WPS: How does the Postal Service work to develop leaders and managers to improve workforce performance?
Harris: We want to make sure we have the best managers and executives in place. We’ve created continuous training at all levels from our executives all the way down to our craft people. There’s a large turnover of baby boomers right now. When we looked at the Postal Service, we knew that the federal sector was the same way. We know by the end of 2006, we’re going to lose 55 percent of our managers and executives in our offices. The whole idea right now is to make sure that we have training available to make sure that we have a bench of people who are qualified and ready to step into those positions.
We’ve created some programs. One is what we call the management intern program, which allows people from both outside and inside the Postal Service with master’s degrees to apply for mid-level positions. We put them through a two-year developmental program, and once they complete the program, they take on a manager’s position at the mid-level. We’re also focusing on another program called the management associates program. In this particular program, we’re looking for people outside and inside who have bachelor’s degrees, as opposed to the master’s degrees. They’ll be moved into lower-level management positions. They also get a flavor of each function of the Postal Service, but more or less in operations. We also have what we call a corporate succession planning process. What’s new about this is we let people self-nominate for succession planning. They go through a rigorous evaluation process for various jobs throughout the Postal Service. We allow these individuals to select five jobs. Our responsibility to these folks is to develop them for when these jobs become available. The postmaster general gives final approval for the individuals who are selected in succession planning.