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Human Resources Specialist (Employee Relations) — Full Performance, GS-11/12


Career Stage
Career Stage Flowchart
Flowchart Description: The Entry-Level and 1700 series employees advance to the GS 11 Specialist Level, then to the GS 12 Specialist Level and then finally to the Expert Level. They may also move up to the GS 12 Supervisory Level and then to the Expert Supervisory Level, but that is not as common. 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-11 GS-12
Attention to Detail: Is thorough when performing work and conscientious about attending to detail. 4 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. 2 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 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 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 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. 3 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 3
Information Management: Identifies a need for and knows where or how to gather information; organizes and maintains information or information management systems. 3 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 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 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 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 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 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 3
Problem Solving: Identifies problems; determines accuracy and relevance of information; uses sound judgment to generate and evaluate alternatives, and to make recommendations. 3 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. 2 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. 3 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 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 3
Stress Tolerance: Deals calmly and effectively with high stress situations (for example, tight deadlines, hostile individuals, emergency situations, dangerous situations). 3 4
Teamwork: Encourages and facilitates cooperation, pride, trust, and group identity; fosters commitment and team spirit; works with others to achieve goals. 3 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 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 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 3
Technical Competencies
Technical Competencies
Understanding the Competency Information

Technical Competencies Proficiency Level
GS-11 GS-12
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). 3 3
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). 2 3
Labor Relations: Knowledge of laws, rules, regulations, case law, principles, and practices related to negotiating and administering labor agreements (5 USC Chapter 71). 3 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
  • Attend training on writing performance elements/standards and on performance-based actions.
  • Develop a workshop on writing effective performance standards.
  • Shadow attorneys in agency’s Office of General Council’s for a 60-90 day period.
  • Learn how to coach executives, supervisors, and employees on how to write results-focused standards.
  • Learn the basic requirements of effective appraisal program and award program design, and join or lead a team that is redesigning appraisal or awards programs.
  • Work with a senior ER/LR and/or performance management specialist to observe how they provide advice, guide, and counsel supervisors who are dealing with an employee problem.
  • Research relatively straightforward performance and conduct issues and prepare recommendations on an appropriate course of action.
  • Work with a senior technical expert in preparing for a Merit System Protection Board (MSPB) appeal.
  • Work with a senior technical expert on Grievances and Arbitration.
  • Work with a seasoned expert on developing and/or re-negotiating local union agreements.
  • Work with a senior technical expert on responding to an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP).
  • Develop a negotiating strategy for renegotiation of a contract.

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-11 GS-12
Monitors files to ensure performance improvement plans are issued in accordance with regulations. checkmark checkmark
Develops informational documents for employees/managers about the organization’s performance appraisal system or program. checkmark checkmark
Monitors the impact of performance improvement plans. checkmark checkmark
Conducts compliance reviews to ensure performance plans, progress reviews, and summary ratings comply with policies and procedures. checkmark checkmark
Provides management advisory services in coaching, counseling, recognizing top performers, and taking appropriate actions on performance issues. checkmark checkmark
Advises managers on how to develop critical elements and performance standards (or equivalent) and also provides guidance on required actions. checkmark checkmark
Provides training to employees/managers on using the performance management system or program. checkmark checkmark
Resolves problems related to a complex employee leave case, involving a combination of leave without pay, sick leave, and holidays. checkmark N/A
Explains rules and procedures to employees and managers to help them understand grievance and appeals rights and responsibilities. checkmark N/A
Provides managers with standard steps they can take to correct employee conduct or performance issues. checkmark N/A
Recommends minor modifications to proposed labor management agreements. checkmark checkmark
Assists managers, employees, and union representatives in resolving grievances, including introduction of alternative dispute resolution techniques and strategies. checkmark checkmark
Briefs management on labor relations laws, rulings, and decisions. checkmark checkmark
Serves as the authoritative local interpreter of labor relations law, regulation, executive orders, and decisions of labor relations formal bodies. checkmark checkmark
Establishes and maintains relationships with labor organizations. checkmark checkmark
Interprets negotiated agreement provisions and reconciles conflicting technical viewpoints. checkmark checkmark
Advises managers about appropriate disciplinary or other corrective techniques that are responsive to a range of conduct and performance problems. N/A checkmark
Researches and prepares performance-based action notices. N/A checkmark
Analyzes facts related to employee conduct or performance issues to determine if there are justifiable grounds to take action and the appropriate next steps. N/A checkmark
Conducts inquiry or advises management on moderately complex administrative inquiries (e.g., coordinating with EEO, IG, or OSC). N/A checkmark
Advises management and provides technical advice on the administrative grievance process or any internal due process. N/A checkmark
Assists in research, preparation, maintenance, and filing of necessary documents and represents management before third parties in quasi-judicial boards and commissions. N/A checkmark
Supervisory Positions Only GS-11 GS-12
Plans and schedules ongoing work on a quarterly or annual basis. N/A checkmark
Recommends adjustments to staffing levels or work procedures to accommodate resource decisions made at higher levels. N/A 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. N/A checkmark
Conducts a wide range of activities related to staff work, such as: assigning work, tracking progress, and approving the final work product. N/A checkmark
Evaluates subordinate work performance and counsels subordinates on both work and administrative matters. N/A checkmark
Identifies developmental and training needs of employees. N/A checkmark
Resolves complaints and effects minor disciplinary measures when necessary. N/A checkmark
Prepares reports and communications for senior management/supervisors. N/A checkmark
Training Areas
Training Areas
Understanding the Training Areas

  • Developing 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
  • Mentoring Employees (GS-12 only)
  • Improving Employee Performance and Productivity (GS-12 only)
  • Conducting Employee Performance Appraisals in Accordance with Agency Systems (GS-12 only)
  • Identifying and Assisting Employees with Unacceptable Performance (GS-12 only)
  • Training Individuals Making Career Transitions (e.g., non-supervisory to manager or manager to executive) (GS-12 only)
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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