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Human Resources Specialist (Policy) — Full Performance, GS-12


Career Stage
Career Stage Flowchart
Flowchart Description: Employees with any area of expertise relevant to HR Policy at GS 12 or higher may advance to the GS 12 Specialist Level and then to the GS 13 Expert Level. From here employees may advance to the GS 14 Expert Level, then to the GS 15 Expert Level, or to the GS 14 Supervisory Level, and then the GS 15 Supervisory Level. After the GS 15 Level, employees advance to SES. Employees may advance to SES from the GS 14 Supervisory Level, although this is less common.
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General Competencies
General Competencies
Understanding the Competency Information

General Competencies Proficiency Level
GS-12
Attention to Detail: Is thorough when performing work and conscientious about attending to detail. 4
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. 3
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. 3
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. 4
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. 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. 4
Influencing/Negotiating: Persuades others to accept recommendations, cooperate, or change their behavior; works with others towards an agreement; negotiates to find mutually acceptable solutions. 3
Information Management: Identifies a need for and knows where or how to gather information; organizes and maintains information or information management systems. 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. 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. 4
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. 3
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. 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. 3
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. 3
Problem Solving: Identifies problems; determines accuracy and relevance of information; uses sound judgment to generate and evaluate alternatives, and to make recommendations. 3
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. 3
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. 4
Reasoning: Identifies rules, principles, or relationships that explain facts, data, or other information; analyzes information and makes correct inferences or draws accurate conclusions. 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. 3
Stress Tolerance: Deals calmly and effectively with high stress situations (for example, tight deadlines, hostile individuals, emergency situations, dangerous situations). 4
Teamwork: Encourages and facilitates cooperation, pride, trust, and group identity; fosters commitment and team spirit; works with others to achieve goals. 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. 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. 3
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. 3
Technical Competencies
Technical Competencies
Understanding the Competency Information

Technical Competencies Proficiency Level
GS-12
Human Resources Policy: Knowledge of how to develop effective human resource management policies and strategies to ensure the agency is able to recruit, select, develop, train, and manage a high-quality, productive workforce in accordance with merit system principles. 3
Supervisory Competencies
HR Specialists at the Full Performance level may either be specialists or supervisors. Supervisory competencies are determined by the hiring agency. OPM developed guidance for agencies to help them determine requirements for supervisory positions including supervisory competencies. For more information on OPM’s Supervisory Qualification Guide, click on www.opm.gov/qualifications/standards/Specialty-Stds/GS-SUPV.asp.
Critical Developmental Activities
Critical Developmental Activities
Understanding the Critical Developmental Activities

Developmental Activities for Specialist or Supervisory Positions
To Strengthen General Competencies
  • Participate in all stages of, or manage a project.
  • Lead a team effort by acting as a project lead, program lead, or team lead.
  • Participate in projects that are highly visible, sensitive, or political.
  • Act as a subject matter expert (SME) in a panel.
  • Consult with customers to define and/or solve customer problems.
  • Cross-train into another area of expertise (e.g. temporary job rotations, job shadowing, or developmental assignments).
  • Participate in online training, attend briefings, or obtain on-the-job training to understand the policies and politics relevant to your work.
  • Collaborate and coordinate with another group to perform project work (e.g., outside group).
  • Develop a broad professional network through joint projects, participation in workshops, membership in professional and trade associations, and internal and external customer relationships.
  • Demonstrate your work at a technical conference, meeting, or seminar.
  • Provide informal mentoring to others in your technical area.
  • Attend university and industry association educational events.
  • Maintain awareness of trends and state-of-the-art in your field.
  • Discuss ideas to resolve project issues with senior staff members or a mentor.
  • Meet with your manager to present and discuss your analysis of options, tradeoffs, and recommendations for action relating to a problem or issue in a project/program.
  • Participate on a workforce planning team.
To Strengthen Technical Competencies
  • Evaluate policy and draft or develop recommendations.
  • Develop a briefing and/or informational materials on a new HR policy or a change to an existing policy.
  • Prepare recommendations on how to resolve policy-based issues.
  • Stay abreast of any changes in OPM, legislation, or federal regulations so you can apply changes to agency policy.
  • Develop expertise in the operations area in which you will write policy.
  • Analyze, evaluate, and draft policy that is related to your area of technical discipline. Submit your proposal for senior review.

Additional Developmental Activities Supervisory Positions Only
  • Seek periodic feedback from others on your management and leadership skills.
  • Find a mentor or talk with other managers to learn about their leadership styles, challenges, and experiences.
  • Look for ways to praise and highlight others’ achievements.
  • Identify and communicate your priorities to your employees.
  • Offer to serve as a sounding board for others if they run into technical difficulties, and ask them to do the same for you.
  • Develop and execute a budget for a project or assignment.
  • Learn strategies on how to handle conflict in the organization.
  • Contribute to processes that create and support a diverse environment (e.g. hiring and training).
Job Tasks
Job Tasks
Specialist or Supervisory Positions GS-12
Develops moderately complex policies and procedures. checkmark
Develops and implements instructions, and provides consultation and guidance regarding implementation of HR programs. checkmark
Provides policy/technical guidance to HR staff in field and other agency components about how to interpret, use, and implement current policy information and other various sources (e.g., regulations and statutes). checkmark
Gathers and compiles data to prepare reports related to relevant HR program areas and respond to data requests (e.g., from OPM, Congress, OMB). checkmark
Performs accountability reviews and program audits to identify and recommend actions to address any findings. checkmark
Ensures that HR policies and procedures are aligned with agency goals and objectives. checkmark
Reviews and provides comments on legislation. checkmark
Supervisory Positions Only GS-12
Plans and schedules ongoing work on a quarterly or annual basis. checkmark
Recommends adjustments to staffing levels or work procedures to accommodate resource decisions made at higher levels. checkmark
Oversees the development of technical data, estimates, statistics, suggestions, and other information useful to higher-level managers in determining goals and objectives to emphasize. checkmark
Conducts a wide range of activities related to staff work, such as: assigning work, tracking progress, and approving the final work product. checkmark
Evaluates subordinate work performance and counsels subordinates on both work and administrative matters. checkmark
Identifies developmental and training needs of employees. checkmark
Resolves complaints and effects minor disciplinary measures when necessary. checkmark
Prepares reports and communications for senior management/supervisors. checkmark
Training Areas
Training Areas
Understanding the Training Areas

  • HR Policy Fundamentals
  • Federal Regulations and Statutes
  • Program Audits
  • Accountability Reviews
  • Conducting Human Resource Studies
  • Data Analysis and Presentation
  • Strategic Planning
  • Workforce Analysis
  • Mentoring Employees
  • Improving Employee Performance and Productivity
  • Conducting Employee Performance Appraisals in Accordance with Agency Systems
  • Identifying and Assisting Employees with Unacceptable Performance
  • Training Individuals Making Career Transitions (e.g., non-supervisory to manager, or manager to executive)
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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