Reaching out

Merchant peering out door of storefront

USPS is emphasizing the role Post Office leaders play in helping their local businesses.

The organization has designated August as Business Connect Month to celebrate the Business Connect sales leads program, which is a way for Postmasters, managers and supervisors to initiate discussions with customers about USPS products and services.

“With businesses trying to come back from the pandemic, this is the perfect time for Postmasters and customer services managers and supervisors to check in with their local businesses and let them know that we are here to help them,” said Lou DeRienzo, small-business senior sales specialist at USPS headquarters in Washington, DC.

Offices were emailed materials to help them reach out to local businesses and about holding virtual events to comply with social distancing requirements, he said.

Since its inception in 2005, the Business Connect program has generated more than $3.95 billion in new estimated annualized revenue, including more than $315 million for the current fiscal year.

This year’s Business Connect revenue is counted toward the Postal Service’s Race for a $Billion campaign goal.

The initiative — which is at $949 million, according to a July 30 ranking of all district contributions — aims to raise $1 billion through employee-provided sales leads before the fiscal year ends Sept. 30.

“Our local managers have the opportunity to make a difference for their business customers,” said Mary Anderson, small-business engagement director at USPS headquarters. “They can help Main Street USA revive and thrive. And that’s good for our bottom line.”

The Sales Blue page has more information about Business Connect and the Postal Service’s other lead-sharing programs, which include Clerks Care, Customer Connect, Mail Handlers, Rural Reach and Submit a Lead.

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Becoming better

The Postal Pulse employee survey is a tool to help USPS become a better place to work.

How does the survey do this?

Here’s what you should know:

• The Postal Pulse measures employee engagement. This term refers to employees’ overall approach to their work, including their involvement, enthusiasm and commitment.

The Postal Service has made engagement a core strategy because research shows that employees who feel engaged deliver better customer service, have better attendance rates and work safer.

• The survey questions are designed to produce useful information. The Postal Pulse consists of 14 questions that aim to produce insightful data that USPS can use to make workplace changes and improvements.

The first 12 questions were designed by experts at Gallup, the research organization that conducts the survey on the Postal Service’s behalf.

USPS also asks a 13th question about overall job satisfaction, and in 2020, the organization will add a 14th question to determine how many employees are meeting one-on-one with their immediate supervisors to discuss their workplace needs.

The survey also has a comments box that allows you to provide feedback in your own words, in addition to measuring the level of engagement in your environment through your responses to the 14 questions.

• The Postal Pulse is more important than ever. The coronavirus pandemic has affected how you work — and USPS wants to know what you need to feel supported and how to engage, equip and empower you.

This is the first of five articles on the Postal Pulse employee survey, which is being administered from Aug. 4-Sept. 4. Next: Explaining the survey’s “best friend” question.

Know the signs

If you or a co-worker were experiencing a heat-related illness, would you recognize the symptoms?

The Postal Service is reminding employees that two of the most common illnesses are heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Heat exhaustion symptoms include cool, moist skin; heavy sweating; headache; nausea or vomiting; dizziness; light headedness; weakness; thirst; irritability; and a fast heartbeat.

Here are first-aid guidelines for people who experience heat exhaustion: Call 911; sit or lie down in a cool, shaded area; drink plenty of water or other cool beverages; use cool compresses or ice packs if available; and do not return to work that day.

Heat stroke symptoms include confusion; fainting; seizures; excessive sweating or red, hot, dry skin; and a very high body temperature.

Here are first-aid guidelines for people who experience heat stroke: Call 911; rest in a shaded, cool area; loosen clothes; remove outer clothing; use a fan and place cold packs under armpits if available; wet clothing with cool water; apply ice packs, cool compresses or ice if available; drink water or other fluids as soon as possible; and stay with the victim until help arrives.

The Postal Service also wants employees to take proactive steps to avoid heat-related illnesses, including:

• Hydrate before, during and after work. Drink at least 8 ounces of water every 20 minutes.

• Dress appropriately for the weather. On warm days, wear light-colored, loose-fitting and breathable clothing to keep your body temperature down.

• If you experience discomfort while wearing a face covering, remove it until the discomfort ceases. However, you should continue to practice social distancing when you come into contact with others.

• Use the shade to stay cool. When possible, use shaded areas to stay out of direct sunlight.

The Safety Blue page has more information.

Share your feedback at Your comments could be included in the “Mailbag” column.