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Learning the ropes

Program benefits new employees, organization

Norfolk, VA, Letter Carrier Monique Whitten and Customer Services Supervisor Erik Ennis, who trains postal newcomers through the USPS Field Onboarding Program.

The USPS Field Onboarding Program is not only helping new employees understand their jobs, it’s also improving retention.

The program combines classroom and on-the-job training, part of the Postal Service’s overall strategy to invest in its workforce.

Because the initiative helps employees learn the ropes faster, it makes them more likely to continue with USPS, managers and supervisor say.

“The graduates have told me that it allowed them to enter into units with more confidence and knowledge,” said Atlanta Customer Services Manager Sukisha Kilgore-Jenkins.

In addition to boosting retention rates, this also improves safety scores, she said.

The program’s “shadow day,” when veteran employees show newcomers how their work is performed, has proven crucial to its success.

“Having the shadow day makes a difference,” said Glen Allen, VA, Rural Carrier Carolyn Street, a 37-year-veteran and master trainer for Richmond District. “We have the privilege and responsibility of providing the starting point.”

Erik Ennis, a Norfolk, VA, customer services supervisor and onboarding trainer, said serving as a role model for newcomers is personally fulfilling.

“It means the world to me to be able to coach and mentor the upcoming future of the Postal Service,” he said. “I let them know with dedication and hard work upward mobility is possible.”

Supervisors also conduct follow-up visits with trainees.

“So far, everyone is motivated and has adjusted to mail delivery just fine,” Kilgore-Jenkins said.

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