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UNO-Flüchtlingshilfe e.V.

From Administrator to Strategic Partner

Industry: Nonprofit

About the company: UNO-Flüchtlingshilfe e.V. is the national partner of the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). Since 1980, the Nonprofit organization, headquartered in Bonn, has been promoting projects for refugees in Germany. It contributes to raising awareness in society by informing people about refugees and mobilizes people in Germany to financially support the worldwide, life-saving work of the UNHCR. Currently, the team comprises 60 employees.

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Julia Pohl
Julia Pohl

HR Manager

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The Challenge

The HR department of UNO-Flüchtlingshilfe has traditionally been dealing with a classic mix of HR tasks and has high expectations of its own work. When it comes to administrative tasks, they view themselves as a “reliable service partner who aims to exceed the usual standard”, but above all, they are also a “sparring partner and advisor for team leaders and the organization’s management for strategic questions.” With these words, Julia Pohl, HR Manager at UNO-Flüchtlingshilfe, gives an insight into their daily work.

When Julia started working at UNO-Flüchtlingshilfe in February 2021, there was one colleague in HR, and a digital tool to capture basic personnel data, time tracking, and absence management. “The employees were using this tool, yes, but everything that went beyond that was happening through a multitude of individual mini-processes that frequently had to be tidied manually. Maintaining the birthday calendar by hand – that alone took up a significant amount of time,” Julia recalls. “We barely had any time, but really wanted to work more strategically.”

There was a multitude of small manual processes that took up a significant amount of time.

The final trigger to look for a new and stronger HR software was the old tool which couldn’t handle the heterogeneous worktime models. “This is exactly what a new tool must be able to do. Thereby, all data should be captured in a uniform manner as well,” says Julia.

  • No holistic HR system

  • Employee documents not digitalized

  • Multiple manual mini-processes




hours saved per month


HR managers

I can finally turn my attention to strategic questions around the future of our work.

The Decision

Working together with their internal IT department and test users from the agency’s workforce, HR tested several tools – from isolated solutions to holistic software applications. This all had to happen under immense time pressure, as important aspects of the old tool were no longer available. The team then decided on Personio, because the software was highly customizable and able to be adapted to meet the specific requirements of UNO-Flüchtlingshilfe. “There were three key points that the tool definitely had to be able to do – intuitive time tracking, easy handling of our individual part-time models and, last but not least, superior data protection features,” Julia explains.

Once the decision had been made, things moved quickly. “The Personio team was very accommodating. From offering Nonprofit pricing which perfectly suits our donation-based organization, to a high level of understanding of our company’s needs. All our dealings were characterized by a lot of trust, also because our main contact person immediately understood what I as an HR manager, needed,” says Julia.

A Successful Implementation

There were just four weeks left to implement the new tool. “We had to switch from the old tool to Personio very quickly. We didn’t want to go through a transition phase.” For this reason, many personnel files were still being digitalized during and after the implementation. “All in all, everything went smoothly – also thanks to our own dedicated implementation manager. We were able to clarify any open points directly in calls and also made use of the Personio Community. When we created the roles and worked on settings in the software, the support was great,” Julia remembers.

UNO Team

The Result

“Since the software has been in use, our processes are a lot more structured. Personio has taken over the to-do list from my head. Doing things manually is prone to errors, and that is now history,” Julia sums up, and continues: “Since we have implemented Personio, we have this wonderful mix of automated administrative processes in a single system, which we can optimize through our strategic work and make the whole thing even better.”

Thanks to Personio, we were able to automate several small processes. I can finally turn my attention to strategic questions around the future of our work.

Finally, the team is able to focus on recruiting, which wasn’t going optimally before Personio, due to manual processes and filing systems. “We’ve grown a lot – so we are looking to standardize the recruiting process more to strengthen both user experience and our employer branding.” It’s also easy to include the work council in the process, so that nothing is overlooked or forgotten, and you always know at which step of the process you are, at any given time.”

Furthermore, Julia now takes care of highly strategic tasks such as organizational development. Developing a hybrid working environment is thereby at the top of the agenda. In the next step, the HR team wants to use Personio to take the topics of performance management and feedback processes to a new level. The respective modules will be implemented soon. Integration with DATEV is also being discussed. 

  • Better communication

  • More time for organizational development

  • Holistic HR work possible

What do you appreciate most about Personio?

What is Personio’s greatest strength for the organization’s HR work? “It’s this exciting combination of the holistic nature of the system on the one hand and its modularity on the other. Many of the details are customizable, so that I can exactly reach my goals. You can tell that a lot of love has gone into this system. We have had the biggest feedback from our employees: No more complaints.”

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