7 Training and Development

710 Overview

711 Policy, Goals, Objectives, and Categories

711.1 Strategy

711.11 General Policy

The Postal Service invests in success by providing systems and resources to meet the training and development needs of the organization and its employees. Broadly stated, Postal Service policy provides employees with training and development opportunities consistent with operational requirements, occupational categories, and technical and functional competencies.

Management Instruction EL-740-2017-5, Training Development Request Process, includes information on the purpose, policy and intake process of the Postal Service’s Learning and Development group.

711.12 Methods

Employees may pursue opportunities for personal and professional growth through a diverse array of formal and informal learning experiences. Formal training and development systems, including technical training and career and leadership development programs, ensure that employees and select applicants for employment achieve learning objectives in knowledge, skills, and abilities.

Job and other life experiences provide informal learning. These learning opportunities contribute to employees’ individual growth and benefit the organization through increased operational performance.

711.13 Responsibility

Each employee, his or her supervisor or manager, and the organization share responsibility for employees’ training and development.

711.14 Reasonable Accommodation

According to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the employing office must inform appropriate officials at the National Center for Employee Development (NCED) and the William F. Bolger Center for Leadership Development about employees who may require reasonable accommodation or special attention at the resident training facility.

711.2 Purpose and Goals

The following’s purpose and goals include:

  1. The training and development function:
    1. Designs, coordinates, organizes, and facilitates learning and development solutions and events.
    2. Supports the workforce acquiring knowledge, skills, and abilities required for effective job performance.
    3. Provides employees with career growth opportunities consistent with Postal Service goals, objectives, and strategies.
  2. Training and employee development programs:
    1. Align to corporate goals and business strategies to maximize organizational resources and offer timely, economical, and effective learning solutions throughout the organization.
    2. Support the organization’s present and future workforce needs.
    3. Respond to the workforce’s training and development needs.

711.3 Objectives

The Postal Service plans training and development activities based on need and demand to enable employees to:

  1. Upgrade or maintain proficiency in their current jobs.
  2. Acquire job-related knowledge, skills, and abilities after selection for or assignment to a specific position or duty.
  3. Learn new Postal Service systems, procedures, or technologies.
  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 to attain self-determined goals or career objectives.

Training and development activities also keep managers, staff, technical specialists, and others abreast of new ideas, techniques, and concepts that may apply to Postal Service operations.

711.4 Training and Development Categories

Training and development programs and learning experiences fall under three basic categories:

  1. Formal job training.
  2. Self-development training.
  3. On-the-job experiences, including feedback and coaching.
711.41 Formal Job Training
711.411 Description

Formal job training is training that management requires to:

  1. Qualify an employee for presently assigned duties.
  2. Improve an employee’s performance of assigned duties.
  3. Prepare an employee for a future assignment subject to selection procedures.

Formal job training is always compensable for Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) nonexempt employees. Salaried exempt employees continue to receive their salary while attending formal job training.

711.412 Conditions

Note the following:

  1. For training to be categorized as formal job training, the following conditions must apply:
    1. Management requires attendance at the training.
    2. The training is directly related to the employee’s performance in his or her current job or specific future assignment.
  2. National training programs include specific enrollment and program completion requirements. Employees who have accepted a position must plan to attend training within 30 days of the Form 50 being processed, and complete the entire program within a 12-month period.
  3. Employees who refuse to attend the training, or who attain less than satisfactory performance in the training, may jeopardize their present position or eligibility for qualification or promotion to a specific position or duty.
711.413 Examples

Specific examples of formal job training include:

  1. Postal Service new employee orientation held at local Learning Development and Diversity centers (LDDC).
  2. A motor vehicle operator driver training program.
  3. A sales and services associate (SSA) financial transaction course conducted at the local level.
  4. An electronics technician NCED networking course.
  5. An SSA training program for distribution clerks who are the senior bidder for an SSA position.
  6. A postmaster course taken in preparation for a specific officer-in-charge assignment.
  7. Scheme training for employees 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 taken to attain self-determined goals or career objectives, and may or may not directly relate to the employee’s current job. This training is non-compensable for FLSA nonexempt employees and must be approved by management in advance if Postal Service 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

For training to be categorized as formal job training, all of the following conditions must apply:

  1. The employee’s participation is voluntary and self-initiated.
  2. The training is not directly related to the employee’s job or to a definite future assignment that is subject to satisfactorily completing training or job examination.
  3. The employee does not perform productive job-related work during the training.
  4. If Postal Service resources are used for the training, management has approved the employee’s participation.

Note: Participation may be outside of the employee’s regular working hours.

711.423 Job-Relatedness

Requests for self-development training must be assessed individually 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 employee’s time spent in training is considered formal job training subject to the provisions of 711.41 and is compensable under FLSA.

711.424 Examples

Examples of self-development training include:

  1. An online course in a second language for a letter carrier.
  2. A general equivalency diploma (GED) test preparation program for an SSA.
  3. A college seminar on leadership for a secretary.
  4. A local fire department certification program in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) for a mail processor.
711.43 On-the-Job Experiences
711.431 General

On-the-job experiences can contribute significantly to maintaining, improving, or developing employees’ knowledge, skills, and abilities.

711.432 Within Current Job Assignment

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

  1. Task force assignments.
  2. Committee assignments.
  3. Special projects.
  4. Assignments that include 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

A productive way to serve both employee and organizational development needs is to temporarily reassign selected employees to work in a position outside their current job and location. Such assignments provide employees with opportunities to learn new and different skills and abilities, and offer the organization an efficient way to draw on employees’ technical or managerial expertise. Examples of such assignments include:

  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 or at a lower or higher level.

For more information about temporary assignments, employees should consult Handbook EL-312, Employment and Placement, section 716, “Positions Filled Temporarily.”