7 Training and Development

710 Overview

711 Policy, Goals, Objectives, and Categories

711.1 General Policy

711.11 Strategy

The people employed by the Postal Service are its major asset, and the training and development of these human resources is a key investment strategy for individual and organizational success. The Postal Service provides systems and resources to meet the training and development needs of its employees, to fulfill organizational skill requirements, and to provide individuals with career growth opportunities. Broadly stated, it is Postal Service policy to provide employees with training and development opportunities consistent with operational requirements, occupational categories, and skill requirements.

711.12 Methods

Employees are provided with both formal and informal learning experiences that contribute to individual growth and improved performance in current or future jobs. Formal training and development systems are organized to achieve learning objectives in knowledge, skills, and abilities of employees and certain specifically designated applicants for employment. Job and other life experiences provide informal learning.

711.13 Responsibility

Responsibility for the training and development of postal employees is shared by the individual employee, his or her supervisor or manager, and the organization.

711.14 Reasonable Accommodation

The employing office must notify appropriate officials at the National Center for Employee Development (NCED) or the William F. Bolger Center for Leadership Development of students who may require reasonable accommodation or special attention at the resident training facility.

711.2 Purpose and Goals

The purpose of the training and development function is to:

  1. Organize and facilitate learning and development.
  2. Expedite acquisition of the knowledge, skills, and abilities required for effective job performance.
  3. Provide employees with career growth opportunities consistent with corporate goals, objectives, and strategies.

Training and employee development programs are designed to be effective, efficient, and timely, using sources, methods, and strategies consistent with the following goals:

  1. Ensure the availability of human resources to meet present and future organizational needs.
  2. Ensure linkage with corporate goals and business strategies.
  3. Provide learning experiences that are responsive to the training and development needs of Postal Service employees.
  4. Make instruction timely, using the most cost-effective methods.
  5. Reduce organizational training costs while increasing learner retention and proficiency.

711.3 Objectives

Training and development activities are planned on the basis of need and demand to enable employees to meet one or more of the following objectives:

  1. Upgrade or maintain proficiency in their current jobs.
  2. Learn new postal systems, procedures, or technologies.
  3. Acquire job-related knowledge, skills, and abilities after selection for or assignment to a specific position or duty.
  4. Develop knowledge, skills, and abilities as part of the succession planning and leadership development process.
  5. Obtain and enhance knowledge, skills, and abilities unrelated to their present duties in order to attain self-determined goals or career objectives.

Training and development activities also serve to enable managers, staff personnel, technical specialists, and others to keep abreast of new ideas, techniques, and concepts that may apply to postal operations or to a professional occupation.

711.4 Categories of Training and Development

Training and development programs and learning experiences fall under three basic categories, i.e., Job Training, Self-Development Training, and Job Experiences.

711.41 Job Training
711.411 Description

Job Training is training required by management to: (a) qualify an employee for presently assigned duties; (b) improve an employee’s performance of assigned duties; (c) prepare an employee for a future assignment subject to selection procedures.

Job Training is always compensable for Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) nonexempt employees. Salaried exempt employees continue to receive their salary while attending Job Training.

711.412 Conditions

To be categorized as Job Training, all of the following conditions apply:

  1. Management requires attendance at the training.
  2. The training is directly related to the performance of the employee’s current job or specific future assignment subject to satisfactory completion of the training and/or a job examination.
  3. Refusal to attend the training, or less than satisfactory performance in the training, may jeopardize the employee’s present position or make the employee ineligible for qualification or promotion to a specific position or duty.
711.413 Examples

Specific examples of Job Training are:

  1. Postal orientation for a new employee.
  2. A Postal Employee Development Center (PEDC) course in electricity and mechanics for a mail processing equipment mechanic (MPE).
  3. A driver training program for a motor vehicle operator.
  4. A PEDC financial transaction course for a Sales and Services Associate (SSA).
  5. A NCED Networking course for an electronics technician.
  6. A SSA training program for a distribution clerk who is the senior bidder for a SSA position.
  7. A Postmaster course taken in preparation for a specific officer-in-charge (OIC) assignment.
  8. Scheme training for an employee in the deferment period established by Article 37 of the USPS-APWU National Agreement when the employee qualifies for and accepts the preferred assignment.
711.42 Self-Development Training
711.421 Description

Self-Development Training is that which is taken in order to attain self-determined goals or career objectives but is not directly related to the employee’s current job. This training is noncompensable for FLSA nonexempt employees and must be approved by management in advance if postal resources are to be used. Before approving such training, management should take into account the provisions of 713.1 and 713.2.

711.422 Conditions

Self-Development Training must meet all of the following conditions:

  1. The employee’s participation is voluntary.
  2. Participation is outside the employee’s regular working hours.
  3. The training is not directly related to the employee’s job or to a definite future assignment subject to satisfactory completion of training and/or job examination.
  4. The employee does not perform any productive job-related work during the training.
  5. If Postal Service resources are used for the training, management has approved the employee’s participation.
711.423 Job Relatedness

Requests for Self-Development Training must be assessed on an individual basis to determine job-relatedness. If the subject matter of a training program is directly related to an FLSA nonexempt employee’s current job or definite future assignment subject to selection requirements, the time spent by the employee in training is considered “Job Training” subject to the provisions of 711.41 and compensable under FLSA.

711.424 Examples

Specific examples of Self-Development Training are:

  1. An online course in a second language for a letter carrier.
  2. A General Equivalency Diploma test preparation program for a SSA.
  3. A college seminar on leadership for a secretary.
  4. A local fire department certification program in CPR for a mail processor.
711.43 Job Experiences
711.431 General

Job Experiences can contribute significantly to maintaining, improving, or developing knowledge, skills, and abilities.

711.432 Within Current Job Assignment

Learning experiences can be incorporated within the employee’s current assignment to increase and/or enhance knowledge, skills, and abilities. Examples include the following:

  1. Task force assignments.
  2. Committee assignments.
  3. Special projects.
  4. Assignments of additional responsibilities or new duties.
  5. Tutoring by a technical expert.
  6. Special work assignments that focus attention on improving supervisory, managerial, or technical behaviors.
711.433 Outside Current Job Assignment

The temporary assignment of an employee to work or to a position outside his or her current job and location is a productive way to serve both employee development and organizational needs. From the employee’s perspective, such assignments provide opportunities to learn new and different skills and abilities. From the organization’s perspective, such assignments provide an efficient way to draw on an employee’s technical or managerial expertise to accomplish work for the organization. Examples include the following:

  1. Assignment to a leadership or staff role on a special task force or project.
  2. Temporary assignment to another position within or outside the organization, at the same level, lower level, or higher level. (See Handbook EL-312, 716.1, Temporary Bargaining Assignments, for more specific information about temporary assignments.)