Background

At its 76th session, the ICSC secretariat presented its plans (ICSC/76/R.3) to review the current compensation package for the UN Common System.

With full awareness of the potential impact of this Review on the management of UN System organizations, HLCM had included this subject, with top priority, in its Strategic Plan.

The HLCM Vice-Chair stressed that it was critical for HLCM to engage directly and actively in this Review, to contribute to the formulation of its objectives, approach, format and timelines, and to its implementation.

Discussion

The Committee unanimously supported a human resources management agenda that had, as its overarching goal, the continued development of the international civil service as an independent, neutral, highly skilled and engaged resource to meet the ever-changing requirements of the international community.

A key expected outcome of this endeavour was a strengthened leadership and managerial culture and organizational environment that recognize good performance, strengthen linkage to career development, and appropriately address poor performance.

The fundamental challenge of an HR management reform agenda was to determine how best to attract, retain, and deploy the talent necessary to deliver the broad spectrum of programmatic activity in the multitude of geographic locations where the UN system operates. The most immediate means to pursue this goal was by engaging in a constructive dialogue with the ICSC in the context of its review of the Conditions of Service for UN system staff, and aim to develop a proposal for a competitive and simplified compensation package that enables organizations to attract and retain staff of the highest calibre and reduce transaction costs, taking into account evidence from systematic data gathering and monitoring on relevant trends.

The Co-Chair of the HR Network presented a note (CEB/2013/HLCM/3) on how the Network was planning to engage in the ICSC review and on the principles that would inform its action. She also updated the Committee on the discussions that had taken place at the ICSC’s 76th session, which was taking place concurrently with the HLCM meeting. The representatives of CCISUA and FICSA highlighted the need to work in consultation on the basis of factual information. They also stressed the extreme importance of being guided by the principles set forth in the UN Charter, safeguarding  the equity and fairness of the compensation package.

Action

Considered that the review of the compensation package of the staff of the UN common system presented a strategic opportunity to support organizations to attract, retain and deploy staff to fulfil mandates most effectively in the changing international context

Endorsed the principles set by the HR Network to inform the review, as follows:

a.    Fit for purpose, thus enabling a staffing model that is high performing and mobile;
b.    Holistic and forward-looking, catering to different skills and needs;
c.    Long-term perspective that results in a sustainable package that is adaptable and flexible and not driven by the current immediate financial situation;
d.    Simplification, ease of administration and understanding, for example streamlining and lump-sum options;
e.    Reduction of transactional costs;
f.    Consideration of the expatriate nature of internationally-recruited staff;
g.    Incentives for service in hardship and high-security risk duty stations;
h.    Desirable gender balance in staff population.

In addition, HLCM stressed the following principles:

i.    Competitiveness;
j.    Equity and fairness;
k.    Diversity;
l.    Encouragement of performance, results-focus and mobility;

Emphasized the need for close collaboration with the Staff Federations throughout this exercise and for clear communication with staff at large, including the development of a common communication message.

Given the long term, high potential impact of this review and the need to develop rapidly a common system-wide proposal based on evidence and data, requested its secretariat to put together a small group of HLCM members to provide strategic guidance and support to this work, and to engage some external expertise to carry out research and contribute to the development of proposals to ICSC. HLCM members further agreed to dedicate internal expertise and financial contributions to this project, as required.

Decided to keep this issue on the agenda as a standing item throughout the review.

By the end of March 2013, the HR Network would inform the Committee on the planned next steps, based on the outcome of the ICSC’s 76th session and the subsequent discussions within the Network.