Few businesses are happy when employee turnover is high. It’s usually a sign of lackluster employee engagement, and it’s expensive to hire and train new workers. Keeping an eye on employee turnover rates and what may be causing them to rise is generally a good business practice.
We recently looked at the U.S. Postal Service’s effectiveness in reducing turnover for a particular class of worker – non-career employees – and evaluating the underlying reasons for the turnover. Non-career employees are temporary workers who don’t receive the same benefits as career employees, and they’re not always guaranteed a set schedule. The Postal Service hires non-career employees not only to supplement its regular workforce, but also to provide greater scheduling flexibility and reduce staffing costs.
Management estimated USPS saved about $8 billion in labor costs from fiscal years 2016 to 2019 by using non-career employees. The good news is non-career turnover decreased from 42.8 percent in 2016 to 38.5 percent in 2019. However, that still exceeded the Postal Service’s 2019 target rate for non-career turnover of 34.08 percent.
We also found that USPS didn’t measure the cost-savings associated with reducing non-career employee turnover. Moreover, management hasn’t developed a single, national strategic plan for recruiting, hiring, and retaining non-career employees.
The three top reasons for leaving that non-career employees cited in exit surveys were inflexible schedules, physical demands, and dislike of supervisors. While management said it paid attention to exit surveys, we found there was little effective follow-up on addressing concerns.
We made two recommendations: Management should develop a national strategic plan for recruiting, hiring, and retaining non-career employees, and it should also measure cost-savings associated with reducing non-career employee turnover.
What do you think the Postal Service could do to lessen turnover of non-career employees? Tell us in the comment section below.