months of employment

See other mandatory programme information here.



Key pages: 
Important documents: