Challenges of TM
This joint TM programme, with several stakeholders and reliant on coordination between several different organisations, has many complexities and challenges, of which perhaps the biggest is creating acceptance for non-UN candidates. For them, the IASC HC Pool programme is one of the few entry points to leadership positions in the UN system. However, as ‘unknowns’ they have problems competing with existing UN employees. UN organisations compete to get their candidates selected and actively lobby for their candidates in positions relevant to their mandates, making it more difficult for those without such lobbying behind them. However, the success of the few non-UN candidates who made it to these positions encourages other external candidates to try this career path.
There is also a challenge to justifying to stakeholders why non-UN organisations should benefit from these UN-provided, and paid for, programmes. The increasing presence of new actors in the relief arena and increased acceptance of non-UN candidates is important for the smooth coordination of humanitarian operations, but increases the pressure to justify this expenditure, especially given the ongoing financial constraints on the UN. Non-UN organisations may not have the financial means to cover the additional cost of training, travel, and other related expenditures for their successful candidates. As non-UN candidates need to be sponsored by a UN organisation (e.g., OCHA), in a time of financial constraints (see Chapter “What is Talent Management? The perception from International Human Resources Management Students”), it may be difficult to justify to donors why a UN agency is sponsoring a non-UN candidate who may not stay within the system.
Another challenge is to maintain the neutrality of the system. OCHA is mandated to organise these activities, but the interagency nature of the IASC HC Pool requires a ‘firewall’ to ensure the neutrality of serving on the IASC. This may be problematic as OCHA is also a key decision-making member of both Inter-agency TM processes described.