Improving human resource management in development agencies

Research reports and studies
February 2017
Barbara Nunberg

In an increasingly uncertain aid environment, many development agencies will need to adjust their internal management practices to improve the quality and impact of their programmes and policies. This report focuses on human resource management (HRM) – the management of people working in these agencies. It argues for the modernisation of a range of HRM policies to ensure the organisational resiliency needed to cope with emergent challenges.

A number of measures are recommended as development agencies seek to improve their internal operational environments, including:

  • Establishing flexible staffing models to ensure the right staff are in place.
  • Developing robust collaboration mechanisms that make it easier for staff from different sectors and different organisational cultures to work together.
  • Creating incentives that work to retain targeted skills and to motivate staff in the direction of desired aid practice.
  • Designing performance management frameworks in ways that effectively connect staff output to developmental results.
  • Overcoming the challenge of attracting, retaining and rewarding quality staff while containing administrative costs.