The UN Department of Field Support (UNDFS) manages personnel, finance, logistics, information, and communication technology for the United Nation’s field-based peace operations around the world. There are currently 464 DFS staffers at UN Headquarters in support of 33 field operations involving over 100,000 military, police, and civilian personnel. Among other things, the UNDFS is charged with providing training and certification for 600 HR personnel, particularly in developing and strengthening core capabilities so that performance is consistent with UN objectives.
GLOBAL HR TRAINING CHALLENGE
“Because our units are spread across the globe, providing training that is consistent with UN organizational policies was challenging—not to mention expensive,” explains Eran Schweiger, Chief of DFS’s Quality Assurance Unit. “We never want our field managers operating without proper HR training. It can open up a whole world of liabilities and legal setbacks and have adverse managerial and financial implications.” There was urgency at the UNDFS to find a timely, cost-effective solution for global HR training. In late 2010, they turned to eCornell.
BRIDGING HR SKILLS GAPS
eCornell’s online delivery platform met the UN’s requirements by providing: >> A problem-based, collaborative learning environment; >> Access for UNDFS staffers in the field using a standalone computer, with around-the-clock access to courses and support; >> Strict confidentiality of all participant information; >> Qualified, world-class personnel for facilitation. eCornell created a custom certificate program to address skill-gaps among HR practitioners. Participants complete seven online courses from Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations in topics like staffing protocols, consulting skills, communication and coaching, employee engagement, and performance management. “I’ve heard first hand from participants that the credential from Cornell University gives them extra motivation to compete the certificate program,” notes Schweiger. “The Ivy League name adds value to the certificate gained, and ensures a high standard of quality.” For the DFS’s supervisory and managerial audiences, eCornell expanded on the curriculum by adding courses in change, HR strategy, diversity and talent management. Both curricula are closely aligned to ensure continuity in processes and policies.
Since the program’s launch in December 2010, over 400 UNDFS staff members have completed over 1,700 courses through eCornell. “The UN’s principal expense and greatest asset is human resources,” says Schweiger. “By providing high quality HR training to our field support staff and delivering it globally through eCornell, we’ve definitely seen a compounding effect on the competence and quality of the mission personnel. People are more motivated than ever before, which has unquestionably led to improved delivery of the missions’ mandate.”
—For more information about eCornell’s partnership with the U.N., contact Will Hipwell, eCornell’s Vice President of Marketing, at firstname.lastname@example.org.