In most of your billet assignments as an LN you will
work side by side with civilian personnel who augment
the staffing of NLSOs or SJA offices. Quite often you
will supervise some of them.
employees with military counterparts are an integral
team that contributes significantly to the mission
success of your office as well as the command. In the
next section we will address civilian employees and two
important aspects of your supervision, namely, writing
position descriptions and performance appraisals.
THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEE
Too often the unfamiliarity with civil service
regulations causes problems in carrying out good
Again, involvement is
important in achieving office efficiency. To understand
the world of a civil servant you should not hesitate to
pursue whatever is available in the way of training. A
visit to your servicing civilian personnel office should
be your first stop. They not only keep up the records of
civilian employees hut also maintain publications and
regulations governing civil service; for example, copies
of the Federal Personnel Manual, the Civil Service
Reform Act pamphlet, and the Managers Handbook.
The most helpful and highly recommended guide is the
local standard operating procedures (SOP). You can
obtain the SOP from the servicing civilian personnel
office also. The local SOP explains in specific detail
how actions are handled by that servicing personnel
office. Each SOP is different and should never be used
at another location because it would not apply. There
arc procedural differences at each Servicing civilian
personnel office. The local SOP defines the procedures
for all personnel actions. For instance, it explains the
procedures for staffing, classification, and employee
relations. These offices also conduct seminars and
training for military supervisors. Your efforts to get as
much information as possible will enhance your
understanding of the civilian personnel who staff your
One of the major tasks concerning civilian
employees that you may find yourself involved in is the
writing of position descriptions.
Positions must be
classified before employees can be hired. A position
description is an official record of the work assigned by
management to an employee. Position descriptions are
useful in setting qualifications used in filling jobs and
promoting employees. They can be used to orient new
employees in their duties.
The duties and
responsibilities in a position description are also used in
developing performance standards for the work and in
deciding on (mining courses related to the work.
Although different position descriptions are
required for different classifications of federal
employees, we will touch briefly on the General Service
(GS) position description because, in most cases, it will
be the GS civil service employee that you supervise.
The following is a broad outline of the major elements
that make up a GS position description.
Most GS position descriptions are now written in a
Factor Evaluation System (FES) format. The FES is a
method of assigning grades in the classification of
nonsupervisory positions, GS-1 through GS-15. Under
the FES, position descriptions consist of a brief listing
of the major duties followed by a description of those
duties in nine FES evaluation factors. The nine factors
are as follows:
Knowledge required (by the position)
Guidelines (for the work)
Complexity (of the work)
Scope and effect (of the work)
Purpose of contacts
For additional information on writing position
descriptions using the FES format, refer to the guide
How to Write Position Descriptions Under the Factor
All servicing civilian personnel
offices should have this guide.
Another important task is the writing of the
performance appraisals of your civilian personnel.
Performance appraisals are used as a basis for decisions
to train, reward, assign, promote, demote, retain, or
remove (for reasons other than misconduct) employees.
Because most performance appraisals are based on
locally prepared criteria, we will only briefly cover the
major areas that supervisors need to be concerned with