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Human Resources Specialist (Labor Relations) — Entry-Level, GS-5/7/9

Career Stage
Career Stage Flowchart
Flowchart Description: HR Assistants 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 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
Performance Management: Knowledge of performance management concepts, principles, and practices related to planning, monitoring, rating, and rewarding employee performance (5 C.F.R. Part 430 and 451). 1 2 2
Employee Relations: Knowledge of laws, rules, regulations, case law, principles, and practices related to employee conduct, performance, and dispute resolution (5 C.F.R. Part 432 and 5 C.F.R. Part 752). 1 1 2
Labor Relations: Knowledge of laws, rules, regulations, case law, principles, and practices related to negotiating and administering labor agreements (5 USC Chapter 71). 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.
  • Join an industry or professional association.
  • Read technical publications to keep up-to-date on new development in your field (e.g., books, professional newsletters, trade journals).
  • Conduct briefings.
  • Build an informal 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
  • Become familiar with all the regulatory requirements for performance management in 5 CFR 430 and 451.
  • Study and develop the ability to identify results-focused standards.
  • Learn about performance metrics and how they link to the organization's mission.
  • Shadow an ER or LR specialist to observe how they provide advice, guide, and counsel supervisors who are dealing with an employee problem.
  • Assist with investigating an employee relations issue.
  • Learn about unions that represent the workforce and all laws that protect union activity.
  • Research relevant case law on Employee Relations and Labor Relations matters.
Job Tasks
Job Tasks
Works with Senior Human Resources Specialists to: GS-5 GS-7 GS-9
Collect award/recognition nomination packages for processing. checkmark N/A N/A
Monitor award amounts to ensure they are in alignment with the recommendations provided by agency policy. checkmark N/A N/A
Review and/or process performance management/appraisal forms (e.g., in an automated system) to ensure completeness. checkmark N/A N/A
Maintain performance management/appraisal records (e.g., performance appraisal, awards). checkmark N/A N/A
Collect information and evidence from identified sources to support assigned employee relations cases. checkmark checkmark N/A
Assist in maintaining ongoing and completed employee relations case files and/or databases. checkmark checkmark N/A
Respond to routine employee relations questions from managers and employees (e.g., leave, discipline, medical). checkmark checkmark N/A
Locate basic facts, laws, and precedents concerning union proposals. checkmark checkmark N/A
Assist in collecting and documenting straightforward complaint and investigation information. checkmark checkmark N/A
Review basic investigation reports for accuracy and currency. checkmark checkmark N/A
Assist with preparing documentation during the grievance process. checkmark checkmark N/A
Maintain detailed records of ongoing negotiations and/or communications. checkmark checkmark N/A
Respond to simple and/or routine inquiries about the performance management/appraisal system or program. N/A checkmark checkmark
Review, track and distribute non-monetary awards to employees. N/A checkmark checkmark
Conduct research into established policy regarding performance management/appraisal practices. N/A checkmark checkmark
Conduct research into established labor provisions regarding performance management/appraisal practices. N/A checkmark checkmark
Resolve problems related to a complex employee leave case, involving a combination of leave without pay, sick leave, and holidays. N/A N/A checkmark
Explain rules and procedures to employees and managers to help them understand grievance and appeals rights and responsibilities. N/A N/A checkmark
Provide managers with standard steps they can take to correct employee conduct or performance issues. N/A N/A checkmark
Researches and retrieves regulations and case law that support management’s decision for a change in working conditions. N/A N/A checkmark
Recommends steps for grievance resolution and provides technical advice on the process. N/A N/A checkmark
Prepares a summary explanation of different human resource issues (e.g., staffing, succession planning, training, etc.) for management. N/A N/A checkmark
Training Areas
Training Areas
Understanding the Training Areas

  • Developing Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-bound (SMART) Goals
  • Individual Development Planning
  • Performance Management Systems
  • Performance Improvement Plans
  • Federal Regulations on Employee Conduct
  • Dispute Resolution
  • Administrative Inquiries
  • Grievance Processes
  • Labor Agreements
  • Legal Research
  • Federal Labor Laws
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 Additionally, there may be position-specific requirements, including specialized experience. Your supervisor can provide more information on these additional requirements.