Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)

Field HR Officer (Logistics, Operations, Advocacy & Communications)

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)

Job Description

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international humanitarian organization that delivers impartial medical care to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters, or exclusion from health care in over 70 countries.

We welcome candidates who bring a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences to join us in working toward MSF’s common mission.


The Field Human Resources Department (Field HR) is responsible for recruitment, selection, placement, and retainment of qualified and well-suited field staff to meet the growing needs of MSF Field Operations.


The Field Human Resources Officer (HRO) manages all aspects of placement of all US field staff within the Logistics, Operations, Advocacy and Communications pools. They oversee the preparation and departure of field staff including briefing and debriefing on general HR and specific project or security topics and analyze the effectiveness of placements. They manage disciplinary and management issues pertaining to US field staff according to MSF-USA’s and the relevant OC’s handling procedures. They plan for ongoing needs, identifying, proposing and supporting the development of field staff whom MSF feels are appropriate for future organizational roles in the field or HQ and participates in the annual planning process with their assigned partner(s).

The HRO also assists with recruitment, including making public presentations and facilitating and observing modules for the Info Days; they participate in the final review, evaluation and selection of candidates after the 3-day program. They also facilitate modules at internal MSF trainings, where appropriate, and may manage special projects, designed to improve the quality of activities and services within the FHR Department, or to implement international FHR directives.


Essential Functions and Responsibilities:

Placement and Management of Field Workers (70%)

Manages the Coordination of placement activities for logistics (logistics, supply, water & sanitation), operations (project coordinators, heads of mission), advocacy (advocacy managers, humanitarian affairs advisors) and communications profiles of MSF USA field staff, recommending candidates to fill identified field needs.

After placement to a specific field assignment, ensures that work permits, travel, lodging, vaccinations, and US and OC briefings are arranged. Conducts FHR briefing for departing field workers.

Confers with fellow Placement Officers and Recruitment Officers to review field openings and available pool of aid workers for most effective matching of US resources to field needs.

Works closely with field management teams and Cells to resolve difficult employee issues as they arise during an assignment. Develops action plan in consultation with operational and pool managers. Provides advice regarding legal issues and ensures appropriate documentation and follow-up and communicates decisions to field workers.

As a member of the Field HR Department, this position has obligations as a Mandatory Reporter under the MSF USA Mandatory Reporting Policy (MSF USA International Employee Handbook & MSF USA Employee Handbook). Works with FHR Director and OC partners to ensure all appropriate reporting is completed. This includes ensuring that all steps taken are documented thoroughly, and that field worker(s) are aware of steps taken.

Maintains contact with aid workers in the field to offer support and encouragement. During crises in the field, may be called upon to stay in close contact with the families of aid workers.

Reviews assignment evaluations and conducts a general HR debriefing for returning aid workers.

Provides career advice, feedback and coaching to active field workers based on performance evaluations.

Monitors the schedule of training opportunities in OCs and facilitates access to both internal and external training opportunities for field workers.

Maintains regular contact with field staff between field assignments to promote retention and determine availability.

OC Liaison (10%)

Meets with the HR Department staff and/or Cell Officers, as necessary to facilitate partnership. This may include travel to Europe.

Maintains contact with colleagues in OCs to keep abreast of current and updated HR policies and procedures.

Monitors and reports on the quantity and quality of field placements and the effectiveness and nature of the placement relationship partnership in meeting field needs and makes recommendations to Director to further develop the relationship.

May contribute to developing HR initiatives.

Recruitment (10%)

Makes public presentations regarding the organization and opportunities to work in the field during information sessions and at outreach events.

Confers with assigned partners and US Recruitment Officers to determine relevant profiles to recruit within the US market.

Facilitates and observes modules for the Info Days to aid in the selection process, and to increase knowledge of future active pool members.

Meets with full team post-Info Days to finalize selection of recruits.

Department and MSF USA Planning & Coordination (10%)

Contributes to creation of departmental Annual Plan, adding own specialized knowledge based on management of specific partnerships.

Manages special projects, as assigned, designed to improve the quality of activities and services within the Field HR Department, or to implement international Field HR directives.

Attends weekly team meetings to coordinate activities, and systems, to review results and to strategize, and collaborate on decisions to maximize departmental efficiency and effectiveness.

Attends regularly scheduled staff meetings and several annual office-wide debates to participate in information sharing across all departments and stay informed on important MSF topics so as to be able to contribute to the organization’s ongoing development. Recommends BBL presentations to full staff when appropriate.

Shares Emergency contact duties with all FHR HRO colleagues.

May be called on for ad hoc replacement for other HROs (placement and recruitment).

In collaboration with the Director/Deputy Director of Field HR, support’s the Field HR Department’s shared preparedness for critical incident management as a Partner Section Crisis Team (PSCT). Perform the function of PSCT HR as required.

Field Assignments

May take on occasional field assignments (up to 12 weeks per year) to respond to urgent field needs as well as to support recruitment and/or training related activities in the field.

Supervisory Responsibilities:

Does not directly supervise any staff but does give assignments to and coordinates work with an Associate, an Assistant and several office volunteers.

Hires field personnel for inclusion in an active field worker pool in collaboration with US team, and makes recommendations for placement in specific field positions and for ongoing Career Development. Provides feedback and coaching to active field workers based on performance evaluations.

Is required to address complaints and assist in resolving field management problems, ensuring appropriate steps are taken when investigations are required. Is also responsible for following up on disciplinary measures communicating decisions to employee such as suspension, exclusion from the pool.

Fiscal Responsibility

Selects field employees into active pool with Field HR colleagues. Makes specific placement, hiring and employment decisions on own and within complex matrixed decision-making structures. Directs Field HR administrative staff to make all departure arrangements and expenditures for own field placements. Calculates field salaries and confirms automatic salary increases.

Extent of Public Contact

Regularly represents the MSF movement and the experience of working in the field to aid worker candidates, via presentations, training seminars and job interviews.

Physical Demands

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is required to sit for long periods and to concentrate on work, including typing, and turn out heavy volumes of work accurately, within the context of a moderately noisy office with many interruptions. Must be able to proofread own work accurately so that only minor corrections are needed on an infrequent basis.

To travel to the field (usually in the developing world), the employee must attest to physical fitness to endure physically difficult, high stress situations which may include the necessity to walk long distances, carry a backpack or other equipment of up to 50 pounds, to ride long distances over very poor road conditions, to eat a limited diet and/or to reside in potentially uncomfortable housing or tents.

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

Working Conditions, Travel and Environment

The duties of the job require regular attendance 5 days/week for a minimum of 35 hours. Must be available to work before 9:00 am, after 5:00 pm (American Eastern Standard Time) or on weekends, as required.

Must be able to travel as required for standard domestic and international travel as well as to MSF field projects. While performing the duties of this job in the field, the employee may be exposed to precarious settings under high security and/or very basic living conditions and outside weather conditions.



  • Demonstrated experience with and commitment to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Minimum 2 years of MSF field experience; MSF Coordination experience
  • Good command of English
  • Demonstrated understanding of or prior experience with HR policies and strategy
  • Demonstrated experience and ability managing staff and coaching employees
  • Good knowledge and understanding of MSF, including knowledge of structure and functioning of OCs and placement process
  • Ability to effectively present information to small and large groups of potential field workers and trainees
  • Excellent written and oral communications skills in English
  • Superior interpersonal skills
  • Excellent judgment and diplomacy
  • Strong general computer literacy, including word processing and reporting capabilities using database software and Excel, and the ability to search the internet for research purposes and to learn new Windows-based programs
  • Ability to handle a large volume of work and to work under a great deal of pressure
  • Genuine interest in and commitment to the humanitarian principles of MSF

  • Operations experience with MSF
  • Good knowledge of US context, including legal issues pertaining to HR, an advantage
  • Professional qualifications in Human Resource Management
  • Good command of French
Remote work from outside of the US (hosted by an international MSF office) may be possible for a limited duration and considered on a case by case basis. Note that the successful candidate will be required to maintain 09:00 – 17:00 (working hours in the EST/NYC time zone in such cases).

Submissions without cover letter will not be reviewed. No phone calls or emails please.

Please note that relocation assistance or visa sponsorship will be offered for this position.

Application Deadline: February 17, 2021 at 11:59pm EST MSF-USA/Doctors Without Borders is an Equal Opportunity Employer. No employee, or applicant for employment, shall be discriminated against in any term or condition of employment because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, or sexual orientation or any other characteristic protected by law. We are constantly striving to make our organization anti-racist. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are core values. As an employee, you become part of that mission. We expect this same commitment from our staff.

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