You hear a lot about employee engagement these days. Seems every organization will tell you it’s important, including the U.S. Postal Service.

But what exactly is employee engagement? Is it just a fancy name for morale? Partially it’s about morale. But engagement also encompasses professionalism, dedication, and pride in the mission. The idea is to have employees who are committed and motivated to do their best work.

USPS made employee engagement a top priority a couple of years ago and used the Postal Pulse survey as a way to evaluate it. In early 2016, a Human Resources team created eight engagement activities that included continuation of the Postal Pulse employee survey, action planning, training for managers and supervisors, employee engagement website and publications, and an awards program for those who contribute to an engaging workplace.

We recently assessed the Postal Service’s employee engagement activities. While we recognized that USPS has activities in progress and there can be lag time before they take effect, we identified opportunities to improve the execution of three specific activities: action planning; assessing employee comments on social media; and correlating employee engagement with business outcomes.

Our audit report noted that the number of managers and supervisors developing action plans for employees had declined from year to year, despite proof that development of an action plan generally doubled employee engagement. We recommended management make action plans mandatory ― not voluntary, as they are today.

We also found USPS did not monitor or respond to comments on employee-focused social media sites. We noted that best practices would have employers respond to comments to demonstrate that employees’ opinions matter.

Finally, we noted that strong employee engagement correlates with business outcomes, notably in some key areas for the Postal Service:

  • Timeliness of Standard Mail delivery, indicating districts with highly engaged employees delivered Standard Mail on-time at a greater percentage than those districts with low engagement.
  • Low staffing ratios (number of carriers assigned per route) and unscheduled leave occurrences, indicating districts with highly engaged employees accomplished work using fewer carriers per route and experienced less unscheduled leave.

What other improvements do you think could result from better employee engagement? What are the best ways to engage employees, in your opinion?

Comments (6)

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  • anon

    I think improvements in safety could result from safety captains having more access to training and being encouraged to be involved in any way that they can. Having more meaningful conversations revolving around safety could improve morale and potentially reduce on-the-job injuries by promoting more safety conscious employees.

    Nov 02, 2017
  • anon

    All prior comments are good....Now...If management would actually have working IOP's and MAPs, follow them and get the mail to its destination properly and timely, then employee engagement would go up...It's hard to feel engaged when you are daily scrambling to get the mail to our customers. Like the old saying goes...When you're up to your butt in alligators, it's hard to remember your primary mission was to drain the swamp. If it looks like middle management doesn't care, why would people below them care. OIG has done audit after audit across the U.S and cited problems getting mail to post offices timely and properly. Yet it appears nothing is ever done to rectify this. Silly questions do not improve engagement....results do.

    Oct 31, 2017
  • anon

    Organize activities at break and lunch time. not only employees can show their talent but also can improve productivities.

    Oct 25, 2017
  • anon

    I think their is a huge disconnect between what HQ wants and what actually happens in the local office. Management and the supervisor I have had contact with have no training on how to manage staff, yelling isn't going to make better workers. Their is little to none teamwork, it's all I have this much time left, or I don't want to have to be on a conference call. It's all me me me, and not how can we make this better as a team.

    Oct 23, 2017
  • anon

    Step 1. Regularly scheduled Service Talks. Step 2. At minimum one days notice of subject(s) of Service Talk.

    Oct 23, 2017
  • anon

    The best way to engage employees is actually listen to them. The workers know the work, so ask them how to make it better and more efficient. Harrassment is not the way to get the best out of workers. More work with less people never makes for efficient work.

    Oct 23, 2017

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