Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
YOUNDP In Brief > Your Work

Skip Navigation LinksYour Work



     Your Work:  Your Job Description, Competencies, Performance & Alignment

Can you describe what your new responsibilities are in one or two sentences?

This page is designed to help you better understand your work at UNDP.  Let’s break it down:


Your Job Description

When you applied for your post, you responded to a job description or JD (in some cases the job description is called a Terms of Reference or TOR). The purpose of this description is to help you understand what you will be doing every day. It is not designed to tell you how to do it; it simply explains your roles and responsibilities. The description clearly outlines what you need to do in order to succeed. If you do not have a copy, you can ask your supervisor for one. Have it handy when you are going over your goals for the year to make sure you are doing the job you were hired to do.

UNDP has developed 81 generic job descriptions which can be found here:


Your Competencies

One of the reasons you were selected for the job was that you brought a set of knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) that UNDP felt would be most useful to the success of that position. Some of those KSAs are corporate competencies, and some are your functional (also known as technical) competencies. They are found in your job description. Some examples of functional competencies are Advocacy, Building Strategic Partnerships, Innovation, Resource Mobilization, and Promoting Change, to name a few. 

In addition, UNDP promulgates nine (9) core competencies which are inherent in everything we do.  All staff members should strive to demonstrate all core competencies.  These competencies can be developed in a progressive manner as the staff members acquire experience in their area of work within the organization.  UNDP’s core competencies include:

• Ethics and Values

• Organizational Awareness

• Developing and Empowering People / Coaching and Mentoring

• Working in Teams

• Communicating Information and Ideas

• Self-management and Emotional intelligence

• Conflict Management / Negotiating and Resolving Disagreements

• Knowledge Sharing / Continuous Learning

• Appropriate and Transparent Decision Making

UNDP has a competency framework that is currently being updated. Once this is completed, all staff will receive a copy. The existing competency framework can be found here:

Here, at UNDP, we strive to help you add to your competencies to be as well-rounded an employee as possible. We do this in several ways: through training, both on the job and through coursework; through your manager whose job it is to help you understand what is needed in order to succeed in your current position; and through your own personal and professional development.



Your Performance

Your performance ties everything together. First, you should know what is expected of you so you can ask for and receive continuous feedback. In particular, when you are starting out, it is good to ask for feedback. A simple, “May I get some feedback about how you think I did on that project?” should be enough for a manager to let you know how you are doing. Don’t wait for the one time annual review; your manager should be giving you feedback throughout the year and you should be asking for it as well.

UNDP has an annual performance review process that is currently being updated. Once this is completed, all staff will receive a copy. Information on the existing performance review system, called the RCA (Results and Competency Assessment), can be found here:



Your Alignment
When everyone in an organization – from senior leaders to individual contributors – shares a clear vision of the future, has clarity around strategic direction, knows how their work is aligned to overall strategy, and personally owns execution of the vision through delivery of individual results, the organization flourishes.  As you perform your work, it is therefore imperative for you to have a system-wide view of UNDP, its strategy, its priorities, and your role in the system.  The UNDP Corporate Strategic Planning System gives you this view (see simplified graphic and key links below).    


UNDP Corporate Strategic Planning System

What’s important to know?  UNDP began rolling out this upgraded corporate strategic planning system in Fall 2011 as a core part of achieving our Agenda for Organizational Change results.  Development and roll out is occurring progressively during 2011-2013 and will evolve further to support our next Strategic Plan (2014-2018).
                    Change Agenda Documents
                    Corporate Planning Documents
The purpose of the corporate strategic planning system is straightforward and ambitious: aligning actions and resources so that we can deliver better results more efficiently to promote sustainable human development.  This system has 7 components (see details under Corporate Planning Documents above). At a high level, here is what you need to know about these components as relates to your work: 
1.            One of the 7 components is the UNDP Strategic Plan (4-year horizon) and another is the UNDP Annual Business Plan (12-month horizon). 
2.            The Strategic Plan identifies where we are headed, and the Annual Business Plan identifies year-on-year what it will take to get there. 
3.            Your work rolls up to UNDP’s Annual Business Plan through the Integrated Work Plan (IWP) of your unit (see graphic above). 
Of note, your unit’s results are reported annually in the Results Oriented Annual Report (ROAR), an oversight tool that is meant to provide a coherent, comprehensive, accurate and integrated view of performance.  Your individual results are reported annually in your Results & Competency Assessment (RCA).  Your RCA sets out how your work contributes to the unit’s IWP and ultimately how your performance relates to the direction of the whole organization.
                    Results Oriented Annual Report
You might be asking yourself how you can ensure alignment of your actions and resources as you start working at UNDP.  Great question!  First, we recommend reading UNDP’s Strategic Plan.  Second, get familiar with UNDP’s 4 overarching priorities through 2016.  Third, take a look at UNDP’s 12 priorities for 2012.  A handy cheat sheet of these overarching and annual priorities follows (see details under Corporate Planning Documents above).  Once comfortable with this information, read your unit’s IWP to see how your team is advancing these priorities and – ultimately – the organization!    
                    Strategic Plan 2008-2013
Medium-Term Priorities for a Stronger UNDP (2011-2016)
A.   Inclusive, resilient and sustainable development at country level
B.   Improved governance and strengthened crisis prevention response and recovery
C.   Reinforced leadership in shaping development agendas
D.   Major changes secured to forge a UNDP and UN fit for the 21st Century
Annual Priorities (2012)
A.   Inclusive, resilient and sustainable development at country level
Priority 1 - MDG Action Plans
Priority 2 - Accelerated Recovery
Priority 3 - Institutional frameworks or arrangements to tackle disaster risk reduction
Priority 4 - Rio+20 and new environmental finance mechanisms
Priority 5 - Green, low-emission and climate resilient development priorities and policies
B.   Improved governance and strengthened crisis prevention response and recovery
Priority 6 – 12-month national recovery and transition benchmarks and strategies
Priority 7 – Transitions in the Arab States region
Priority 8 – Next generation risks
Priority 9 – Credible, inclusive and peaceful elections
C.   Reinforced leadership in shaping development agendas
Priority 10 – Post-2015 development agenda
D.   Major changes secured to forge a UNDP and UN fit for the 21st Century
Priority 11 – Critical management efficiency and effectiveness targets
Priority 12 – External relations and advocacy