TEAM BASED RETREAT FOR HRMS/UNOG
A “Team-based retreat” for the entire Human
Resources Management Service, Operation
Section, United Nations Office of Geneva, took
place on 25 and 26 January 2007 at
Château de Bossey, Céligny.
NIGHAT SYED, HRMS / UNOG
The purpose of this retreat was to engage in
discussions related to our workflow, key interactions
with clients and colleagues, which
require carrying out our work successfully.
The retreat was conducted in a casual environment with plenty of time for group discussions, exchanging ideas. Each Unit presented a work process map based upon our generic job profiles showing critical steps in doing our work. In addition, we reviewed our core values, strategic vision, recognizing workload and the deadline pressures linked with clearly defined roles and responsibilities of each unit who is responsible for the respective offices/services in United Nations Secretariat.
The programme provided a very valuable demonstration in work coordination, alternative ideas, methods and approaches in solving problems. For example to examine the main issues and come up with solutions we used the GROW model, (i.e Goal – what would one like to see, Reality – what is, or how things are, Options – what can I do, Will – what will we do), focusing more on achievement and solutions rather than on problems and obstacles. We identified internal and external disconnects that occur within our own Team/Units or elsewhere but that affect on how we are able to do our work. “Disconnects” include within Team/Units by information gaps, communication breakdowns, measuring “how” things are done as well as “what” is done, like duplication of tasks, recurring errors, issues that hold up work etc. Emphasis was also given to staying open to new ideas, examining opportunities that exist for individual and team learning, training, development and improvement, personal effectiveness, attending mini workshops on stress, career development and on how to maintain a positive attitude.
The programme achieved its aim of generating group discussions and understanding of different analytical approaches. Methodologies and conceptual issues of common problems were identified; meeting with clients, sharing information and knowledge as well as encouraging informal interaction within the units, and giving guidance to the clients/- services in the UN Secretariat regarding the HR staff rules and policies. Participants recognized the value and importance of empowering HR Assistants for certain actions, by looking at ways of ensuring and making full and better use of staffing resources given to HRMS. Another key issue was the concern for the uniform application of the rules, regulations and practices. We agreed on immediate specific steps to implement the conclusions we reached.
All in all, we did valuable work on team building and accountability and explored possible options on how to simplify current practices in coordination with the services, in order to work on the future of where we would like to see the system go, revising the issues that were started previously and looking towards moving the team forward. Some issues that were identified will be followed up on, including the need to meet with clients/services in a similar environment.