ADB chief outlines new HR priorities

Asian Development Bank President Takehiko Nakao. In a town hall meeting with staff, Nakao revealed details on upcoming changes to the bank’s human resources policy. Photo by: ADB / CC BY-NC-ND

As staff uncertainty at the World Bank over President Jim Yong Kim’s internal reform process continues to make headlines, the Asian Development Bank appears intent on taking a different path by communicating more directly with employees and opening more opportunities for career advancement.

On Friday, ADB President Takehiko held a “town hall” meeting with staff at the bank’s Manila headquarters and revealed a few details on upcoming changes to the institution’s human resources policy, including more deployment of senior staff to country offices and increased rotation between departments — all part of the bank’s 2020 Strategy internal review initiated by Nakao himself.

“We are one ADB. And one ADB is about all staff working together to help the bank succeed by making use of everyone’s talents and background,” he said at the meeting, adding that he wants to re-emphasize the importance of communication within and across the institution, as well as the “need to share information with all staff, especially younger and newer staff, and fully engage everybody in pursuing our mission and bringing about necessary changes in ADB.”

Here are the five main takeaways for staff from Nakao’s speech:

1. Following the introduction of renewable fixed-term appointments, ADB will publish new criteria for career advancement to senior technical positions after conducting a major internal surveys to assess both staff skills and allocations.

2. As part of Nakao’s recent drive to strengthen resident missions, ADB will promote deployment of staff — even “very senior” employees — to the institution’s country offices, and strengthen staff development programs for resident missions.

3. ADB will increase rotations among departments “to promote a culture of mobility at all levels,” including managers.

4. The bank will strengthen the role of national staff at both headquarters and country offices by enhancing career opportunities for them though delegation of additional responsibilities, reviewing reporting lines and job titles, and sending them to other countries on short-term assignments to broaden their knowledge and expertise.

5. ADB will renew efforts to promote staff inclusion and enhance diversity in nationalities, experiences, cultures and gender among employees to become “more innovative, share knowledge better, and [be] generally more successful.”

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About the author

  • Carlos Santamaria

    Carlos is a former associate editor for breaking news in Devex's Manila-based news team. He joined Devex after a decade working for international wire services Reuters, AP, Xinhua, EFE ,and Philippine social news network Rappler in Madrid, Beijing, Manila, New York, and Bangkok. During that time, he also covered natural disasters on the ground in Myanmar and Japan.