Competency Model

According to the Office of Personnel Management Office of Diversity & Inclusion, Federal agencies continue to advocate for, promote and practice the principles of workforce diversity and workplace inclusion in carrying out their mission. As the importance of diversity increases, so must the role of the D&I practitioner and manager.

The complexity of the D&I organizational environment is a major obstacle to D&I performance efforts. Size, scale, mission and political posture conspire to challenge even the most competent D&I practitioner and manager. The continued ambiguity and multiple organizational constructs of agency D&I, HR and EEO functions continue to be a source of confusion, frustration and unclear goals.

The long-term goal for the D&I practitioner and manager is a radical change from the current paradigm of EEO centered diversity.

Recognizing the value of the D&I role as more than a provider of D&I services and designating a seat at the executive table is critical to the success of this role. The D&I practitioner and manager are the advocates for fostering an inclusive culture that improves the organization’s morale, decision-making, and effectiveness.

The D&I Competency Model fashions the role of D&I as separate and distinct from Affirmative Action and EEO as well as HR functions. To further legitimize the D&I profession, certain competencies are suggested, a training program and certification process is introduced, and an approach is offered to shape and enhance the D&I profession in government.

Competencies are an observable and measurable pattern of skills, knowledge, abilities, behaviors as well as other characteristics required to perform occupational functions or roles. The Office of Personnel Management Workgroup on Diversity & Inclusion (October 2013) found seven competencies necessary for high performing D&I practitioners and managers. The competencies were selected for career-based levels GS-7 to Senior Executive Service (SES) and are associated with behavior indicators as well.

The behavior indicators in the model identify the most important aspects of a particular competency and are accumulative across grade levels. It is assumed that behaviors at the higher grade level naturally incorporate those at the lower level(s). Importance of one competency over another is not suggested by order. Toward this end, the Institute for Federal Leadership in Diversity & Inclusion offers six of the seven competencies suggested by the OPM Workgroup on Diversity & Inclusion.

Strategic Leadership              
Strategic Communication

Business Acumen
Building Coalitions                            

Change Management
D& I Measurement


Offerings & Participation

Participation in the Institute is open to all federal employees. Grouped by the General Schedule classification (GS-7 to Senior Executive Service), classes are intimate, intensive and consists of no more than 25 participants.  Important to note, competencies are selected for career levels GS-7 to Senior Executive Service and associated with behavior indicators as well.

Each Institute term is taught by credible and qualified faculty members from government, academia, and private sectors. The June term competencies are Strategic Leadership and Strategic Communication, the September term competencies are Business Acumen and Building Coalitions. And in February, D&I Measurement and Change Management competencies are offered.


Participants in the Institute receive competency level recognition for the completion of each term:

  • Gold Achievement Credential – exclusively for attending the inaugural Institute and completion of two competencies
  • Bronze Achievement Credential – completion of two competencies
  • Silver Achievement Credential – completion of four competencies
  • Crimson Achievement Credential – completion of six competencies

Participants who complete all six competencies will receive the “Certificate of Mastery in Diversity & Inclusion.”

As recommended by OPM Office of Diversity & Inclusion, beginning June 2017, classes will be offered by career level and all participants are eligible to receive certificates of completion.

Once a Certificate of Mastery in D&I is obtained, participants are eligible for additional advanced offerings from the Institute, including but not limited to:

Leadership Strategic Thinking Sessions

These classes provide Executives and Senior Managers the opportunity to identify organizational culture patterns and implicit assumptions that define, impact, promote and/or impede an organization’s mission and objectives. The classes offer leaders the opportunity to strategize on how to change organizational culture to achieve mission critical objectives.

Scholarship on Federal Diversity & Inclusion

Participants are invited to engage in symposiums, research and scholarship on federal sector D&I and its impact on government and the promotion of inclusive public policy.

Innovation Laboratory

Departments and Agencies have the opportunity to work in real-time on problem areas within their organizations with a group of peers and experts in an innovative, collaborative setting designed to lead to problem resolution and advancement of the organizational change process.


The Institute Practicum seeks to offer participants the opportunity to engage with Senior Executive Service leaders at the department levels, identify best practices and solutions and participate in executive management activities. The Practicum also encourages written communication focused on D&I strategy and planning. Mentoring and coaching is a key component of the Practicum experience and offers two years of mentoring guided by the Institute’s six competency areas.