A few weeks ago, U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy unveiled a “tried and true” strategic plan calling for increases in prices and further reductions in service. The strategic plan was from the view of scarcity, cutting more services and workers to save resources.
I believe it is time to view the problems at the US Post Office through a new, creative lens where skills, talents, and solutions are abundant. Flexible work is one of those abundant resources.
New realities call for new solutions
Over the past year, I have watched and noticed a number of efforts to recruit new members to the US Post Office team. The notices keep appearing with little shift in reaching the necessary recruitment levels. Even though it says that there are a variety of schedules available, when I go to the USPS website, I found a long list of full-time jobs and only a smattering of part-time jobs. This may be part of the problem.
Let me suggest a new win-win approach to the US Post Office challenges.
Many companies have found that hiring older adults and using retired individuals to fill jobs has worked wonders, but it meant re-thinking the need for full-time position. The retired individuals work in shared positions or at high-demand/peak times. Numerous studies have shown increased productivity when using this model.
During the past US Census, I worked as one of the US Census representatives. The US Census allowed great flexibility in my work schedule; as well as the work schedules of my team members. Additionally, our US Census team achieved remarkably high numbers.
Flexible work means more people in the workforce
Not everyone can work a full-time schedule. For instance, parents, caregivers, and older adults may prefer part-time schedules and other kinds of flexible work. Creating new flexible work options could bring more people into the workforce, benefiting both individuals and employers, improving services, and diminishing the need for unemployment support.
My suggestion would be for Colorado to be a pilot site using this model for the US Post Office. After a 2–3-year pilot, Colorado could report their findings to the US Congress. There are success stories from private business to show the way. To do this, though, we need the political will to look for new solutions.
I know I am going to be reaching out to community leaders and legislators to see how far we can take this. Want to join me? Become a volunteer Change AGEnt with Changing the Narrative and add your voice.Together, we can let our leaders and communities know that they are missing out on a solution that benefits all ages!
Jim Westcott, guest blogger and enthusiastic Change AGEnt
(Read more about the business case for older workers.)
It only makes sense for the US Post Office (and other agencies, work places, no doubt) to break away from traditional methods of recruitment and seriously consider recruiting older Americans on a flexible basis.
Nailed it, Jim!
These creative flexible split shift Ideas have merit and may indeed be attractive to our older work force who don’t necessarily need a rich benefits package. However, I believe the first order of business for the USPS should be the replacement of Louis Dejoy with a qualified Post Master General!
Great idea! I concur and not only will it benefit them financially it also provides an socialization opportunity.
Great idea, Jim. Our older adults are still in their prime and could use increase purpose in their lives. You’re just the guy to get it going.
Yes, us oldsters are still an untapped resource. Plus, many of us take great care in our work and responsibility for our actions.
The drawback is when you have a business that is based totally on productivity measured by understaffed needs and not on accuracy. Where you are a machine rather than a person.
You set reasonable expectations on getting a job done, provide the necessary resources, have enough staffing to cover problems that may develop.
Like the postal service: carrier routes are becoming huge. People aren’t home to receive packages. Carriers are often timed. In-doors, they have self-service machines, but 9 out of 10 times people need help with them, or so it seems. And the more they raise basic postage, the more they drive away the bread-and-butter that once was their industry, the simple-sized letter. Which they originally were made to service and deliver with care and ease.