Office of the Ombudsperson

The Office of the Ombudsperson is an informal resource providing impartial and confidential consultation, facilitation, and conflict management and prevention services to all members of the ADB community.

2022 Annual Report

ADB's progressive shift from remote working to hybrid work arrangements, as well as its New Operating Model, are highlighted in this report as two workplace initiatives that have a major influence on staff well-being. In 2022, its Office of the Ombudsperson (OOMP) handled 536 cases, with group climate (i.e., concerns related to team dynamics and workload) being the most prominent area of concern. The Odibles, which are case studies presented in audio format, illustrate how work-related stress and challenges with work-life balance have become systemic issues. The report also highlights the unique challenges of working in the bank’s field offices and provides recommendations for addressing them.

ADB Office of the Ombudsperson Annual Report 2022
Previous Reports:
Office of the Ombudsperson Annual Report 2021
Office of the Ombudsperson Annual Report 2020
Office of the Ombudsperson Annual Report 2019
 

Nature and Scope

ADB established its OOMP in 2011 to provide members of the ADB community with a confidential and informal resource to help prevent and manage workplace conflicts. OOMP adheres to the professional Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics of the International Ombuds Association.

  • We provide a safe space where members of the ADB community can discuss sensitive and complex concerns under the strictest confidentiality.
  • We encourage individual empowerment, self-determination, and foster collaborative problem-solving.
  • Our professional practice upholds a principles-based approach within a rules-based organization. Serving as the informal resource, we bridge the gap between the ADB community and management, safeguarding the interests of all stakeholders.

We are committed to helping members of the ADB community in finding creative and agreeable solutions to complex situations. Our team supports colleagues by offering a unique combination of conflict resolution services including coaching, facilitation of difficult conversations, conflict assessment, listening without judgment, and timely and pertinent dispute-resolution advice, to name a few.

We facilitate effective communication and constructive dialogue between parties involved in workplace conflict, with the aim of finding mutually beneficial resolutions. Through tailored presentations, facilitated group discussions, and non-traditional approaches, we educate the ADB community on effective conflict management techniques. Our goal is to enhance the experience of working at ADB for each member of the community by offering thorough issue analyses, upward feedback, and recommendations that promote a systemic approach to organizational culture changes. We provide these services to the President and Management team, as well as members of the Board and other decision-makers, when necessary.

Moreover, by collecting and analyzing our data, monitoring trends, and providing valuable insights, our Office contributes to the development of people-centered policies that align with the organization’s mission and values.

As an off-the-record, impartial, and independent resource, we can supplement the insider’s view with a broader outsider’s perspective. We analyze concerns and formulate recommendations for institutional changes, when appropriate.

We arrange confidential meetings at a convenient time and secure location, either in person or through a virtual platform, for members of the ADB community seeking assistance. Appointments can be scheduled via phone, or other virtual platforms. However, sharing confidential or sensitive information through any electronic mediums is greatly discouraged as OOMP cannot guarantee the confidentiality of anything electronically relayed.

The Ombuds Office values every concern, regardless of its magnitude. However, it is essential to acknowledge that our jurisdiction does not extend to all members of the ADB community in certain cases—such as ADB affiliates or the employer of contractors, among others. Nevertheless, we appreciate every conversation and view each consultation as a valuable learning opportunity for both ourselves and the organization.

  • Turn no one away
    Some members of the ADB community have expressed their willingness and confidence to approach us with complex and sensitive matters. They expect empathy, honest discussions, advice, and strategic solutions. They feel assured they will not be turned away.
  • Promote dignity, diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging
    We are firmly committed to treating everyone with the same level of dignity and respect.
  • Give honest feedback
    We believe that honesty and candid feedback inculcate trust and make our office a more approachable, and respected informal resource.
  • Empower the ADB community
    We aim to empower colleagues by helping them reframe issues and find creative ways out of their problems. We give voice to those ADB community members who may feel they have none.

Can Do

  • Practice active listening without judgement.
  • Conduct conflict analysis and conflict mapping.
  • Provide guidance on problem-solving and assist in strategizing the next steps.
  • Conduct informal information gathering or fact-finding.
  • Conduct informal mediation.
  • Facilitate difficult conversations.
  • Shuttle diplomacy.
  • Move information between parties who may not know who the other is.
  • Offer executive, negotiation, team, and conflict management coaching.
  • Provide training on conflict management when requested.
  • Help build a risk-aware culture and recommend changes to address systemic organizational issues.

Cannot Do

  • Create policies.
  • Conduct formal investigations.
  • Offer legal advice.
  • Provide psychological counselling.
  • Participate in formal processes.
  • Overrule decisions of those that have the authority to make them.
  • Serve as an advocate.
 

Data

OOMP compiles data and other findings to identify and analyze trends and problem areas that may require attention. Without disclosing its sources, OOMP shares this information with ADB Management and key decision-makers to resolve systemic issues and recommend institutional changes.

 

Odibles: Stories of ADB Personnel

A collection of case studies about workplace problems faced by members of the ADB community, developed from collated data and other findings to identify emerging trends and patterns of concern. They are meant for illustrative purposes and do not represent any actual person or a specific department.

Because She’s a Woman

Morel, who had been with ADB for a long time, struggles to accept that a female colleague was promoted over him. He makes disparaging comments and tells everyone she only got the promotion because she’s a woman.

Accent Bias

Jan has been dealing with repeated criticism from her colleague, Robert. She thinks it's not about the quality of her work but because of her accent. Jan feels offended and humiliated.

A Pregnant Pause

Hayda has been stressed and anxious lately, fearing that her pregnancy won’t be welcomed by her supervisor and team.

Are Contractors Third-Class Citizens in ADB?

Many of the contractors’ issues and concerns center around interpersonal conflict and disputes with staff and peers. In addition, contractors lack clarity on whether they have access to ADB’s formal grievance or dispute resolution systems.

Declining Productivity

Link is in a supervisory position at ADB and is struggling with the prospect of having a difficult conversation with a well-liked and long-tenured colleague about her persistently declining productivity.

In Safe Hands

Essy is a staff member at ADB. On the surface, her life seems perfect: a great family life, a happy career, and enjoyable workplace relationships. Beneath the surface, though, she is deeply unhappy. Essy feels trapped in a relentless nightmare, an abusive relationship, and there is no one she can tell.

 

Talk to Us

Our communication channels are open to all members of the ADB community.

Office of the Ombudsperson

Asian Development Bank
6 ADB Avenue, Mandaluyong City 1550, Metro Manila, Philippines