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.

Comments (76)

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  • anon

    After 33 years l have seen the carrier craft get worse and worse. Most caused buy Washington and Reginal managers that are making unrealistic demands that cause the abuse . These folks care about nothing but bonus checks and know they are never going to be questioned. Also Amozon caused a lot of management problems and over worked carriers. Good luck to the newer employees.

    Feb 26, 2020
  • anon

    The biggest problem is the lack of respect, on both parts. CCA personel expect respect to be earned, and supervisor/management demand respect regaurdless of their actions. It is hard to follow someone if they are not respectable, accountable, and knowledgeable. If work assignments do not flow as expected the blame is placed onto the carrier or clerk. Supervison dose not own their lack of knowledge or physical demands on the class below them. I have heard numerous supervison staff referred to people as just carriers, CCAs, or clerks. These comments were not made by a single supervior, but by most I have worked with. The only aspect that managment is concerned with is time even though they will work you 7 days a weeks and not understand why you need a day off. I have been asked to reschedule medical appointments and planned trips so I coukd work instead. To corrwct this these and many other issues within the postal system, I would suggest a deeper management training system. Expand on interpersonal relations, green and yellow belt training, route cause analysis, and trend analysis. The green and yellow belt projects can be worked by both supervision and suborninate teams with management oversight. Management can work on black belt projects with district oversight. I would strongly suggest that all supervisors and managers read The Toyota Way. It is the bases of most modern manufacturing. We must work as a team with a respect for eachother's assigned responsibilities. Right now it is just a blame game and a disrespectful game at that.

    Feb 25, 2020
  • anon

    Management is the main problem!!! Unqualified and poorly trained to supervise. The majority truly do not know what they are doing, and therefore hide their ignorance by being mean and nasty to the descent employees they are tasked to supervise. Employees have to work to make a living, so they have to tolerate this sick behavior. Supervisors are all trying to move up, so they will make more money and have a higher 3 years earnings at their retirement. A postmaster makes way too much money. Most of the time they leave early, or are at the District in a meeting. All upper management in the District, Area, and Washington are way over paid too. No one speaks up because they are all making more money than they should be paid. Employers, not just the Postal Service want to pay the workers who do the real work so much less for their work. Management paid so much more. Modern day slavery. America wake up, don't let employers pay people so little for their work. When a business pays their employees so little, then WE ALL PAY THE PRICE! HIGER TAXES! Those workers earning so little then have to apply for public welfare. Make employers pay a fair living wage!!!

    Feb 25, 2020
  • anon

    I feel that a major problem is that the bad employees are allowed to do whatever they want with no repercussions and the good workers have to pick up their slack with no recognition. If I didn't have 22 years in I would have quit too. In our office we have a PSE who admitted she would sleep on the clock when no one else was in the building and instead of disciplining her they just changed the schedule so that I had to come in at that time instead of her because she can not be trusted to work unsupervised. That is also the reason I, a career employee with 22 years seniority, have to work every holiday instead of the PSE who has just over a year in. Why would anyone deal with that when they could go to almost any factory and make almost the same pay as these non-career employees make?

    Feb 25, 2020
  • anon

    Management plain and simple. For the love of god make them accountable for there hours and what they do all day. Make sure you hire compassionate people who actually give a damn about the employees they are in charge of.. everyday I could show you numerous managers wasting time and money not being productive. There are so many level 18 offices that should be made into a RMPO office for a ntft clerk to run you would be saving money across the board your paying a pm and a clerk for what just a clerk can do. Cut out some management you would start saving money. As far as how to keep Employees regardless of the position start with cleaning up management.

    Feb 25, 2020
  • anon

    The whole idea of PSE, MHA etc as a path to career has been a failure. Go back to casuals and new hires brought on as PTFs

    Feb 25, 2020
  • anon

    took the buyout in 2013 so maybe things have changed but the culture at my station was toxic. We got used to it but it took a new hire to open our eyes. Function 4 came in and his supervisor told him not to talk to them except to answer a direct question. He could not believe a adult would instruct another adult not to talk to fellow employees the new hire left soon after. He said in his other jobs no one treated him as a child.

    Feb 25, 2020
  • anon

    Simple... PSE's are treated like crap! Your schedule for the week starts at 0700, next day 11am, then 3pm, 7pm then 11pm. Some do more than one start time like this a week. Management treats them like slave labor, not humans. Some have worked for 3+ years and even though they are working 36-40 a week, management will not convert to FTR unless it is a residual vacancy. No opportunity to invest from retirement.

    Feb 25, 2020
  • anon

    I'm in the clerk craft, and from my view, the reasons are obvious; As a PSE, you're hired and thrown into the fray with limited training because the excessive cuts in staffing mean no one has the time to really show you the ropes the way an effective training plan would and should; You'r often met with a cold shoulder from seasoned regular employees who often are burnt out themselves because of the frantic pace they're operating under. Communication from management is severely lacking. You don't know what hours you're working, what day off you're getting - if any -and your schedule is on the fly and last minute. You're given ridiculous split shifts that preclude any family time. You plan for time off and it's changed at the last minute. You're asked to drive all over your area and bail out different stations, using your own vehicle and gas in most cases. Management treats you differently from regular employees, even though we are all under the same contract. When you go to work at an area different from your base, you sometimes face criticism or antagonism because you've never been shown how to do something they take for granted, or were shown differently. Now for CCA carriers, I can't speak for with the same authority, but from my view as a distribution clerk, it seems they face the same issues.

    Feb 25, 2020
  • anon

    After 33 years of service with the PO I can state that non career employees are treated in such ways that most of the turnovers leave within the first week or so. Management places unrealistic and unachievable goals upon these workers. This is why we see mail being lost and dumped nationwide. Training if any is minimal. Hours of work and days off change week to week. Working in numerous districts I have seen the turnover rate reach 60%. It is quite obvious there is a systematic problem within the PO. I believe that the issues start with the lack of "caring" shown by management and an attitude of "the next one is lined up for a job so who cares if this one leaves."

    Feb 25, 2020
  • anon

    We have lost many good cca employees because of dysfunctional supervision in Phoenix. They are rude to the new employees and refuse to work with their schedules even once in a while.

    Feb 25, 2020
  • anon

    I've been working for the Post Office for almost 4 year I never had a problem until we have a new supervisor and postmaster they every week they say something to me they make me feel like I'm stupid and I get so depressed I cry all day long at work they are related they are cousins I got hurt at work and now they do not want to continue playing me but what kind of still pays my bill and pay my medicine I have never work for a job that treat their employees he's so bad and I really think that my postmaster and supervisor do not like black people they really go hard on the black employees what should we do

    Feb 25, 2020
  • anon

    Hi Kim, Sorry for your situation. For employee misconduct, we recommend filing an online complaint with our Hotline. You can access the online complaint form at www.uspsoig.gov/form/file-online-complaint.

    Mar 03, 2020
  • anon

    Hold supervisors accountable for transgressions. As is supervision literally breaks the contract and some laws and employees are left with no working avenue for justice. Hence the cause of the majority of the overwhelmingly high comments about toxic environment.

    Feb 25, 2020
  • anon

    Maybe if usps did better at hiring competent managers and post masters instead of racist, narcissistic or flat out brainless fools, usps could function properly. when management is putting blame on employees instead of their own poor planning and refusing to accept fault where fault is due, you get employees fed up with overpaid morons who couldn't run a route if their lives depended on. Everyone has a breaking point and these pathetically run post offices don't seem to grasp that. Union stewards are no better so thats zero help. Why doesn't USPS quit running their mouths and start doing something, start from the top and work down. By the way Northwest Florida needs a major overhauling!

    Feb 25, 2020
  • anon

    I worked for the main post office in Reno, NV for 6 months in 2002. The supervisors would wait until your supervisor wasn't around and then would order us to go to their area and have us work there. Then, our supervisor would come over and take us back to the original area. It was awful because it was a constant tug of war and we were in the middle of it. It was like 2 or 3 children fighting over a toy. Most unprofessional situation I ever worked in. Couldn't wait to get out of there every day! The joke that the longtime employees told us was "if you want to be promoted to supervisor don't do any work. Just stand around every shift". During my time there I watched one lazy bum get promoted and realized that what the longtimers said was a true.

    Feb 25, 2020
  • anon

    Fixed Schedule. The temp to hire/flexibility aspect caused much strife in my personal life. I believe it caused my wife to file for divorce. There hasn’t been a huge change in converting from CCA to CC either. Still long hours, uncertain schedule with the frequent mandated work on the scheduled day off w/little to no notice, and the heavy work loads/long routes/forced overtime which is causing even newly converted Assistant carriers to quit. The long routes, heavy volume and inconsistent aspects of our craft is not only an issue with employee satisfaction and retention in my opinion but also in customer satisfaction as well. The clerks/mail handlers aren’t making the carrier job/craft easier either. I spend a lot of time fixing their mistakes, and handling the same piece of mail 3 & 4 times despite having the proper endorsement on it. There seems to be no unity or accountability between the various crafts and mgmt. MGMT also seems to stretched thin as well as under qualified in my opinion. Having managed logistics in the past, I understand the ins and outs, so I will give the benefit of the doubt and say station mgmt is stretched thin 1st, and under qualified 2nd, but it’s probably a culmination of the two.

    Feb 25, 2020
  • anon

    Hi Jason, Thank you for the feedback. As noted in our report, the lack of schedule flexibility was the top reason non-career employees left the Postal Service according to the employee exit survey.

    Mar 03, 2020
  • anon

    What do you think the Postal Service could do to lessen turnover of non-career employees? Ummm, that's an excellent question. However, it is very frustrating to know the USPS only cares about numbers and has forgotten completely about customer service, customer satisfaction and care of it's own employees. Very specifically those who produce and help them achieve those pretty numbers Management is always after. But let's go back to the original question. 1) Convert non career employees based on time served and definitively not based on RELATIVE STANDING. That's shameful and disrespectful towards thousands of us across the country. There are many of us that have move around offices to avoid distance, traffic, be closer home or getting into a bigger office to increase the chances of becoming a regular carrier. Every time the system converts a rookie into a regular carrier is disrespectful to other carriers that have been City Carrier Assistants (CCA) for years. Some of them close to 7 years waiting, but because they move offices do not meet the tedious "relative standing" attached to the scarce Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) the have come out over the years. That relative standing criteria is made with premeditation and treachery to convert the few as possible. 2) Develop a system where CCAs are treated equally and more humanely. In most offices CCAs are mistreated, pushed, bullied and humiliated by regular Carriers even though they work double or triple than their counterparts. 3) Develop a well thought plan where CCAs get converted based on hours worked during a certain period of time. Many of us have been working 40ish to 60ish hrs weekly during years and continue to be overlooked for convertions. 4) Develop a way where senior carriers have to set the example for others. I have seen many great senior Carriers that work hard to earn their income while have seen others that behave like leeches or vultures feeding on the Federal carcass doing as little as possible while manipulating the system (sometimes they join the Union to ensure they do as little as they can while been 0% Supervised). 5) Develop a system to ensure those appointed to Supervisor positions have earned those stripes correctly and rightfully. There is something called nepotism, Freemasonry and Military clicks. That happens a lot in the USPS. Those willing to joing the Management Ranks should pass sort of a board or be selected/appointed/interviewed by someone from a different state. Even better, do a one on one interviews with peers from their office. They'll be able to tell you the click that person belongs to and/or if that person deserves to be appointed to a Supervisory position. 6) Ensure Supervisors (Management) are not related to local Union Officials in any way, shape or form. You'll be surprised how close those Union officials are to some members of Management. Some have served in the military together, are serving together or even belong to the same Unit, Company, Platoon, etc. Some Postal Supervisors are junior in the military side than people they supervise in the civilian sector. Do you think any grievance is gonna come to fruition? 7) Ensure NALC Chapters Leadership set the example for others at their work place. What I mean by that is to follow the M-41 to the dot and serve as a model/inspiration for others to become. Is painful to watch some members of those local Chapters are the laziest pieces of their offices and all of the sudden are Delegates, Stewards and even Presidents of their local chapters. 8) This is not a Monarchy. Ensure and enforce a strict rule that prohibits NALC Presidents to appoint their sons to inherit that position. Sorry, but if your dad/mom were NALC/APWU President before you, that automatically disqualifies you to became the same in the future. 9) Ensure Management have served appropriately and skillfully as 204Bs in the past. I have seen great CCAs turned great 204Bs and been jumped over by lousy members of certain clicks and those gotten appointed while the 204Bs decides to quit the USPS because they can't handle the system. 10) Ensure/enforce those regular carriers in the 12 hr OT list MUST help into any available route and not only their route or a convenient route. Basically measure every employee with the same rule or apply rules fairly. When non career employees notice they are being run over by managers while certain employees (specifically many Union officials) are treated nicely they tend to dislike the already hard job. 11) Obliged Management to post available routes immediately. I personally know about post offices hiding vacancies everyone know they exist because they have certain "special arrangements" with Union officials. Therefore, they delay the convertion process deliberately while the Union turn their heads to the other side. That's a non career employee killer too. 12) Last but not least drill into Management heads this: "Nothing will kill a great employee faster than watching you tolerate a bad one".

    Feb 24, 2020
  • anon

    Thank you for the feedback/ideas to reduce turnover.

    Mar 03, 2020
  • anon

    I worked for over 20 years as a mail carrier. Initially supervisors pressure the mail carriers to work fast. They overlook safety and they also violate the Fair Labor and Standard Act by telling workers not to take breaks. The USPS also violates the 30 minute lunch by making carriers start the lunch time when they leave their mail route to go to lunch even though their work station is the vehicle. The abuse and misuse of procedures are too numerous to state.

    Feb 24, 2020
  • anon

    It seems to me it's management through and through. At my post office, I had the displeasure of a manager (who lies every time I have the unfortunate need to speak to him) saying his carriers were illiterate & in 2 cases, it sounded racist to me. And when the next day the manager didn't do as he said he would and got caught in his lie twice already, he turned on me and let the carrier who he previously called illiterate mistreat me in his presence. When I asked him why he would allow an employee to talk to me that way, he said he gives his carriers a chance to defend themselves! I have a witness who saw this too. And other customers on both occasions. So if many managers are like the one mentioned above, it's pretty clear to me that management is to blame - pitting people against each other when they are actually to blame. Supervisors also shouldn't receive bonuses for their quota because as I can see even from an outsider perspective, they just treat employees badly while the employees do all the work and yet the supervisor gets the bonus? And the employees get ALL the customer complaints when management is the one doing the wrong. I have physical proof of management letting a parcel of mine sit for over a month (it was a new tracking company overseas that gave full tracking and USPS wasn't aware) and as soon as I finally complained, management went in and "cooked" the tracking to save face and then delivered my parcel a few days later. No one but management could do this. And I'm sure, as the fellow in this comment section mentioned, that there are some good supervisors out there, based on current affairs and news coverage of USPS employees telling Americans the truth about supervisor behaviors, it seems most USPS supervisors are corrupt, greedy, nasty and rude. At my post office, I can readily agree. I feel bad for the "regular" USPS workers - they don't get enough respect and their supervisors treat them like work-horses. Yes, it's time for a change. And I think if the USA government would give proper funding and if Management's undeserved bonuses were instead used to hire more employees, things would improve tenfold. Instead, supervisors get bonuses and don't even care about their employees OR the American public their supposed to be serving. It's just ugly. I also think the manager at my post office should've been fired because I did indeed report him for his comments and NOTHING happened and to this day he is still playing games with people's mail. I know many of the nice workers at my local post office, and even ones I had issue with before improved & now I enjoy speaking to them. The only one who hasn't tried at all - you guessed it - the supervisor! You can tell from both of my local supervisors' attitudes that they feel above EVERYONE - their workers, the customers, even each other. And based on this, as well as the disrespect towards the very customers that they are getting paid to assist, and their doing hardly any work but reaping the majority of the profits, and using enslavement of their employees to get their bonuses, I think the politics at large in the white House are being microscopically employed in the USPS sphere. I thank all the workers at USPS for dealing with such a heavy volume of mail with such mean-spirited supervisors. The very setup of bonuses is flawed and should be the very first thing that goes - because if only a few receive it and they don't even do the work, how is that fair?

    Feb 24, 2020
  • anon

    Hello, Maria. Thank you for your comment. For employee misconduct, we recommend filing an online complaint with our Hotline. You can access the online complaint form at www.uspsoig.gov/form/file-online-complaint.

    Feb 26, 2020
  • anon

    I was a career federal postal employee. After putting up with lousy survivor's for 3 years, I transferred to the Dept of Housing and Urban Development. I worked in Longview, Texas. I was a distribution clerk, rock supervisor, and letter sitting machines. For inexperienced employees, the letter sitting machines which required knowing city scheme and very physically demanding. For a new person handling 2 letter sitting machines on your own was too much. Also, the older more experienced worker's would bully you. The survivor's would get extra pay for getting more mail processes and out. The common worker worked hard to get the mail processes and out, but received no bonuses. This happened i the years of 1988-1991. The supervisors would constantly ride your back and constantly clapping hands. I had been there for 2 years, and a female employee just getting out of the Navy, was made a supervisor 6 months later. Get supervisory skills which were none was like a dictator. Some of the survivor's employee pets, would get special jobs to work at. After 3 years of watching and working under these dictatorship supervisor's, I left for better working atmospheres.

    Feb 24, 2020
  • anon

    Your experience has been well documented in the press recently by fellow USPS employees and retirees, so your not alone! And us customers see it too, don't you worry. We know it's management. Thank you for your service for those years - it's obviously a very hard job that deserves more props! America is getting too slavish in it's employment practices and Americans are losing their freedoms because the way the system is setup. And it's clear that this fast-paced American way is only working for the higher-ups of the country, not for the general population. Things need to change in our country so Americans have a real quality of life. E.g. I spent my "best" years working away and not fully enjoying life, and now that my health is totally deteriorated, I can no longer enjoy the majority of my life as each day is torture (and in my best days my health wasn't that good to begin with) - it just makes me realize that there needs to be more of a balance between work and leisure in America, but more and more "management" makes it impossible for the majority of Americans to even stop to smell the roses until they no longer do so. It's very sad because we only get one life - and why should it be struggling and striving only to remain working tirelessly away for an "elect" (arguably) few? Sorry for the rant but your post just really made me upset because that's the general experience of USPS workers and it's not right! And after working so hard, now they have Trump and the GOP trying to take away their jobs just so they can make even more money! It's all greed, all evil and we as a society need to stop it before it's too late!

    Feb 24, 2020
  • anon

    My poster carrier is the greatest, she treat all is seniors with courtesy and respect, although many heavy packs comes in for me every 2rd of every month...we would give her up for anyone..thank you and God bless

    Feb 24, 2020

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