Fuelling the Future of Work: Lessons on Onboarding from an Executive Hybrid Virtual Development Assignment Programme

August 14, 2023

UNDP Namibia Staff

The future of work is rapidly evolving, shaped by technological development, climate change, demographic shifts, and globalization. To stay ahead of the curve, organizations must embrace innovation and technology to improve their processes and retain talent.

The UNDP Namibia Accelerator Lab's recent project, which tested a hybrid onboarding and introduction of the incoming Deputy Resident Representative (DRR) using the Fuel50 platform, provides valuable takeaways for other Country Offices and organizations to consider. In my previous blog on the digitalisation of the Pocket Guide for the Public Service of Namibia, I explained how the Fuel50 platform provided a useful solution to source internal UNDP talent and expertise to add value and provide technical assistance using a Hybrid approach. In this blog, we will explore the key lessons from another Accelerator Lab project, and introduce a different learning and development approach for executives. 

Recently, the Operations Manager together with the UNDP Accelerator Lab, as part of its work to support and promote the internal UNDP People for 2030 and Digital Strategy (2022-2025), experimented with a new working modality to launch an Executive Hybrid - Virtual Development Assignment Programme (VDAP) hosted by the Talent Development Unit. The Executive Hybrid - VDAP seeks to reach and provide aspiring Deputy Resident Representatives or Resident Representatives in UNDP’s Talent Pools with an immersive experience which would promote practical experiences, use of virtual platforms and applied in-person learning on UNDP’s Six Signature Solutions

While this experiment did not necessarily focus explicitly on the six signature solutions, it had an element which resonated strongly with the Governance dimension on strengthened capabilities from an internal UNDP perspective. More of a use case, the experiment involved using the Fuel 50 Platform as a hybrid onboarding and introduction of the incoming DRR prior to his joining the Country Office. 

The key lessons and takeaways from our Executive Hybrid - VDAP include:

  • Continue to Experiment with Hybrid onboarding and existing platforms available to UNDP: The hybrid onboarding and introduction approach allowed for a smooth transition for the incoming DRR, who was able to learn about the country office and its culture, as well as meet colleagues, both in-person and virtually. Key documents such as the United Nations Programme Assistance Framework (UNPAF 2019-2023), the current UNDP Country Programme Document (CDP), the programmes and portfolios as well as the organisational structure were shared electronically as part of introducing the Country office to the DRR. 

  • Never underestimate how existing solutions can help solve pain points: The Country Office wanted to help the DRR with a smooth transition to the Office but could not wait for another month.  The Fuel50 platform provided a centralized location for the incoming DRR to access information about the Country Office, the new colleagues as well as an introduction to the country’s priorities. The platform also allowed for the open sourcing of candidates through the talent pool, which can be used for future projects and initiatives across UNDP.

  • Find and test new ways of working while using available technology across projects: The project demonstrated the potential for innovation and technology to improve the future of work, particularly in terms of onboarding and talent development. Through a consultative process with the incoming DRR, key introductory on-line meetings with various teams were set up.  The meetings between the Senior Management Team (SMT), Programme Heads, Communications with the Mentoring and Evaluation, the Operations Team and the Accelerator Lab were brief but also informative for both the DRR as well as the teams.  By using a hybrid approach using an already available online talent marketplace, the project was able to create a more engaged, efficient, effective, and streamlined process. 

  • Advancing the Future of Work: The project also highlighted the benefits of a hybrid work modality, which combines in-person and virtual work. This approach allows for greater flexibility and can improve work-life balance, while also maintaining the benefits of in-person collaboration and communication.

Overall, the Hybrid VDAP led by the UNDP Accelerator Lab demonstrated the potential for innovation and use of technology to experiment with the future of work, particularly in terms of onboarding and talent development. The use of a hybrid approach and the Fuel 50, online talent marketplace can create a more efficient and effective process, while a hybrid work modality can provide greater flexibility, better engagement and smoother transition into a new role. 

Have you considered these approaches to embed innovation and technology in your work to improve your onboarding processes?  Did you know that the Fuel 50 Platform is a wonderful resource for you to consider enhancing your skills but also your employee experience?   Do reach out to us if you plan to soundboard and launch an Executive Hybrid VDAP Programme!