UN Competencies


Core Values and Core and Managerial Competencies

In the context of the Secretary-General’s overall human resource management reform efforts, a participatory process was undertaken to define organizational core values and core and managerial competencies. Organizational core values are the shared principles and beliefs that underpin the work of an organization and guide the actions and behaviour of its staff. Core competencies refer to the combination of skills, attributes and behaviour required of all staff, regardless of their level or function. Managerial competencies are the additional skills, attributes and behaviours required of those who manage other staff.

The UN competencies were defined using a participatory process involving interviews and focus groups with a cross-section of staff at all levels throughout the Secretariat, including the Deputy Secretary-General, all heads of Departments and Offices, and several hundred staff in Offices away from Headquarters. Information drawn from the process resulted in the following competency model, which contains three core values, eight core competencies and six managerial competencies.

The Secretary-General communicated this model to all staff in ST/SGB/1999/15 of 13 October 1999. He noted that the value of competencies will come from their application and integration into other aspects of human resources management. Competencies are now fully integrated into all learning and development activities, the performance management and the staff selection system.

Competency Handbook (English)

Competency Handbook (French)

The Competency Connection

Learning and development programmes have been aligned, and new programmes developed to support staff in building and strengthening their competencies.

To assist staff and managers in planning staff development, a box called “The Competency Connection” is included at the beginning of each learning programme section. This is intended to highlight the link between values and competencies and specific learning programmes and indicate the key ones that the programmes within that section can help to build or strengthen.

It is important to note that competencies include skills, attributes and behaviours that need to be developed and strengthened throughout one’s career. Therefore, acquiring or developing a competency is not the result of a one-time event, but of an ongoing process. While participating in training courses is one important way to develop competencies, experience, coaching, feedback, and a blend of individual learning activities are also necessary.