USPS Human Resources: What You Need To Know

USPS Human Resources: What You Need To Know

The United States Postal Solution (USPS) is part of the American culture and is famous for its blue mailboxes spread across America. It plays an important part in the country's infrastructure and delivers mail and parcels to millions of addresses daily. Utilizing a workforce of more than  644,000 people, the USPS serves an essential role in providing necessary communication channels and promoting economic growth. A durable and well-functioning human resources department is paramount to handling such a huge workforce. This article will take an in-depth look at USPS Human Resources, covering how the company manages benefits planning, employee development, recruitment, and retirement planning, along with all the programs and initiatives that make up this essential function within the Postal Service.

USPS Human Resources Philosophy

The USPS HR philosophy, as stated by Simon Storey, Vice President of Human Resources, focuses on improving the employee experience, ensuring a safe workplace, and equipping and empowering employees to do their best. This includes overseeing all aspects of the employee lifecycle, from hiring to retirement, health, diversity, injury compensation, selection policies, and human resources shared services and enterprise systems. The HR team is dedicated to preparing managers for a simplified pay-for-performance policy and rewarding employees for their accomplishments.

Labor Relations


For many years, relations between labor unions and the United States Postal Service have been long-established, and they are governed by the National Labor Relations Act and the Postal Reorganization Act. These statutes give labor organizations the right to represent USPS employees and provide the framework for the conduct of collective bargaining and resolving disputes. Currently, the USPS is organized into several labor unions, including the National Postal Mail Handlers Union, the National Association of Letter Carriers, and the American Postal Workers Union.

Collective bargaining agreements outline the terms and conditions of employment, including wages, hours, and working conditions. CBAs need to be negotiated between parties; if approved, they have to be ratified by union members prior to being implemented. CBAs are renegotiated or amended from time to time, subject to the terms of the agreement.

When disputes arise between USPS and its unions regarding the interpretation or application of the collective bargaining agreement, labor disputes may arise. Other disputes include working conditions, staffing levels, and job security. Disputes are usually settled by the grievance and arbitration process set out in the collective bargaining agreement.

Currently, USPS has numerous labor-related issues. The American Postal Workers Union has filed grievances with the National Labor Relations Board over claims that USPS is not upholding certain parts of the collective bargaining agreement with the union. Furthermore, USPS is coming under criticism over its dealings with the modernization of the network, which is leading to concerns regarding job security, while postal layoffs and closures are imminent.

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USPS Human Resources Recruitment and Selection 

The USPS selection process involves evaluating applicants based on their demonstration of relevant knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) related to the position's requirements. The process begins with a search for vacancy announcements, which can be found on the USPS website or through the online application system. Applicants must submit their applications through the online system, where the appropriate parties will carefully review the information provided. The selection criteria include the examination requirements, and external applicants who apply by the closing date must have an equal opportunity to complete the testing process. The selection process may also involve evaluating external applicants based on testing requirements and using the methods described in the "Non-Bargaining Selection Methods" training. The USPS philosophy underlying all selections is that a person placed into a position must be qualified and meet the requirements of the position. The selection process also involves ensuring a safe workplace, equipping and empowering employees to excel, and rewarding employees for their achievements. The USPS hiring process involves multiple steps, including searching for job opportunities, creating an online profile, submitting an application, and what to expect after applying. The USPS also provides resources to help applicants prepare for the hiring process, such as practice exams and interview preparation.

Diversity and Inclusion

USPS has always been focused to promote diversity and inclusion in the organizational setup. To promote diversity and inclusion, USPS values a rich mix of cultures, perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds of its employees.

USPS has a diverse workforce of approximately 51.5% of individuals who are either Black, Asian, or Hispanic in an extremely diverse country. In addition to this, USPS is also dominated by 46.14 women and is one of the largest customers, with more than 69,000 veterans and over 32,000 employees with disabilities, including over 9,000 disabled veterans.

The USPS has adopted various diversity management practices, keeping in mind a healthy work environment where all employees get a chance to realize their potential and positively contribute to the organization's overall strategies. Among these, enhanced recruitment and retention of diverse talent, leveraging the talents and skills of a diverse workforce, and reinforcing leadership's commitment to diversity and inclusion are some of the practices.

USPS has been featured in the top federal agencies for diversity lists of the Black Employment and Entrepreneur Journal and Equal Opportunity Publication. In addition, Computerworld magazine has also listed USPS for the past four years in the category of the top 100 Best Places to Work in IT.

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Employee Benefits

The USPS provides comprehensive benefits to its employees, including health benefits, retirement plans, and other perks. A Kaiser Family Foundation research showed that 89% of huge companies in America offer health insurance, and USPS is part of that statistic. For non-career employees, the USPS Health Benefits Plan is available, which covers different medical, dental, and vision services. The plan is available for all eligible non-career employees, including RCAs, all eligible employees can enroll during the annual Open Season within 60 days from the day of being hired.

Retirement Plans: USPS employees also benefit from a three-tiered retirement system, which includes the Postal Service retirement system, Social Security, and the Thrift Savings 401k plan. Postal Service retirees get annuities based on the years of service in the USPS retirement system, at 1% for each year of service. Additionally, employees have been given the option to contribute to the Thrift Savings 401k plan, which includes contributions from the US government up to 5%.

Health Insurance: In terms of health benefits, USPS employees pay considerably less for their health care bi-weekly premiums than competitive federal civil service employees due to their negotiated union contracts. The Federal Employees Health Benefits program offers a diverse range of medical plans, with costs being comparatively low, considering that the federal government pays two-thirds of the premiums for employees and retirees.

Paid time Off (PTO): USPS identifies the significance of work-life balance and uses a charitable PTO program. Employees collect PTO based on their tenure, permitting them to recharge and spend time with loved ones. The program encompasses vacation time, sick leave, and personal leave, providing flexibility for various needs. A Bureau of Labor Statistics report shows approximately 10 days of paid leave for brand-new hires across all industries. Nonetheless, USPS frequently goes beyond these standards, providing a more attractive PTO package. Annual leave accrues at a rate of 13 days per year for career employees and 104 hours per year for non-career employees. The same number of days apply for sick leave. Additionally, USPS offers parental leave for employees who have given birth or adopted a child, with up to 12 weeks of leave available.

Life Insurance: USPS acknowledges the importance of offering financial security to employees' families. USPS provides life insurance coverage to its employees through the Federal Employees' Group Life Insurance (FEGLI) program. FEGLI offers a range of coverage options, including basic life insurance, additional life insurance, and accidental death and dismemberment insurance. The amount of coverage available depends on the employee's salary and the type of coverage elected.

Disability Insurance: Unexpected illness or injuries can interrupt income flow. USPS provides short-term disability insurance programs to give financial assistance to employees who are incapable of working because of medical conditions. The coverage is designed to replace a portion of the employee's salary, helping them to maintain financial stability during their recovery.

Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs): USPS recognizes the significance of mental and emotional well-being. They provide Employee Assistance Programs that supply counseling services to support employees with personal and professional challenges.

Training and Development

Training and development programs in the USPS are the mainstay of the organization, which comprises formal training and development systems, which include training in technical skills and training for career and leadership development. Training and development programs enhance employees' knowledge, skills, and abilities, enabling them to interact comfortably with other employees. The USPS Learning and Development Department at Headquarters is an official source for formal, enterprise-wide training and is responsible for delivering quality training that improves the employee experience, meets the organization's needs, and safeguards USPS resources. 

Training and development programs at USPS are delivered in varied forms—delivered via instructor-led classroom settings and online mode via HERO as web-based training and virtually through online conferencing software. Training may range from several weeks to up to 12 weeks, with its duration depending on the particular training program. Training is designed to make a long-term positive impact, ensuring that employees and non-Postal Service personnel continue to learn and improve their knowledge, skills, and abilities throughout their careers.

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Performance Management

The USPS Performance Management System is designed to ensure that the employees are in accordance with the expectations of the organization and help achieve overall success. The system consists of written guidance and information systems that enable the managers to monitor the efficiency of delivery and in the assessment of performance. The establishment of performance expectations is a process that involves setting the utilization of key performance indicators and other measurable.

Performance evaluation criteria for USPS employees vary with respect to the job function and level in the organization. For example, delivery managers may be evaluated based on carrier office and street efficiency indicators, while other employees may be evaluated based on meeting certain performance targets.

Performance improvement plans are implemented when an employee's performance does not meet the expectations of the organization. PIPs define the specific goals and objectives that an employee must work towards to improve their performance. They may include a timeline for improvement and potential consequences if the goals are not met.

One of the challenges in USPS performance management is that it isolates the impact of certain initiatives on the overall performance for most factors affecting delivery efficiency. In this regard, USPS wants to move to 5-day delivery as it seeks to ensure its financial viability. Further, criticism has been leveled against USPS on a variety of issues, including not setting specific cost-saving targets and results for many of its delivery efficiency initiatives, which makes it tough to gauge the impact of such initiatives.

Communication and Feedback

USPS recognizes the value of open communication and employee feedback. USPS regularly performs employee surveys to gauge satisfaction degrees, determine areas for improvement and better understand employee requirements. One such feedback program includes an annual Postal Service Employee Survey based on feedback received from employees over the course of the year. The review covers various aspects of the office, such as job satisfaction, work environment, and management practices.

USPS Multitude of Career Paths

USPS caters to a diverse range of skills and interests by offering a multitude of career paths. Below are some of the prominent jobs that they offer:

Delivery and Mail Processing

  • Mail Carriers

  • Mail Sorters

  • Handling Clerks

Sales and Customer Service

  • Retail Associates

  • Customer Support Representatives

Management and Administration

  • Supervisors and Managers

  • Person Resources Specialists

  • Financial Specialists

Specialized Positions

  • Maintenance and Mechanics

  • Infotech (IT) Specialists

  • Security And Safety Specialists


USPS Human Resources is a vital component of the Postal Service's success and is a support system for employees across their careers. From recruitment and selection to benefits and retirement planning, USPS HR offers an array of tools and resources to help employees succeed. Through enabling employee development, ensuring their safety, and offering empowerment, they have built a positive work environment that attracts and retains top talent. USPS HR will remain instrumental, ensuring that the organization has the talent and resources it needs to deliver exceptional service to its customers.

Belinda Pondayi
This article was written by Belinda a Consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd

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