People Development

The WCO has developed a Capacity Building strategy based on key principles relating to ownership, accountability and empowerment in order to enable Members effectively to implement reform and modernization and to develop their capacities in a sustainable manner.

Human capital is the most valuable asset to keep pace with an ever-changing environment. The WCO has led innovative initiatives aimed at establishing Customs as a Profession. New platforms have strived to provide a cooperation framework for Customs Education and to build up solutions to increase the professional knowledge and raise the standing of Customs executives and practitioners.

The importance of setting Customs as a recognized Profession and as a career has led the WCO and its partners to contemplate encouraging national adoption of integrated education, training and development schemes by Customs and Education authorities as well as initiating new approaches to Customs whole-of-career development strategies.

People are the key enabler of any organization and the strategy of having the right person at the right place, at the right time is central. Attracting talents, aligning employee performance with the organization’s mission and values, proactively shaping the future workforce and retaining the top performers are some of the strategic issues that Customs administrations are facing.

The WCO Secretariat has developed several tools to support this approach:

The Framework of Principles and Practices on Customs Professionalism consists of:

I. Introduction to Strategic Human Resources Management

This section introduces the evolving role of Human Resources and provides insights on the new responsibilities of HR professionals which have to be embedded when considering Customs Career Development.

II. Customs Strategic Organization Design and Job Profiling

This section presents an updated and expanded version of the related part of the Compendium and elaborates on the development of Job Profiles linked to Organizational Design. It is enriched with result-oriented Job Descriptions practices to ensure a systematic competency-based approach.

III. Recruitment processes

The main steps to conduct a transparent and effective recruitment process are defined and explained by way of general principles along with illustrative examples and practices provided by Members.

IV. Customs National Training Centers Guidelines

The core components of efficient Customs Training strategies, processes, curricula and infrastructure are identified and this section gathers the fundamentals and practices to create or improve National Training Centres and competency-based, career-long Development and Training policies.  Sets of national curricula as well as any other relevant documents to NTCs can be found on the CLiKC! platform.

V. Customs Career Path Development

The driving principles for flexible and fair career paths in Customs are identified.  This will enable solutions to sustain staff motivation and engagement and to efficiently match staff potential with organizational goals.

The full Framework is available on Click!

The People Development Diagnostic Tool (PDDT) provides a consolidated approach and integrated elements to assist in the evaluation of HRM policies, strategies, practical processes and capacities in Customs administrations.  It includes reference documents, resource material and questionnaires, all based on WCO principles relating to professionalism and integrity, good practices and feedback from Members and partners.

The HR diagnostic tool is the new item in the toolkit developed by the WCO for People Development and Customs Professionalism and it should therefore be used in conjunction with the Framework of Principles and Practices on Customs Professionalism, the Capacity Building Development Compendium and the PICARD Professional Standards for Customs Managers.

The approach which governs the structure of the tool also aims to prepare for implementing HR reforms in these administrations.  The components of the diagnostic tool and the sequence of preparing for and rolling out the diagnostic mission help the HR reform project team to appropriate the concepts, methods and techniques which are key to HR transformation.  This also facilitates a dual approach in terms of making recommendations based on a review of the policies and practices of an administration compared with the reference standards and practices: an analysis of existing practices and tools and dynamic analysis of the discrepancy between the current situation and best practice.

The HR diagnostic tool is multi-purpose and can be used in modular form geared to the varying needs of administrations :

  • By the empowered HR modernization team, enabling them to identify needs and priorities and introduce basic WCO concepts and acting as a basis for monitoring the alignment of HR strategy with the principles on Customs Professionalism and/or monitoring the performance of the modernization project.  The tool has a dual purpose as part of an autonomous approach: self-assessment and capability maturity model.
  • By the team of expert HR diagnosticians, recognized by the WCO, to provide technical assistance to applicant administrations in order to give the national team thorough and standardized support.

In its full version, the tool comprises different documents and elements which are used in a well-defined sequence to support the administration benefiting from the HR diagnostic:

  • a form for entering the reference documents for an HR strategy aiming to identify the fundamental components of an HR strategy and, by default, elementary failures;
  • a diagnostic questionnaire focusing on the existence and efficiency of the main HR practices and processes and of the legal and ethical framework of an HR strategy;
  • a value creation matrix setting out the perceptions of key HR players regarding shortcomings in implementing best practices in their experience of HR management in their administration.

The PDDT is available to Members through the WCO Secretariat:

The WCO’s Partnership in Customs Academic Research and Development (PICARD) Programme was officially launched in 2006. The aim of PICARD was to create a co-operation framework for Customs administrations, practitioners and academic partners to work on the two main objectives of the Programme, namely to advance Customs-related academic research and Customs professionalism. These two objectives were found to be fundamental with respect to Customs Reform and Modernization. In 2008, WCO secretariat developed the PICARD Professional Standards: for the main relevant info on PICARD Programme please click here.

Guide to implementing Competency-Based HRM in a Customs Administration Environment

In 2019 the 10th Session of the CBC endorsed the “Guide to implementing Competency-Based HRM in a Customs Administration Environment”. The tool is aimed at Customs Administrations’ Top Management, Modernization Units/Teams and HRM Senior Managers. It is intended to support Members' efforts in the area of HRM modernization with practical guidance. It is divided into three main sections:

Section 1: The critical importance of HRM for an organization, what is a competency-based HRM system and what are the key HRM processes;

Section 2: Roadmap to establishing a competency-based HRM system;

Section 3: Practical guidance on developing competency-based HRM policies, processes and tools.