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Human Resources Specialist (Employee Benefits) — Entry-Level, GS-5/7/9


Career Stage
Career Stage Flowchart
Flowchart Description: Employees advance to the GS 7 Level, while Student Career Experience Program members advance to the GS 5 Level, and then to the GS 7 Level. From the GS 7 Level employees may advance to the GS 9 Level and then the Full Performance Level. From the GS 9 Level employees may advance to the Full Performance Supervisory Level, but this is not as common as advancing to the Full Performance Level. Employees may be hired into any of the levels from outside the Federal Government and may change to different technical area throughout the advancement procedure.
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General Competencies
General Competencies
Understanding the Competency Information

General Competencies Proficiency Level
GS-5 GS-7 GS-9
Attention to Detail: Is thorough when performing work and conscientious about attending to detail. 2 3 3
Client Engagement/Change Management: Knowledge of the impact of change on people, processes, procedures, leadership, and organizational culture; knowledge of change management principles, strategies, and techniques required for effectively planning, implementing, and evaluating change in the organization. 1 2 2
Creative Thinking: Uses imagination to develop new insights into situations and applies innovative solutions to problems; designs new methods where established methods and procedures are inapplicable or are unavailable. 2 2 2
Customer Service: Works with clients and customers (that is, any individuals who use or receive the services or products that your work unit produces, including the general public, individuals who work in the agency, other agencies, or organizations outside the Government) to assess their needs, provide information or assistance, resolve their problems, or satisfy their expectations; knows about available products and services; is committed to providing quality products and services. 3 3 3
Decision Making: Makes sound, well-informed, and objective decisions; perceives the impact and implications of decisions; commits to action, even in uncertain situations, to accomplish organizational goals; causes change. 2 2 3
Flexibility: Is open to change and new information; adapts behavior or work methods in response to new information, changing conditions, or unexpected obstacles; effectively deals with ambiguity. 2 2 3
Influencing/Negotiating: Persuades others to accept recommendations, cooperate, or change their behavior; works with others towards an agreement; negotiates to find mutually acceptable solutions. 2 2 2
Information Management: Identifies a need for and knows where or how to gather information; organizes and maintains information or information management systems. 2 2 3
Integrity/Honesty: Contributes to maintaining the integrity of the organization; displays high standards of ethical conduct and understands the impact of violating these standards on an organization, self, and others; is trustworthy. 3 4 4
Interpersonal Skills: Shows understanding, friendliness, courtesy, tact, empathy, concern, and politeness to others; develops and maintains effective relationships with others; may include effectively dealing with individuals who are difficult, hostile, or distressed; relates well to people from varied backgrounds and different situations; is sensitive to cultural diversity, race, gender, disabilities, and other individual differences. 3 3 3
Legal, Government, and Jurisprudence: Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, legal practices and documents, Government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, Government organization and functions, and the democratic political process. 1 2 2
Oral Communication: Expresses information (for example, ideas or facts) to individuals or groups effectively, taking into account the audience and nature of the information (for example, technical, sensitive, controversial); makes clear and convincing oral presentations; listens to others, attends to nonverbal cues, and responds appropriately. 2 2 3
Organizational Awareness: Knows the organization's mission and functions, and how its social, political, and technological systems work and operates effectively within them; this includes the programs, policies, procedures, rules, and regulations of the organization. 1 2 2
Planning and Evaluating: Organizes work, sets priorities, and determines resource requirements; determines short- or long-term goals and strategies to achieve them; coordinates with other organizations or parts of the organization to accomplish goals; monitors progress and evaluates outcomes. 2 2 2
Problem Solving: Identifies problems; determines accuracy and relevance of information; uses sound judgment to generate and evaluate alternatives, and to make recommendations. 2 2 2
Project Management: Knowledge of the principles, methods, or tools for developing, scheduling, coordinating, and managing projects and resources, including monitoring and inspecting costs, work, and contractor performance. 1 2 2
Reading: Understands and interprets written material, including technical material, rules, regulations, instructions, reports, charts, graphs, or tables; applies what is learned from written material to specific situations. 2 3 3
Reasoning: Identifies rules, principles, or relationships that explain facts, data, or other information; analyzes information and makes correct inferences or draws accurate conclusions. 2 2 3
Self-Management: Sets well-defined and realistic personal goals; displays a high level of initiative, effort, and commitment towards completing assignments in a timely manner; works with minimal supervision; is motivated to achieve; demonstrates responsible behavior. 2 2 3
Stress Tolerance: Deals calmly and effectively with high stress situations (for example, tight deadlines, hostile individuals, emergency situations, dangerous situations). 2 2 3
Teamwork: Encourages and facilitates cooperation, pride, trust, and group identity; fosters commitment and team spirit; works with others to achieve goals. 2 2 3
Technical Competence: Uses knowledge that is acquired through formal training or extensive on-the-job experience to perform one's job; works with, understands, and evaluates technical information related to the job; advises others on technical issues. 2 2 3
Workforce Planning: Knowledge of HR concepts, principles, and practices related to determining workload projections and current and future competency gaps to align human capital with organizational goals. 2 2 2
Writing: Recognizes or uses correct English grammar, punctuation, and spelling; communicates information (for example, facts, ideas, or messages) in a succinct and organized manner; produces written information, which may include technical material that is appropriate for the intended audience. 2 2 3
Technical Competencies
Technical Competencies
Understanding the Competency Information

Technical Competencies Proficiency Level
GS-5 GS-7 GS-9
Employee Benefits: Knowledge of HR concepts, principles, and practices related to retirement, insurance, injury compensation, and other employee benefits programs. 1 1 2
Critical Developmental Activities
Critical Developmental Activities
Understanding the Critical Developmental Activities

To Strengthen General Competencies
  • Actively participate on a team.
  • Volunteer to participate in a high-visibility project.
  • Learn about the agency where you work.
  • Learn new technologies (e.g., through self-study, seminars).
  • Study technical writing as it applies to your work role.
  • Attend technical conferences, meetings, or seminars.
  • Read technical publications to keep up-to-date on new development in your field (e.g., books, professional newsletters, trade journals).
  • Conduct briefings and seminars.
  • Build a network of peers through which you can exchange ideas and discuss issues relevant to technical advances in your field.
  • Learn from others on the job (e.g., obtain on-the-job training, ask others for guidance).
  • Find a mentor for technical and/or career guidance.
  • Study lessons learned from reviews of failed and successful projects.
  • Gain an understanding of basic position management and classification.
  • Gain an understanding of job analysis.
  • Gain a basic understanding of the agency budgeting process.
To Strengthen Technical Competencies
  • Learn about federal benefits (e.g., health, life, and retirement) and the eligibility requirements for each.
  • Contribute to the process of contracting work-life balance programs.
  • Familiarize yourself with the resources for answering employee benefits questions (e.g., FEHB and FEGLI handbooks, Benefits Administration Letters, CSRS and FERS Handbook, FSAFEDS and FLTCIP websites).
  • Counsel employees who have basic insurance and retirement questions.
  • Assist other specialists in planning and conducting the Open Season.
  • Assist employees with benefits enrollment and applications.
  • Assist other specialists with reviewing and submitting retirement applications.
Job Tasks
Job Tasks
Works with Senior Human Resources Specialists to: GS-5 GS-7 GS-9
Direct employees to appropriate sources of information about benefits and/or work-life programs. checkmark checkmark N/A
Resolve simple problems in the administration of a benefits program. checkmark checkmark N/A
Assist new employees with completing various benefits forms. checkmark checkmark N/A
Review worker’s compensation claims to determine if additional documentation is required. checkmark checkmark N/A
Assist with planning informational events related to work-life balance. checkmark checkmark N/A
Interpret, apply, and explain retirement and insurance regulations to employees (e.g., retirement eligibility and computations, benefit programs and insurance eligibility, and qualifying life event changes). N/A N/A checkmark
Work through Contracting Officer to contract for services related to work-life balance programs (e.g., day care, gym memberships, health and wellness programs, and health screenings). N/A N/A checkmark
Prepare benefits forms and ensures that they are appropriately processed. N/A N/A checkmark
Compute employee annuity and survivor benefit estimates. N/A N/A checkmark
Identify and utilize the appropriate resources (e.g., OPM’s website, specific manuals) to locate policies and procedures for standard benefits. N/A N/A checkmark
Training Areas
Training Areas
Understanding the Training Areas

  • Federal Benefits Programs (i.e., CSRS/FERS retirement, Thrift Savings Plan, health, life, vision, dental, and long-term care insurance, Flexible Spending Account Program)
  • Injury Compensation
  • Federal Work-Life Balance Programs
  • Contracting Officer Technical Representative (COTR)
  • Agency Policies and Procedures
Qualifications
Please note that this information is for development purposes only and does not address position requirements or your eligibility for a particular job. For information about Governmentwide qualifications requirements, please refer to www.opm.gov/qualifications/Standards/IORs/gs0200/0201.htm. Additionally, there may be position-specific requirements, including specialized experience. Your supervisor can provide more information on these additional requirements.


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