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PM Roles and Responsibilities

Second Reporting Officers are managers who oversee other managers – or First Reporting Officers (FROs). They are usually at the P5 level or above. In their more senior capacity, they must give a clear vision and direction to their teams, ensure alignment of departmental and sectional or team goals and deliver results against targets. They must also set a strong example in implementing the performance management process and hold FROs accountable for doing so.

See the main roles and responsibilities of SROs below.

Communicate Priorities

A cornerstone of performance management involves setting clear priorities and expectations for your team members. SROs should do this by:

  • Developing and distributing team work-plans that are in line with departmental plans.
  • Seeking guidance from more senior managers about changing priorities.
  • Communicating with their FROs about changing priorities.
  • Ensuring that goals are attainable with existing resources.
  • Encouraging FROs to give feedback and updates on workplan progress
  • Emphasizing to their FROs that managing performance is always a priority. 
Hold FROs accountable

SROs need to ensure that FROs are implementing strong performance management. Here are some key ways to do this:

  • Hold periodic meetings with your FROs about performance management. Discussions could center on what strong PM means in your context and common concerns among FROs as well as reminders about the PM policy and ePerformance deadlines.
  • Demand updates on ePerformance requirements and deadlines.
  • Check on sectional ePerformance compliance through your Executive Officer or  HR Insight focal point.
  • Ensure that all FROs have taken the mandatory Performance Management and Development training
  • Be familiar with the Learning and development policy in the Organization, and the 5 days of professional development that all staff are expected to undertake each year. 
  • Encourage FROs to include learning and development activities in their workplans.
Help to resolve disagreements

A key responsibility for SROs is to ensure that the office environment is a harmonious one, free of major conflicts between and among FROs and staff members. When disagreements or other contentious situations do occur, SROs need to be aware of them and address them promptly. Some helpful tips include:

  • Hold individual meetings with FROs on a regular basis and ask how they are monitoring performance.
  • When FROs discuss workplace conflicts, strive to remain objective and neutral; try not to make quick judgments.
  • Offer suggestions for resolving conflicts that involve dialogue among team members.
  • Be sure to monitor conflicts through ongoing communication with your FROs.
Ensure evaluations are fair and consistent

Staff members need to feel that end-of-cycle evaluations, specifically the ratings, are fairly and consistently applied in order for them to trust in the performance management system. SRO actions in this regard can make a strong difference. They have the ability to ensure that evaluation standards are in place with FROs at the beginning of each cycle.

Other ways of ensuring fair and consistent ratings include:

  • Communicating to all staff on your team(s) the evaluation standards that you and your FROs will use.
  • Ensuring that all ePerformance documents have comments that are consistent with the ratings.
  • Instructing FROs to use the ratings guidelines.
  • Instructing FROs to use the Competency Development Guide.
Address underperformance

Unfortunately some staff do not carry out their responsibilities to a satisfactory degree. Underperformance is real and is detrimental to team dynamics and morale. It often goes under-reported in our organization for a variety of reasons. SROs play a key role in addressing underperformance.

They need to be aware of such issues through ongoing contact with FROs and they need to know how to offer helpful suggestions. In some cases SROs may need to facilitate dialogue between an FRO and a staff member.

Fulfill FRO role

SROs also serve as First Reporting Officers (FROs). Be sure you are aware of the main PM roles and responsibilities of FROs as described here.


Guidance and tips

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


The checklists below can help you stay organized and on top of ePerformance deadlines.

Date Start of Cycle Checklist
1 April


Schedule a work planning meeting with your direct reports, & send
 reminder about the work plan deadline of 31 May

30 April


E-mail FROs remind about work plan deadline

15 May


E-mail your Executive or HR Office for your section's compliance report on work plans so far, and plan how to address non-compliant staff about meeting the 31 May deadline.



Date Mid-Point Review To-do List
1 October


Schedule mid-point review meetings with your direct reports, and send
 reminder about mid-point deadline of 30 November.

31 October


E-mail FROs remind about work plan deadline

15 November


E-mail your Executive or HR Office for your section's compliance report,
and plan how to address non-compliant staff about meeting the 30 November deadline.



Date End-of-Cycle Responsibilities
31 March


Schedule end-of-cycle meetings with your direct reports & send email  reminder about end-of-cycle deadline of 30 June

30 April


E-Mail FROs to remind about deadline

15 May


E-mail your Executive or HR Office for your section's compliance report,
and plan how to address non-compliant staff about meeting the 30 November deadline.



Guidance on number of direct reports

There is no definitive answer on how many direct reports an FRO or an SRO should have. It depends on the organization, industry, type and complexity of work done. Best practice, however, suggests that an FRO can function best with 6-8 reports.

A recent study showed a correlation between the amount of time spent with supervisees and employee engagement. Specifically, as people increased from one to six hours a week spent with their direct managers, they became 29% more inspired about their work, 30% more engaged (that is, likely to recommend their company as a great place to work), 16% more innovative, and 15% more intrinsically motivated (finding something interesting in most of their tasks). Although organizational structure and reporting lines are determined primarily through the budget process at the UN, an SRO may have some flexibility in organizing teams under his or her responsibility.

Think about options for organizing smaller teams and work groups which can be led by more junior staff. This not only reduces the number of direct reports on one person, but it also provides useful learning opportunities in management for junior staff.



Key pages: 
Important documents: