HR Officer - Cell 3

For this function, MSF experience is mandatory

HR Officer Cell 3 (m/f/x)

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international humanitarian aid organization that provides assistance in more than 60 countries to populations in distress, to victims of natural or manmade disasters and to victims of armed conflicts, without discrimination and irrespective of origin, religion, creed or political affiliation.


At the heart of the Operations department in the Operational Centre of Brussels (OCB), the cells are comprised of a multidisciplinary team of 7 people (Coordinator, Deputy Coordinator, Medical Officer, HR, Log, Fin, Supply) whose function is to supervise and coordinate MSF activities in several countries. The cells are the direct interface from HQ to field. Each member is in charge of a specific component under the supervision (hierarchical link) of an Operations Coordinator, with a functional link (technical link) with the coordinator of the corresponding department. In the cell, the HR department is represented by the HR Officer function.
The HRO has a role of strategic generalist, is integrated into the operations department in close collaboration with the HR Department and is assisted by the Centre of Expertise in the HR Department.
He/she is a strategic actor of the HR department at the heart of the cell. She/he is familiar with all the projects of the cell and actively participates in the operational decision process in relation to the strategy and the mission and project’s objectives.
She/he is the guarantor of the coherence and quality of the HR response to operational needs whilst respecting the contextual specificities of missions and of the OCB HR vision pertaining to the search for excellence, MSF as a responsible employer and the development of talent. She/he can relay HR needs and operational issues in missions to the HR department.


  1. Person accountable of the coherence and quality of administrative and HR management:
  • She/he guides and provides counsel to HRCo for the elaboration and annual revision of an HR strategy which is adapted to the specific mission needs.
  • She/he monitors the quality of the use of HR for the movement and the adequacy of resources with the project(s)/mission(s). She/he participates to common efforts needed for the institution to create an healthy HR pyramid in terms of field posts.
  • She/he mobilises the field teams to provide an HR demand which is clear, precise, complete, quality-driven and predictable. She/he supervises the quality of set up in the mission (coordination and project).
  • She/he is responsible for the HR budget of the cell and guarantor of the HR commitments taken during the ARO.
  • She/he ensures the promotion and supervision of respect and the contextualised practical application of the MSF HR principles, policies, procedures and tools by the HRCo to ensure optimal efficiency. The HRO is guarantor of their coherence and their longevity.
  • The HRO is responsible for submitting exceptions and deviations to the HRO coordinator or to the exception committee, depending on the case and following the principle « apply or explain ».
  • She/he monitors the HR & administrative quality of the mission. She/he uses control tools (HR Fundamentals, to be developed) at his/her disposal in order to ensure the HR and administrative health of the mission.
  • She/he follows the legal-judicial situation in missions and involves the legal unit as soon as she/he deems it necessary.
  • The HRO steers the HRCo towards an optimal management of HR information tools (Homere, HR.Net, KITSCH, and, in future, Symphony) and their use as a management tool.
  • Briefing/debriefing: The HRO is guarantor of the quality of the induction process of expats before arriving on the mission.
  • Matching: The HRO takes part in the expat selection for the missions according to the defined frame for the matching process.
    • The HRO is guarantor of the quality of open positions.
    • She/he contributes towards national staff detachment initiatives, all the while respecting the procedures.
  • HR Management
    • She/he is guarantor of the taking into consideration of the social context in the HR OPS decision-making process and the subsequent enforcement.
    • She/he is the person in the cell who ensures that decisions applying to employees take into account a respect for legal aspects and good HR management.
    • She/he assists the HRCo in their responsibility as career manager for national staff in their mission, and assures the continuity thereof.
    • She/he supplies the L&D department with information in order to develop competencies for field actors.
    • She/he advises and develops HR management competencies within field teams.
    • She/he is a key factor in the resolution and/or management of conflicts. 

2. Definition of operational HR demand in the HR department.

  • Thanks to their knowledge of the HR issues on the field, he/she is an indispensable relay between operations and the HR department, and takes part in the definition of the operational HR demand in the HR department.
  • She/he ensures support to missions from the Centre of expertise (CoE) during the development, the implementation and the improvement of the HR & administrative management framework, puts into context the recommendations of the CoE and validates. She/he will obtain approval for all deviation or exception by the HRO Coordinator according to the procedure.

3. Formative supervisor of the HRCos
She/he frames, supports, follows and develops HRCo competencies, together with the career manager/pool manager who has identified the areas of development and this in the specific frame of formative supervision.

4. Innovation
She/he contributes to the proposition, to the development and to the setting up of innovations which respond to specific HR & operational needs of missions.
A series of innovations has been identified for each cell. The HRO will develop these files and ensure their completion.
The HRO will initiate/propose changes/improvements to the frame of control of the HR & administrative quality of the mission and will ensure their implementation.

5. Various :

  • Upon request of his CO and/or the HRO coordinator, she/he is involved in vertical files; they can be allocated the development and follow-up of specific HR files.
  • According to their availability, experience, and/or affinity, she/he may play the role of referent or key user in certain fields (Homere, HR.Net, …) for the rest of the team.
  • She/he actively participates in platforms to which he/she has been invited (cell meeting, HRO platform, ARO and CoPros, etc.)
  • She/he is the back up of other HROs upon request and according to availability/workload.
  • She/he can be requested to co-present training sessions.

6. Specific for Cell 3 :

As a principle, this position in OCB is not essentially tied to any specific context and countries, as a re-shuffling of the portfolio within the operations department can occur.
The current operational portfolio of the Cell includes: Kenya, South Sudan, Sudan, Sierra Leone and Haiti, with the perspective of expanding to additional countries in East central Africa / Horn of Africa.
The HR approach and management will need to respond to rather different contextual constraints and regulations and will require a capacity to adapt to different and enriching operational realities


  • Minimum 2 years of MSF experience on the field, at least one year in HR and one year in a coordination position
  • Available for frequent field visits
  • IT competencies: Word and Excel indispensable. HR.Net & Homere.
  •  Languages: bilingual French-English (written and spoken) – and any other language relevant for the Cell 3 portfolio is an asset
  • Proven experience in ethical issues management (guidance, support, prevention; mitigation and case management)
  • Strategic vision
  • Analytical spirit
  • People Management
  • Teamwork
  • Leadership
  • Planning and organisation
  • Stress management


  • Expected starting date: 1/07/2021
  • Contract type: CDI, full time (100%)
  • Location: based in Brussels with regular fields visits
  • Salary according to MSF-OCB HQ grid – Hospital Insurance (DKV) – Pension Plan – 100% reimbursement for public transportation costs
  •  Adhere to the MSF principles and to our managerial values: Respect, Transparency, Integrity, Accountability, Trust and Empowerment
  • Adhere to the MSF Behavioral Commitments

Deadline for applications: 20/05/2021

How to apply?

Please, send your CV and cover letter to before 20th May 2021 and mention “Application to HRO Cell3 post” in the subject of your email.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

MSF values diversity and is committed to create an inclusive working environment. We welcome applications from all qualified candidates regardless of disability, gender identity, marital or civil partnership status, race, color or ethnic and national origins, religion or belief, or sexual orientation.
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