584 Employee Evaluation

584.1 Significance of Probationary Period

The probationary period represents the final step in determining an employee’s suitability, since only an actual trial on the job can be conclusive. Proper use of the probationary period is in the best interests of both the new employee and the Postal Service. During this period, the new employee receives orientation and whatever training is needed. Attentiveness to the new employee, both in training sessions and on the job, may ensure the satisfaction and efficiency of an employee who might otherwise be separated.

584.2 Outlining Expectations

At the time the oath of office is administered, or during the new employee orientation session, new hires should become familiar with the probationary period and its purpose. The supervisor is responsible for constant informal evaluation throughout the probationary period. This involves close observation and analysis of the new employee’s performance to determine both proficiencies and deficiencies. The supervisor consistently attempts by guidance, counsel, and training to assist the new employee to correct any deficiencies in either conduct or performance.

584.3 Length of Probationary Periods

The following probationary periods are required for different kinds of employment:

584.31 Career Appointment to Bargaining Position

An applicant selected for career appointment to a bargaining position must serve a probationary period of 90 calendar days. This applies not only to the first appointment, but also to any subsequent career appointment, reinstatement, or transfer to the Postal Service from another agency, regardless of whether the appointee had previously completed a probationary period.

584.32 Career Appointment to Nonbargaining Position

An applicant selected for career appointment to a nonbargaining position must serve a probationary period of six months of continuous service in the Postal Service, or 12 months of combined service (federal and postal) without a break of a workday in positions in the same line of work.

584.33 Position Change During Probationary Period

A career probationary employee who is promoted, demoted, or reassigned from one position to another during the probationary period, must complete the probationary period uninterrupted in the new position.

584.34 Noncareer Appointment

Noncareer employees do not serve probationary periods. However, periodic review of their performance and completion of a 90–day evaluation report are required. Unsatisfactory casual or temporary employees should be separated as soon as it becomes evident that they are unable to meet the requirements of their positions.

584.35 Reinstatement

Former federal and postal employees who are reinstated must serve new probationary periods.

584.4 Counting Probationary Service

584.41 Periods of Absence

Periods of absence during which an employee is carried on the rolls count toward completion of a probationary period.

584.42 Periods of Military Service

Military service counts toward completion of a probationary period for employees who leave positions in which they were serving probationary periods to enter military service. If the military service is insufficient to complete the probationary period, the employee is required to complete the period upon return.

584.43 Periods of Noncareer Service

Postal service in a casual or temporary status does not count toward completion of a probationary period, even though such service may have immediately preceded the career appointment.

584.44 Reassignment During Probation

The probationary period that begins before a reassignment continues uninterrupted after the reassignment.

584.45 Position Changes During Probation

A change from part–time to full–time employment does not interrupt or otherwise change the time counted toward completion of a probationary period. Promotion, demotion, or reassignment in the same installation or to another installation within the Postal Service does not require a new probationary period, but does require completion of any unfinished probationary period.

Note: An employee can satisfy the career probationary requirement only while performing in a career position. Time spent in a noncareer position cannot be credited toward completion of the career probationary period.

584.5 Bargaining Employees

Form 1750, Employee Evaluation and/or Probationary Report, establishes benchmarks for satisfactory work performance. For noncareer employees, the form serves as an evaluation report to make the appropriate rehire decisions, to facilitate coaching and counseling, and to provide assistance to employees needing guidance. For career employees, the form serves as a probationary report that clearly outlines expectations for the probationary period, including the factors to be evaluated. During the employee’s first week at the work site, the immediate supervisor must hold an initial discussion to clearly outline performance expectations for the evaluation or probationary period, including the factors to be evaluated and examples of satisfactory performance.

584.51 Performance Evaluation Intervals

The supervisor must discuss the employee’s performance with the employee at the end of 30 days, and again at the end of 60 days. Both the supervisor and the employee must initial Form 1750 to indicate that these discussions have taken place. The final evaluation occurs at the end of 80 days, and it contains a definitive recommendation regarding whether the employee should be retained or separated. This evaluation requires the signatures of both the supervisor and the employee.

584.52 Formal Evaluations at Other Intervals

Most deficiencies can be corrected with discussion, training, and counseling. Additional formal evaluations are made only when informal evaluations have not been successful and only after employees understand their deficiencies, and have had a reasonable opportunity to correct them. If these additional evaluations occur during an employee’s probationary period, they are documented using Form 1750.

584.53 Evaluation After the Probationary Period

Regular performance evaluations are encouraged after the employee has completed the probationary period. Such evaluations are used for promotion recommendations and for the early identification and correction of problems.

584.6 Nonbargaining Employees

The Postal Service has identified the personal attributes needed for the successful job performance of nonbargaining employees. These attributes are described as behavioral examples in competency models for leadership and functional/technical competency. Competency models and evaluation forms have been developed for supervisory, managerial, and executive levels of leadership.

584.61 Conducting the Initial Discussion

During an employee’s first week at a work site, the immediate manager must have an initial discussion with the employee to clearly outline performance expectations for the probationary period. This discussion is documented on the appropriate form, as follows:

  • Supervisory — PS Form 5956-SUP, EAS Supervisory Employee Probationary Period Report.
  • Managerial — PS Form 5956-MGR, EAS Managerial Employee Probationary Period Report.
  • Executive — PS Form 5956-EXE, Executive Employee Probationary Period Report.

These forms are available online at http://blue.usps.gov/formmgmt/forms.htm.

584.62 Establishing Individual Core Requirements

As governed by the Pay-for-Performance (PFP) program, the employee and the evaluator establish individual core requirements through an interactive discussion. The individual core requirements must be established within 30 days after the employee assumes the position.

Individual core requirements are documented and tracked in the Performance Evaluation System (PES). For more information, see the PFP Web site, which provides the “Administrative Rules for EAS Employees,” many other documents, and a link to PES.

584.63 Performance Evaluation Intervals

The probationary period for nonbargaining employees is 180 days. In addition to providing the ongoing feedback necessary for successful performance management, the manager must conduct four formal discussions with the employee. After the initial meeting during the employee’s first week at the work site, the manager should conduct and document interactive discussions at the following intervals: 30 days, 80 days, 150 days, and 170 days. Both the employee and manager are required to initial the form to indicate completion of these discussions.

On the final (170-day) evaluation, the manager must recommend definitively that the employee be either retained or separated. The employee and the manager both must sign the evaluation form. If the employee refuses to sign it, the manager should indicate that the employee was offered the opportunity to sign, but declined to do so.