• Project Title:
  • Postal Service Knowledge Continuity
  • Start Date:
  • Monday, October 4, 2021
  • Estimated Report Release Date:
  • April 2022

During fall 2020, the Postal Service initiated a series of phased organizational changes to improve its ability to implement strategies and drive success. As a result of these changes, a reduction-in-force occurred in affected areas for several authorized positions.

When employees leave the Postal Service, there is a risk that institutional knowledge and experience for essential positions are lost. The objective of the audit is to determine whether the Postal Service ensures critical knowledge is not lost when employees leave the organization (due to retirement, resignation, or other reason).

  • What processes are in place to ensure knowledge is transferred before an employee leaves the agency? When employees are transferred from one facility to another in a different area or district, are the processes for performing the same duties standard or different? 
  • What training, tools, and technology has the Postal Service invested in for its employees for obtaining and growing knowledge about the organization? What processes are established that ensure a stable career path and structure that provides opportunity to grow and advance within the agency? 
  • What suggestions do you have for improving the transfer of knowledge or for developing/growing personnel to ensure the Postal Service maintains a knowledgeable group of people to lead the organization?
  • What, if any, concerns do you have with the Postal Service’s execution of the recent reductions-in-force due to the recent organizational realignment?

Comments (14)

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  • anon

    I was a rural carrier for almost 17 years. I was also an instructor at the Rural carrier academy. I recently resigned my position. We have not had a mail count in 5 years, prior to the Amazon growth and pandemic. My route continued to gain houses and developments. My rating was never adjusted no matter how many times I asked. I grew tired of putting in 50 hour weeks while being paid 41. Maybe if you took care of your people, you would still have an experienced carrier and instructor to pass on knowledge. Just a thought.

    Nov 09, 2021
  • anon

    The Postal Inspection Service and its office of counsel are two glaring examples of the lapses in institutional knowledge and experience that occur when leaders retire. The current leadership in both groups is pathetic. Former leadership at least had a grasp on the mixture of preventative measures and investigative work necessary to keep the postal system its its human capital safe and secure. Former leadership (chiefs, deputy chiefs, inspectors in charge and counsel) understood statutes, authorities, and policies in a manner that allowed for the Inspection Service to function in a manner which benefitted postal customers and employees and safeguarded the mails. Current leadership appears oblivious to all but its well-crafted image in the media. Quite frankly, in recent years, the Postal Inspection Service has gone from being a highly respected agency to a laughingstock among those who don’t fall for its highly-manipulated social media image.

    Nov 09, 2021
  • anon

    Thank you for your comment. If you'd be willing to provide more detail to the audit team, please reach out to OIG-BlogWebmaster@uspsoig.gov with "Knowledge Continuity 21-255" as the subject line and the audit team will reach out to you!

    Nov 17, 2021
  • anon

    Thank you for your comments, we will consider them when conducting the audit.

    Oct 25, 2021
  • anon

    We have 3 supervisors retiring in the next 3 months and two on the same tour. No effect to train anyone to take over or even 204b. I guess when they say your over staff there not worried about anything.

    Oct 24, 2021
  • anon

    In my 37 years with the post office I have seen a lot of changes. Leaving problems ignored does not solve them. Speaking of my area, the P&DC, just as the upper management has a daily meeting on the operations in each tour, I see a need for that same procedure within each operation. The workers can supply one another with valuable, useful information to handle problems or concerns that would correct a time consuming error. I feel if the employees, both old and new, was given information of where and why things have to be done a certain way, we could cut down on misdirected mail and correct many problems within that area. Too many employees assume they know how to effectively do their job only to find out they were instructed by a new employee or even worse a supervisor who really didn't know their self. Once your knowledgeable workers are gone, you have no choice but to "wing it". We need to combine our resources and tackle the problems that are hurting us. Putting a board up for comments is not solving anything. Hands on meetings where one can see that their input isn't been ignored. Actions speak louder then words! We, as a whole, are committed to doing a good job so why not work together. What we do is a reflection to our customers and we have all been there.

    Oct 22, 2021
  • anon

    My manager knew I was retiring for about a year in advance, it was not a secret but he never wanted me to teach anyone what I do, day to day. Besides the usual IT stuff, telecommunications was my strength and when I retired, the remaining ISS were never trained by me nor did my manager want me to train them. How can an organization survive without mentoring? My position should have been up for detail so I could have trained someone. No wonder the USPS is doing so poorly, no foresight in preparing for the future. In less than two years later, the manager retired too. We are a technical office, not everyone knows what we do as long as everything is running smoothly but once things go bad, you can just imagine....

    Oct 21, 2021
  • anon

    Yes valuable knowledge is lost but the USPS management does not treat all employees equally.

    Oct 21, 2021
  • anon

    our bmeu clerk retired and I was her backup. due to staffing prior to her retirement, I was not able to be cross-trained. with the continued staffing issues I have received limited training and have had limited time to put what training I have received to use.

    Oct 20, 2021
  • anon

    Its called Instituitional Knowledge. When an employee leaves the USPS, valuable knowledge and skills are lost, by the organization. Mentoring new employees is a must, but new employees are typically given a "sink or swim" chance when hired. Adequate "on the job training" is needed for new hires, that is provided by more tenured employees, to transmit instituitional knowledge to these new hires. Nepotism and cronyism do not help us either, as better candidates are bypassed when new hires or promotions occur. An entire book, could be written on nepotism and cronyism, in the USPS.

    Oct 19, 2021
  • anon

    As an employee who works with technical rules and issues, I have seen the seriousness of brain drain on USPS. Personnel are often not cross trained well enough to ensure that processes and knowledge is passed along. Far too many bid positions are senior bidder, not senior best qualified. A prime example of this is the Mailing Requirements Clerk or the Bulk Mail Technician position, you should have to be a Bulk Mail Clerk for a minimum of a year to be qualified for those positions. These positions often work with very large mailers and therefore lots of revenue can be easily lost because of inexperience on the clerk's part.

    Oct 19, 2021
  • anon

    Of course, critical knowledge is lost. It has been happening with every early out for the past 20 years. Seems like a waste of money that a study was needed to know this. And unfortunately, we don't recover from the previous one and one another one is offered.

    Oct 18, 2021
  • anon

    I believe there is a brain drain when people leave their position. There is not enough time in the day to mentor replacements. Do you have to rely on neighboring offices to give you pertinent information because no one at the district offices will reply to an email when you have a question

    Oct 18, 2021
  • anon

    IMO, no the USPS does NOT do enough to ensure that knowledge is transferred to employees and not lost. Example 1: In CFS, COA’s are handled by a couple of persons who are friends of management. When they HAPPEN to be off at the same time or on the same day, there is NO ONE to do the job until these folks return to work. Example 2: In CFS, Equipment is not properly maintained and keeps breaking down. Our assigned mechanic retired and there is NO ONE knowledgeable enough to keep them properly running. Some of the equipment has been down since he RETIRED. Example 3:: Everyone should be able to change THEIR own labels and ribbon but don’t know how. This knowledge is essential in keeping the equipment operational, yet some employees were not trained to do it. Example 4: Prepping mail for the unit. Almost NO ONE likes to do this job but everyone should be trained to do it. Instead, one employee volunteered to do the job so she can work the day shift. When she is absent there is no prepped mail to begin working. Side jobs then take preference over keeping new mail moving. Management’s opinion is that this unit’s mail is a free service offered and therefore not a priority. My question is, why offer it, then?!

    Oct 17, 2021

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