Key Actions by:

Standard 9: Proactive recruitment and onboarding for timely start-up.

Staff the project in time with the right people using recruitment and orientation best practices.

Ensure that project human resource plans and contract arrangements conform with local labor laws, industry best practices, CRS policies and current market analysis.

  • Why

    CRS is committed to its staff and seeks wherever possible to retain high-performing individuals. However, project positions are time-bound and as such, project human resource planning requires   careful attention to issues such as the period of service for each project position, compensation, and contract arrangements with project-funded staff. The countries in which CRS works have laws and policies regarding hiring, compensating, and terminating employees. CRS also has organizational requirements and guidance for recruitment and compensation, including banding guidance to standardize and rationalize salary levels. Confirming during project start-up that project human resource plans and contracts conform with applicable laws and policies, best practices, and agency guidance:

    • Ensures clear understanding by all parties of when project positions phase in and phase out and how hiring and termination occurs.
    • Promotes equity in compensation.
    • Reduces risk and protects CRS from liability on these issues.
    • Enhances CRS’ ability to retain good staff.
  • Who

    • Primary responsible: Human resources (HR) manager or officer
      • The HR manager or officer analyzes project positions and contracts and takes any action necessary to ensure they align with local labor laws and CRS policies.

    • Others involved: Project manager/chief of party (PM/CoP); headquarters (HQ) human resources (HR) department
      • The PM/CoP (or acting PM/CoP) provides the HR manager or officer with any necessary information, such as position start and end dates, and alerts HQ HR if there are international positions.
      • Talent acquisition staff in HQ HR assist with international staff contracts.

  • When
    • As part of the start-up recruitment processes.
    • For externally funded projects, begin the process (e.g., adapt contract templates) as soon as CRS receives notification of the donor’s intent to fund the project.
  • How

    Follow these steps to ensure that human resource plans and contract arrangements conform with local labor laws, industry best practices, CRS policies, and current market analysis:

    1. The PM/CoP shares the project documents, highlighting sections related to project staffing, with the HR manager or officer and updates the HR staff member on the overall project staffing plan.
    • Highlight for the HR manager or officer when each project position phases in and out of the project.
    1. As applicable, the PM/CoP also contacts HQ HR as soon as possible to share the final staffing plans for any international staff project positions, and to put in motion the process of finalizing contracts for staff recruited during project design or earlier in project start-up.
    2. The HR staff member reviews the final project staffing structure, position descriptions, and profiles; job descriptions; and the budget for project personnel, and ensures these conform to CRS banding guidanceComing soon! .
    • If banding guidance and market analysis suggests that CRS will have to hire a candidate at a higher salary than the amount originally budgeted, HR staff alert the PM/CoP. In consultation with senior management and donor engagement staff (if applicable), the PM/CoP determines if it is necessary to seek donor approval before hiring the candidate.
    1. The HR manager or officer (or HQ talent acquisition staff) prepares a contract/offer for each position, per CRS guidance (e.g., the CRS Country Program National Staff Recruitment Checklist & Guidance or Recruitment Guide for Hiring Managers and in accordance with:
    • The country program’s human resources manual and contract templates (for national staff positions). These should reflect current local labor laws, including specifications regarding ending contracts with staff.
    • CRS policies on Recruitment and Hiring and Resignation and Termination.
    • The start- and end-date for each position, based on the project staffing plans and budget shared by the PM/CoP.

    Note that, if the donor requires a title that is different from CRS’ standardized job title for a position, it is acceptable to post the job under the donor preferred title. However, the position should be mapped to a standard job description, and the job description used internally within CRS should use the internal title.

    Get a head start on contracts for project staff: Finalizing and approving contracts can take considerable time, particularly in projects where CRS must hire many staff. Staffing delays are costly and undercut project quality and timeliness. However, rushing contract preparations can lead to errors and problems later on. Begin contract preparations early enough so that staff are in place, with an appropriate contract, as soon as possible once CRS has funding for their positions. This also applies to international staff, which requires working with HQ HR to prepare a final offer for acceptance.

    1. The HR manager or officer, with assistance from the HoOps or the CR, seeks legal counsel around staff contract issues as necessary.
    • This step is particularly important if there has been a recent change in local labor laws.

    Remember to check donor human resource-related requirements: For donor-funded projects, ensure CRS has secured donor approval before finalizing a contract for any position requiring approval of a proposed candidate. When finalizing contracts, collect personnel documentation per donor compliance/audit requirements. For example, for USAID contracts, each employee working under the contract must provide a biodata form. Other donors may have similar requirements.

  • Partnership
    • Accompany partners to ensure their contracts follow local labor laws and reflect the appropriate timing for phase-in of project positions during start-up, and phase-out of positions as the project draws to a close.
    • Pay close attention to partner HR capacity strengthening needs identified through organizational capacity assessments (for more guidance on partner capacity assessment, see Standard 2, key action 2 and Standard 6, key action 4). For example, some local organizations lack trained HR staff or access to experienced legal counsel who can assist with contracts. Support such partners with more limited HR management capacity, particularly to help partners avoid poorly-worded staff contracts which may create problems for effective HR management during project implementation and close-out. In some cases, this may involve working with partners to help amend contracts already issued, to incorporate clearer wording regarding employment terms and conditions.
    • Contracts are not the only difficult aspect of HR management for partners with more limited HR professional capacity; compliance with some local labor law requirements may also present challenges. Assisting such partners at start-up to establish the appropriate systems to comply with requirements will help avoid problems during project implementation and close-out.
  • When CRS is a sub-recipient
    • Follow the same process, unless otherwise specified.
  • Emergency projects
    • Circumstances may require non-traditional approaches to project staffing, particularly if CRS has not previously worked in the country. Seek legal counsel.