• on Sep 6th, 2010 in Labor | 99 comments
    What’s the best way to encourage good performance? Employers have always struggled with this question. One answer is to pay employees based on how well they perform their jobs. Many private sector employers have adopted pay-for-performance (PFP) programs, and several federal agencies have also experimented with PFP. Some federal PFP programs have operated successfully for many years; others have been more controversial. Last year, Congress terminated a PFP program at the Defense Department. Employees complained that the program was arbitrary and lacked transparency. Clearly, designing a successful PFP program is not always easy. The Postal Service adopted an annual PFP program in 2003. PFP is the only source of annual pay adjustments for Postal Service non-bargaining employees. Employees and their managers review targets and expectations at the beginning of the year. During the year, managers provide feedback to employees through mid-year performance reviews. Then, at the end of the year, employees receive a rating. For most employees, the rating is based on a combination of their individual accomplishments and how well certain targets have been met by the unit, district, area, or the Postal Service as a whole. The employee’s position determines the choice of targets included. For example, the rating for a postmaster of a small Post Office would be based on factors such as how well Post Offices in his or her group met revenue and expense targets and how well the district met delivery performance goals. The Postal Service’s PFP program has won awards and been cited by other organizations as a model to emulate, but there have been some criticisms. Some of the factors on which an employee is evaluated may be outside the employee’s immediate control. Given the Postal Service’s current financial condition and the drop in mail volume, it can be difficult for even high-performing employees to receive an increase. What do you think? What makes for a good system of rewarding performance? This topic is hosted by the OIG’s Risk Analysis Research Center (RARC). Please remember we do not post comments that contain vulgar language or include the names of individuals. See our Comment Policy for further information.
  • on Aug 30th, 2010 in Labor | 38 comments
    The Postal Service processes payroll for more than 500,000 employees. To handle this monumental task, time and attendance information is gathered through the Time and Attendance Collection System (TACS). TACS then transmits the payroll data to the mainframe run by the Information Technology and Accounting Service Center (ASC) in Eagan, MN, for payment processing. Recent news stories have identified a few instances where Postal Service employees have had time deleted from electronic time card records. There have also been other time and attendance instances where managers inaccurately calculated employee work hours for out–of-schedule work. If you are a Postal Service employee and are experiencing similar problems or any other time and attendance issues at your work place, we would like to hear from you. Please take our brief survey or provide comments below. This topic is hosted by the OIG's Human Resources and Security audit team.
  • on Aug 23rd, 2010 in Labor | 29 comments
    To encourage employees to contribute constructive ideas to enhance customer satisfaction, generate revenue, increase productivity, and improve competitiveness, the Postal Service offers the web-based eIDEAS program. Postal employees can submit ideas online or at a mail processing plant kiosk. The Office of Inspector General recently issued a management advisory report titled eIDEAS Timeliness and Transparency. The audit’s objective was to identify opportunities for the Postal Service to enhance the timeliness of the eIDEAS process and transparency of the resulting management actions. We found that eIDEAS reviews took far too long and management’s resulting actions were not transparent. Our survey of employees revealed that slow evaluations, poor management response, and lack of program transparency inhibited the program’s success. If you are a postal employee or a stakeholder, do you believe you have a way for your suggestions to be heard? Is eIDEAS the best way for employees to communicate their ideas? Whether you are a postal employee or not, do you believe there is a better way to encourage and gather employee input? If so, let us know in the comments section below. This topic is hosted by the OIG's Audit Engineering and Facilities team.