Senior Organizational Development Specialist, P-4

Organizational context

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency dedicated to eradicating rural poverty and hunger. It does so by investing in rural people. IFAD finances programmes and projects that increase agricultural productivity and raise rural incomes, and advocates at the local, national and international level for policies that contribute to rural transformation.

Post's organizational accountability

At this level, the Senior Organizational Development (OD) Specialist is responsible for the delivery of a full range of OD services to the Fund (at headquarters and in ICOs). The level of senior professionalism allows the incumbent at this level to provide technical leadership the OD specialty and commensurate expert advisory services on policy development, implementation and administration. The accountabilities/key results include:
  • Organizational Development Practice Leader
  • Organizational Development Business Partner
  • Organizational Development Advocate
  • Agent of Change
The Senior OD Specialist works under the general and overall strategic, policy and management guidance of the Director, Office of Budget and Organizational Development (BOD). The Senior OD Specialist exercises a high degree of independence in providing reliable BOD programme delivery. The Senior OD Specialist performs the full complexity range of OD work independently, including the analysis and approval of complex and/or precedent setting cases with the aim to ensure consistency in the interpretation and application of regulations and rules. The Senior OD Specialist plans, organizes and supervises a team of BOD staff that may comprise analysts, associates and assistants.

Key results expected / Major functional activities

  1. ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PRACTICE LEADER: The Senior OD Specialist is accountable for technical leadership in this area with responsibility for reviewing the work of other Professional and General Service staff for compliance with principles and concepts, policies, regulations and rules as well as for soundness of judgement and conclusions. S/he may also directly supervise BOD staff with responsibility for work planning and organization, supervision of the work of the unit/section assigned and establishing and monitoring performance management indicators of success. S/he develops, implements and monitors the interpretation and application of new OD policies, best practices and procedures to meet the evolving needs of the Organization including formulating the position of the Organization on policies and determining the appropriate application of rules and regulations to highly sensitive or contentious individual cases having implications for the Fund as a whole. S/he works with staff at all levels of the agency to identify areas of under and overstaffing, as well as skills-mix issues within the organization and suggests corrective actions. S/he regularly reviews/updates the Fund’s organizational structure to identify aspects requiring change, outlining implications and probable consequences. S/he undertakes the annual Strategic Workforce Planning (SWP) exercise in conjunction with the Budget section to establish a position envelope for each organizational unit needed to carry out IFAD’s programme of work.
  2. ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT BUSINESS PARTNER: The Senior OD Specialist's customer service focus is on OD issues, strategic planning and outreach in the provision of senior technical advice and guidance on a range of oorganizational development and position administration policies, regulations, rules and procedures. S/he provides advice both verbally and in writing to managers, supervisors and staff on organizational development and position administration policies, regulations, rules and procedures, proactively building a mutual understanding of these guidelines and respective roles and accountabilities in the management of IFAD’s organizational structure and workforce. The Senior OD Specialist supports OD best practices in the Fund through outreach to counterparts in other private and public sector organizations to identify potentially innovative solutions to IFAD client concerns as well as maintain open communications with counterparts in other UN and IFI organizations. S/he may represent the organization in inter-agency working groups and committees ensuring IFAD’s perspective and client needs are included in evolving policies.
  3. ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT ADVOCATE: The Senior OD Specialist projects BOD’s reputation as a value-added, technically competent and reliable service provider as part of the Office’s strategy. The focus is on expert knowledge of the Fund’s governing and organizational structure, mandate, long-term business strategy, organizational dynamics and culture and on their senior-level professionalism, the incumbent advocates for new or revised policies, procedures and initiatives. The Senior OD Specialist reaches out to all levels of staff, listening and responding effectively and efficiently to common issues and problems and builds relationships based on respect and trust. From the perspective of a value for diversity and respect for a multi-cultural client base, the Senior OD Specialist demonstrates communications skills that serve to promote the Office’s strategy and the equitable management of IFAD's organizational structure.
  4. AGENT OF CHANGE: The Senior OD Specialist understands and applies the principles of change management and proactively serve as a role model for transformation and capacity for acceptance of change. S/he uses a solid knowledge of information technology to analyze and promote acceptance of new methods of work and effective communication skills to persuade and influence managers, supervisors and staff to adopt change. Going beyond acceptance to change in methods and technology tools, the Senior OD Specialist manages change through consultations with BOD management and colleagues and outreach to client management, supervisors and staff to establish and maintain collaborative, open and regular communications pertaining to current and planned changes in the SWP, OD strategy, policies, regulations and rules. S/he explains the scope and ramifications of proposed OD initiatives, promoting understanding of their purpose and functional advantages.
  5. MANAGERIAL FUNCTIONS: the Senior OD Specialist would typically manage staff with accountability for integrity, transparency, and equity in the management of IFAD resources. This includes:
  6. People Management through recruitment, performance and career management of staff as well as learning management establishing learning plans and ensuring staff supervised meet their development needs while meeting the needs of IFAD.
  7. Resource Management by providing strategic and data inputs into the divisional budget preparation exercises.
  8. Knowledge and Content Management by ensuring (1) knowledge content within functional area is continuously updated and available to colleagues and clients (2) best practices are continuously identified, documented and distributed and (3) appropriate and up-to-date information and learning tools are available to the Fund’s managers, supervisors and staff.
  9. Information Technology Management through leveraging ERP functionality for improved business results, simplification of transaction and reporting processes and improved client services.

Impact of Key results / Key performance indicators

The work requires the development of new and/or modifications of practices and techniques as well as the revision of OD work performed at lower levels and taking corrective and adaptive actions. The Senior OD Specialist is accountable for (a) convincing management of the utility of improved approaches to the delivery of assigned OD services; (b) addressing problems involved in formulating the Fund’s position on the interpretation and application of policies, regulations and rules to highly contentious cases; (c) satisfying the organizational, programmatic and OD needs related to the field of work; and (d) developing expert advice for the Fund that is recognized and accepted as being fully sound. Detailed analysis of the interrelationships of OD issues with those of programme, political and resource considerations is required. The impact of work encompasses BOD as a whole requiring continuous and collaborative exchange of technical expertise with peers and management to ensure BOD is seen as speaking with one voice.
The Senior OD Specialist analyses proposals and requests received from management, directors, managers, supervisors and staff and makes recommendations or takes technically sound actions. Errors in determining the need for positions, or for positions at the incorrect grade within the Organization can have an adverse effect on the morale of staff and the quality of their performance, potentially causing damage to the efficiency of the Organization’s programme delivery.

Representation / Work relationships

Internally the Senior OD Specialist is an authoritative OD technical adviser to the Fund in the development of new or modified policies and practices and in the provision of expert advice within their area of specialization. Recommendations for solutions to OD problems involve discussions with management, staff and other (Senior) specialists. The advice and recommendations provided are normally considered technically accurate and are provided to senior managers inside and outside BOD. External contacts include: counterparts in other United Nations organizations in order to negotiate and reach agreement on the transfer of staff between organizations or to exchange information on approaches to similar OD problems, etc.; and inter-agency groups to provide information on the Fund’s OD practices. The Senior OD Specialist regularly engages with IFAD managers and staff at all levels to cross-fertilize effective practices, determines helpful OD indicators, takes the pulse of employee engagement, among other tasks.


  • Strategic thinking and organizational development: Personal influence (Level 1)
  • Demonstrating Leadership: Leads by example; initiates and supports change (Level 2)
  • Learning, sharing knowledge and innovating: Challenges, innovates and contributes to a learning culture (Level 2)
  • Focusing on clients: Contributes to a client-focused culture (Level 2)
  • Problem solving and decision making: Solves complex problems and makes decisions that have wider corporate impact (Level 2)
  • Managing time, resources and information: Coordinates wider use of time, information and/or resources (Level 2)
  • Team Work: Fosters a cohesive team environment (Level 2)
  • Communicating and negotiating: Acquires and uses a wide range of communication styles and skills (Level 2)
  • Building relationships and partnerships: Builds and maintains strategic partnerships internally and externally (Level 2)
  • Managing performance and developing staff: Manages staff and teams effectively (Level 1)
  • Authoritative technical knowledge of the principles and concepts of organizational development.
  • Ability to provide technical and administrative leadership to staff supervised and to develop clear goals that are consistent with agreed strategies.
  • Capacity to adapt policies, approaches and models to meet emerging needs and to enhance the continuing relevance of the Fund’s organizational development capacity/programme to client divisions/departments/offices.
  • Ability to identify and analyze systemic issues, formulate opinions and make conclusions and recommendations to resolve same.
  • Analytical and organizational skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively in a diverse organization tailoring language, tone, style and format to match audience; ability to present sometimes negative results in a considered and tactful manner to promote acceptance.
  • Takes responsibility for incorporating gender perspectives and ensuring the equitable consideration of women and men in all assigned OD activities.
  • Excellent knowledge of information technology systems and tools.
  • Ability to empathize with client managers, supervisors and staff while advocating for consistent and equitable applications of promulgated OD regulations and rules.
  • In-depth knowledge and experience in processes and approaches for facilitating the improvement or sustaining the effectiveness of organizational units, management teams, and individual performance.
  • Experience in providing guidance to others in organizational effectiveness and performance.
  • Strong engagement and consulting skills – planning staff engagement and also being successful in interfacing with staff to explain OD implications.

Minimum recruitment qualifications

Advanced university degree from an accredited institution in Organization Development, Public Administration, Business Management, Industrial Relations, Human Resources Management, or other job related field. An advanced university degree may be substituted by a first university degree (Bachelor or equivalent) plus at least four additional years of relevant professional experience, over and above the minimum number of years of experience.
At least eight (8) years of progressively responsible professional experience in organizational development of which three (3) years preferably in the United Nations or an international financial institution, or another multi-cultural organization or institution or a national organization providing support on a global scope.
Language requirements:
Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English. Working knowledge of another official language (Arabic, French, or Spanish) is desirable.

Other information

Applicants should note that IFAD staff members are international civil servants subject to the authority of the President of IFAD, and they may be assigned by him/her to any of the activities of IFAD, including field assignments and/or rotation within IFAD.
In the interest of making most cost effective use of funds and resources, we are only able to respond to applicants who are short-listed for interview. Candidates who do not receive any feedback within three months should consider their application unsuccessful
Candidates may be required to take a written test and to deliver a presentation as well as participate in interviews.