Chapter 3 Our Workforce
Recruitment and Development
Placing the right people in the right jobs is an ongoing strategic effort for the Postal Service. Along with launching a pilot for an automated job application system (see PostalPEOPLE section), a new group, Talent Acquisition and Retention, was established to concentrate recruitment efforts on two fronts: 1) forecasting talent requirements that support current and future business strategies, and 2) offering a holistic approach to balancing employee career and lifestyle goals.
A key component of any recruitment program is building awareness of employment offerings. A new brochure was created this year to promote the wide variety of postal careers and help position the Postal Service as an employer of choice. This year the Postal Service also developed and sponsored a first-ever CareerSMART event, a career fair to discuss postal employment opportunities and accept resumes from potential applicants. The Postal Service routinely participates in conferences and community events that showcase its diverse workforce, including the annual Public Service Recognition Week career fair. Postal participation in national conferences and conventions included the Blacks In Government National Training Conference; the National Black MBA Association Conference; the Urban League; the Society of American Indian Government Employees; the National Congress of American Indians; the League of United Latin American Citizens; the National Council of La Raza; the National Hispana Leadership Institute; and the Asian Pacific American Federal Career Advancement Summit.
The Postal Service is among the nation’s largest employers of veterans and disabled veterans and actively recruits men and women in uniform. In 2007, the Postal Service employed 170,851 veterans. Of this group, 59,114 received injuries while in uniform and, of that number, 16,491 were rated at 30 percent or more disabled.
The Postal Service uses regular competitive procedures to select individuals with disabilities for employment. Individuals with severe disabilities receive noncompetitive employment consideration through referrals from state departments of vocational rehabilitation or the Department of Veterans Affairs. In 2007, the Postal Service’s career workforce included 39,969 employees with reported disabilities.
The Postal Service’s Management Intern program creates additional opportunities for recruitment and placement of people with specialized training and skills. There are currently 120 career management interns, a number that increases each year. Participants are given work experiences managing a wide range of functions and then out-placed into key operational positions.
A total of 304 new operations industrial engineer (OIE) positions were created for plant and area office operations. OIEs will play a key role in the implementation of standardized processes in plant operations starting this year. Approximately 200 of the new positions will be filled through external recruitment.
The Postal Service offers a comprehensive learning continuum for all employees to reinforce success and drive performance. It accomplishes this objective through training programs that allow employees to strengthen their operational knowledge, build skills, and enhance competencies. The learning continuum also addresses leadership development and talent management at all levels, and is designed to meet the varied and changing needs of an inclusive organization.
National Center For Employee Development
The National Center for Employee Development (NCED) in Norman, OK, is the Postal Service’s primary learning facility to manage, maintain, and operate postal systems; upgrade mail processing equipment; improve systems performance; manage networking infrastructures; and deploy new vehicles. In 2007 NCED provided 665 courses through 3,900 course offerings, to 317,000 people — 44 percent more students than were served the prior year. It also expanded training through in-depth campus programs, field-site delivery, and distance courses. These included 50 new eLearning courses, including training on suspicious mail, enterprise resource management system changes, and retail revenue protection. NCED satellite and audio distance learning networks delivered other Postal Service training and information broadcasts to employees.
Construction was completed on a third facility on the NCED campus. The new Northeast Learning Center will support automated flat mail processing equipment, which is too large for NCED’s existing buildings. Multipurpose space will be used for an executive learning program on continuous improvement. NCED revenues exceeded expenses for the seventh straight year. Training and conference support for non-postal clients generated more than $2 million.
William F. Bolger Center For Leadership Development
The William F. Bolger Center for Leadership Development is the national executive management and leadership training center for the Postal Service. Its mission is to continue to provide a premier learning environment for managers to develop, plan, and grow personally and professionally. Nearly 106,500 people used the center this year, including 46,263 postal employees who attended courses and meetings. The Media Unit within the Bolger Center is used to create video productions and Postal Satellite Training Network broadcasts that assist in employee learning and operational needs. Media Unit-produced videos helped earn 2007 Telly and Communicator Awards for Women in Federal Law Enforcement (WIFLE) (produced for the Inspection Service and WIFLE), EEO Rights and Remedies , and Working Together With Dignity and Respect.
The Postal Service provided 424 eLearning courses, with 79,192 participants registered. Courses combined materials developed in-house and commercial off-the-shelf products. A small team of postal instructional designers are responsible for all internal, technology-based training products, which reduces development time. The Postal Service increased its capability to deliver Web-based courses by expanding technology to include an Automated Enrollment System (AES) and by consolidating all eLearning to one location. The AES expands current systems to coordinate scheduling, tracking, assessment, testing, and general administration.
The Postal Service began a full-scale effort to develop curriculum for individuals recently promoted or newly reassigned to key mid-level manager field positions. A new postmaster level 18 and 20 course was provided to 997 employees. Courses piloted for core operational management training include Manager, Post Office Operations; Manager, In-Plant Support; Manager, Distribution Operations, and operations industrial engineer. Employees promoted to these positions are automatically enrolled.
Leadership competency models have been updated for all levels to align with strategic organizational needs. More than 600 executives, 1,500 managers, and 2,500 supervisors participated in the surveys and focus groups to develop competency models. To date, the models consisting of up to eight competencies have been completed and incorporated into the Advanced Leadership Program (ALP), EAS Leadership Development (ELD), Corporate Succession Planning, and the Executive Development Continuum.
ALP is the Postal Service’s premier development program, and 1,683 participants have completed it since inception. ALP is for mid-level managers who demonstrate potential for greater responsibility. It was streamlined to three weeks and redesigned to be consistent with the Executive Competency Model, which identifies behaviors for successful executive performance. This year 40 ALP graduates were promoted to executive positions.
The nationwide ELD process was launched to augment the succession planning process by reaching deeper into the organization to identify and develop employees to compete for management positions. ELD added 1,100 EAS employees as participants. Participants build comprehensive individual development plans to guide their development.
Executive Development and Succession Planning
The Postal Service continues to develop and maintain a highly motivated, competent group of managers to fill key executive positions. There were 748 Postal Career Executive Service (PCES) managers in 2007, including 40 officers and 89 newly-appointed executives.
To maintain a highly-productive executive workforce, the Postal Service offers four PCES developmental tiers, known as the Executive Development Continuum (EDC). The four tiers are: Executive Foundations, Executive Leadership, Individualized Executive Development, and Performing at the Peak. Executive Foundations, for newly-appointed PCES managers, was expanded. New executives now participate in a 2.5-day Executive On-Boarding program that covers ethics and accountability, personal acumen and productivity, strategic planning, budgeting and finance, and executive compensation and related policies. In the second part of the program, participants engage with senior leaders to examine key strategic challenges from a systemic, cross-functional perspective. The new Executive Leadership tier, launched in 2007, gives executives deeper insight into the dynamics of leading through organizational change. Executives are given feedback on assessment instruments that measure their leadership styles, preferences, and effectiveness. This year 60 executives participated in this tier of the EDC.
Identification of future executives continues through the automated Corporate Succession Planning (CSP) process. CSP operates on a 2-year cycle, during which employees identified as potential successors develop and pursue targeted development plan to prepare for executive assignments. The next CSP cycle will begin in 2008.
External Career Development Efforts
In addition to promoting the participation of diverse talent in structured developmental programs, the Postal Service supports employee participation at external conferences to enhance professional development and leadership skills. The Postal Service sponsored the National Hispana Leadership Institute’s training attended by more than 80 employees. It also provided an excellent opportunity to network with leading professionals who serve as role models and mentors. The Postal Service also sponsored the Federally Employed Women’s 38th Annual National Training Program, and hosted an agency forum entitled Leadership — Managing the Journey. Network, an affinity group of postal employees, is dedicated to training and mentoring future postal leaders. During the Postal Service’s 2007 National Training Conference, attendees participated in skills-building activities and attended seminars to help prepare them for leadership roles.
Investing in High-Potential Employees as Future Leaders
The Postal Service has a network of employees assigned to area, district, and Headquarters level diversity-related positions. This network of professionals leveraged their knowledge, skills and abilities to promote career development to a diverse workforce. Diversity professionals continued to be responsible for providing career development seminars, conferences, and individual and group sessions throughout the organization. They provided field administration, coordination, and communications for developmental programs including the Associate Supervisor Program (ASP), CSP, and ELD. ASP is aimed primarily at developing bargaining unit employees to become successful operational supervisors. Active participation in operations and advertising these opportunities draws diverse talent, broadening the qualified applicant pool. Diversity staff also help leadership identify high-potential employees for leadership, eliminate barriers from development processes, and forecast future developmental needs.