TM at UNICEF
Established in 1946, UNICEF is a UN agency with a broad mandate for children. It advocates for children’s rights—the right to survival, the right to education, the right to gender equality, and the right to protection. It works closely in partnership with governmental and non-governmental organisations, civil society and community-based organisations.
Definition of talent and TM
UNICEF has what they call their New and Emerging Talent Initiative (NETI), instigated in 2008. NETI is an entry point for young professionals looking for a career with UNICEF. Initially, the idea was to encourage young people to join UNICEF at junior and mid-level positions for two years, with individuals showing good performance being offered regular staff positions with a fixed-term contract. Since then, as one of our interviewees said:
The initiative has evolved a lot. today it includes both . national staff who are interested in moving into international career plus external candidates who just want to join the organisation through the programme.
UNICEF’s official website outlines the conditions of eligibility for the NETI programme, listing minimum educational qualifications, desired competencies and preferences regarding the age of the candidates. It does not provide an explicit
Fig. 1 Progression of NETI participants. Source http://www.unicef.org/about/employ/index_ 74417.html
definition of talent. Participants receive a three-week orientation at UNICEF’s headquarters in New York and then start work in a duty station for a year. If they receive a positive evaluation at the end of the year, their contract is extended for a second year. About 18 months from the date of their first appointment, NETIs undergo another review process to decide whether they should be included in the Talent Group and by implication, appointed to a permanent contract. Figure 1 is taken from the UNICEF website.
In UNICEF, TM is part of the organisational unit ‘Staff Mobility and Rotation’ within the human resources division, so that NETI is integrated with the mobility of international professional staff. NETI is one, albeit important, strategy within the overall staff recruitment, mobility and rotation process.
In UNICEF, ‘talent’, according to one of our interviewees, is whoever meets the requirements of the job, survives the first two years, and is assessed as a good performer:
If I look at the way the talent pool itself is built up.. .a talent is whoever fits the requirement of that specific area of work in terms of generic job description. [You] then need to prove it over a period of time.and if you are able to survive the first two years and you can manage in the third one, then you have been good.