HR University Logo, Teaching the Business of HR; and CHCO Council seal

Employee Benefits Specialist Critical Developmental Activities -
Expert / Managerial, GS 13/14/15 (Supervisory or Specialist)

Developmental Activities for Expert or Supervisory Positions
To Strengthen General Competencies
  • Lead a team working on multiple projects.
  • Act as a subject matter expert (SME).
  • Acquire resources or support from outside organization for a project.
  • Mentor others informally or formally, providing technical and career guidance.
  • Share knowledge of lessons learned with your team and management.
  • Serve as an advisor to teams working on high visibility projects.
  • Develop relationships with customers to understand the customer base.
  • Expand your professional network (including contacts with people in industry, academia, and other relevant organizations) through joint projects, participation in workshops, memberships in professional and trade associations, and internal and external customer relationships.
  • Present invited talks or papers at technical conferences.
  • Maintain awareness of trends and state-of-the-art in your field.
  • Interview someone who is faced with pressure to make decisions constantly. Ask him or her to describe the criteria he/she uses to evaluate the quality of potential decisions, the methods/techniques he/she uses to make decisions, and the lessons he/she has learned about thinking through decisions.
  • Evaluate proposals with the guidance of senior staff members.
  • The next time you face a major policy or procedure change, find a way to access a broad range of ideas. Pose difficult challenges and ask for others’ thoughts or related experience.
  • Participate on a workforce planning team.
To Strengthen Technical Competencies
  • Counsel employees, survivors, and management on the full range of retirement and benefits issues (e.g., discontinued service retirement, disability retirement, reemployed annuitants, etc.).
  • Develop benefits guidance/education materials for the workforce.
  • Train and educate agency personnel on benefits policies and procedures.
  • Develop benefits and/or work-life policies.
  • Research and address complex employee benefits issues.
  • Prepare responses to employee enrollment reconsideration requests and/or special retirement coverage requests.
  • Update agency policies to reflect changes in federal employee benefits regulations and laws.
  • Serve as a resource to others to resolve complex benefits issues.
  • Develop and/or review the impact of legislative or regulatory proposals involving broad aspects of Federal employee retirement or insurance benefits programs.
  • Develop and implement agency-wide benefits strategies (e.g., the Retirement and Financial Education and Literacy strategy).
  • Develop, obtain approval for, and implement benefits flexibilities to address workforce structural requirements (e.g., Voluntary Early Retirement Authority, Voluntary Separation Incentive Payments, Mandatory Separation Exemptions).
  • Audit the quality/completeness of benefit enrollments and/or retirement applications. Implement process improvements or quality controls.

Additional Developmental Activities for Supervisory Positions Only
  • Find an opportunity to clearly communicate your vision and the values of your organization or work group, along with the message that you expect people to excel.
  • Gain commitment from necessary players and maintain their support throughout a change process.
  • Pay attention to advances or changes in technology. Look for ways that new or different technology could improve your work processes or the quality and/or efficiency of your work.
  • Identify people who hold similar positions to yours. Choose one or two who share common job concerns or problems, and meet with them informally to ask for ideas on resolving problems and expediting work flow.
  • Establish contact with other federal agencies for benchmarking opportunities, lessons learned, and innovative approaches for accomplishing objectives.
  • Contribute to processes that create and support a diverse environment (e.g. hiring and training).