Director, Human Resources

United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) Copenhagen, Denmark


UNOPS is an operational arm of the United Nations, supporting the successful implementation of its partners’ peacebuilding, humanitarian, and development projects around the world.  Our mission   is   to   help   people   build   better   lives   and   countries   achieve   sustainable development. UNOPS areas of expertise cover infrastructure, procurement, project management, financial management and human resources.
Working with UNOPS
UNOPS offers short- and long-term work opportunities in diverse and challenging environments across the globe. We are looking for creative, results-focused professionals with skills in a range of disciplines.
With over 5,000 UNOPS personnel and approximately 7,000 personnel recruited on behalf of UNOPS partners spread across 80 countries, our workforce represents a wide range of nationalities and cultures. We promote a balanced, diverse workforce — a strength that helps us better understand and address our partners’ needs, and continually strive to improve our diversity through initiatives and policies that encourage recruitment of qualified female candidates and strengthen our inclusion.
Work life harmonization
UNOPS values its people and recognizes the importance of balancing professional and personal demands.
You can find further details on their website https://www.unops.org/

Role Purpose

The HR Director reports to the Director of Finance and Administration of UNOPS.
The purpose of the role is to provide organisation-wide leadership to cultivate and champion a diverse, inclusive and high-performing workforce that enables UNOPS to deliver its mission to help people build better lives and countries achieve peace and sustainable development.
The Director will be a thought leader and internal advocate for the ambitious vision for the people and culture agenda at UNOPS. The role is responsible for leading a Human Resources strategy that positions the organisation to proactively anticipate, plan, and meet workforce needs, in response to the vision and goals of the organisation and the United Nations.
The incumbent will work closely with leaders from across the organisation, to build a meaningful, and sustainable approach to workplace culture that is aligned with UNOPS vision and goals and the values of the United Nations. This includes acting as a strategic partner to senior leadership to ensure the organisation is balancing the drive for results with people centricity.
The role provides leadership to the strategic HR function, positioning it as a key business partner for strategic impact and driving the HR transformation journey including digital transformation.
The role requires credibility and professional gravitas to partner with leadership and drive the people's agenda across a dynamic international organisation undergoing significant change.

Duties and Responsibilities

1. Strategic advisory
  • Contribute to the formulation of UNOPS overall strategies and policies, by providing advice and insights to executive and senior leadership on strategic people and culture matters, so that the organisation can proactively anticipate, plan, and meet workforce needs in a complex operating environment.
  • Set an ambitious and innovative vision for people within the organisation, directly linked to UNOPS strategic priorities.
  • Advocate the importance of strategic human resource management in the organisation, leading an inspiring narrative about the contribution and impact of people to UNOPS goals.
  • Ensure the leadership and senior management is kept informed of risks, issues, trends, and changes which are relevant to people in UNOPS.
  • Foster and integrate UNOPS’s values in all aspects of strategy and organisational culture, working with senior leaders across the organisation to continuously nurture and evolve the
  • UNOPS culture.
  • Ensure management action in response to observations and recommendations by independent oversight and other stakeholder bodies
2. HR strategy and program delivery
  • Lead the development of the HR vision and strategy for UNOPS.
  • Oversee an effective implementation of the HR strategy across the entire organisation by leading the formulation, integration and implementation of relevant HR policies, and practices, ensuring they are fit for purpose and drive the desired outcomes and behaviours.
  • Lead technological and digital innovation of HR systems, processes and tools with emphasis on digital transformation and simplification and improvement in client experience.
  • As the custodian of HR data in UNOPS, lead a data-driven, analytics-based model of HR to drive strategic decision-making.
  • Lead strategic HR initiatives that build an engaged workforce, with the right skills, in the right roles through key initiatives that leverage talent and technology to make impactful changes to the organisation.
  • Promote a culture of collaboration and innovation, and implement practices that provide a healthy, safe and respectful working environment while promoting greater accountability, efficiency and performance.
  • Lead the UNOPS Diversity & Inclusion strategy to position UNOPS as a progressive and inclusive organisation in the UN system, that champions gender parity, geographical diversity, inclusion of the differently abled and zero tolerance to all forms of discrimination.
  • Shape the effort to continually develop HR capability across UNOPS through close interaction and consultation with the different regions in which UNOPS operates.

3. PPG leadership and operational management
  • Provide effective leadership to the PPG team, to ensure the continued development of a cohesive and high performing team.
  • Lead PPG in the delivery against its plans and objectives. Ensure services and priorities are aligned, integrated, high quality and responsive.
  • Monitor implementation, oversee progress toward annual objectives and take decisions to ensure the delivery of results as planned.
  • Operate within the defined limits of authority on matters of Finance, Procurement and Human Resources and subject to any limits or conditions that may be imposed as per delegated authority.
  • Plan, recruit, manage and develop a flexible workforce with the skills and competencies needed to ensure optimum performance, and ensure gender and geographical diversity.
  • Foster a positive work environment, respectful of all, and ensure appropriate focus on team wellbeing, diversity, inclusion, and that the highest standards of conduct are observed.
4. Representation and partnership
  • Represent UNOPS in senior inter-agency and external meetings/bodies dealing with human resource management policy setting and decision-making, to contribute to the development of creative HR initiatives, influence policy discussion, formulation and design and/or to collaborate and harmonise approaches with UN common system policies, practices and approaches.
  • Collaborate with internal and external partners, colleagues and stakeholders to keep abreast of evolving trends, share ideas for improvements and build partnerships/alliances on common interests and initiative and create opportunities for knowledge exchanges.
5. Knowledge management and innovation
  • Establish and maintain open dialogue with UNOPS colleagues, personnel/management associations and other related bodies to share ideas and encourage cooperation in enhancing HR management and services and/or resolve HR issues/problems.
  • Ensure appropriate tools and evaluation mechanisms are in place to provide regular feedback on the existing HR practices.
  • Drive development and implementation of best practice and innovative HR management approaches to ensure their continual relevance to day-to-day operations, also in the light of external benchmarking and recent thought leadership in the subject.
Impact of Results
The effective and successful achievement of results by the incumbent directly affects the visibility and image of the UNOPS brand, as an effective service provider in project services and management and consequently strengthens its competitive position as a partner of choice in sustainable development and project services.
  • Strategic perspective: Develops and implements sustainable business strategies, thinks long term and externally to positively shape the organization. Anticipates and perceives the impact and implications of future decisions and activities on other parts of the organization.
  • Integrity and inclusion: Treat all individuals with respect; responds sensitively to differences and encourages others to do the same.  Upholds organizational and ethical norms.   Maintains high standards of trustworthiness.   Role model for diversity and inclusion.
  • Leading self and others: Act as a positive role model contributing to the team spirit. Collaborates and supports the development of others.
  • Partnering: Demonstrates understanding of the impact of own role on all partners and always puts the end beneficiary first. Builds and maintains strong external relationships and is a competent partner for others (if relevant to the role).
  • Results orientation: Efficiently establishes an appropriate course of action for self and/or others to accomplish a goal. Actions lead to total task accomplishment through concern for quality in all areas. Sees opportunities and takes the initiative to act on them.  Understands that responsible use of resources maximizes our impact on our beneficiaries.
  • Agility: Open to change and flexible in a fast-paced environment. Effectively adapts own approach to suit changing circumstances or requirements. Reflects on experiences and modifies own behaviour. Performance is consistent, even under pressure. Always pursues continuous improvements.
  • Solution focused: Evaluates data and courses of action to reach logical, pragmatic decisions. Takes an unbiased, rational approach with calculated risks.  Applies innovation and creativity to problem-solving.
  • Effective communication: Expresses ideas or facts in a clear, concise, and open manner. Communication indicates a consideration for the feelings and needs of others. Actively listens and proactively shares knowledge. Handles conflict effectively, by overcoming differences of opinion and finding common ground.

Education, Qualifications & Experience

  • Advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) preferably in Human Resources Management, Business Administration, Public Psychology, or other relevant social sciences related fields is required.
  • A Bachelor degree (or equivalent) combined with two additional years of relevant work experience can be accepted in lieu of the Master’s degree (total of 17 years of experience).
  • A minimum of 15 years of professional managerial experience, of which at least five in a large international and/or multicultural organisation is required
  • Within these 15 years, at least six years of senior leadership experience in leading and successfully maturing/evolving an organisation’s HR practices is required.
  • Proven track record of influencing at the highest levels within and beyond the organisation is required.
  • Demonstrated experience in effectively translating organisational goals and strategy into an actionable HR vision, strategy and objectives is required.
  • Solid knowledge of best practices and recent trends in the functional HR disciplines (e.g. Talent Acquisition, Talent Management, Policy Development, Learning and Development, Talent Management, Contracts/Entitlements, Workforce and Succession Planning, Performance Management, Personnel Relations, etc.) is required.
  • Experience working with or in the UN system is highly desirable.
  • Experience leading HR and digital transformation is highly desirable.
  • Experience working in a developing country, conflict and/or post-conflict project management environment is highly desirable.
Language requirements:
  • Full working knowledge of English.
  • Fluency in French or Spanish is desirable. Knowledge of another official UN language is an asset.

Terms of Appointment

This is a fixed term appointment for two years initially, with annual renewal after the first two years.

Role Location: Copenhagen, Denmark


How to Apply

If you wish to be considered for this position, please send the most recent English version of your CV to [email protected] on or before 2nd August 2022. All information will be treated in the strictest confidence as we pride ourselves on our professional service.

SRI Executive is exclusively retained by UNOPS to undertake this assignment.