Objective

Our objective was to assess the Postal Service’s effectiveness in reducing non-career employee turnover and evaluate underlying reasons for non-career employee turnover.

The Postal Service hires non-career employees to supplement its regular workforce and reduce staffing costs. Non-career employees are temporary workers who do not receive the same employee benefits as career employees, are not always guaranteed a set schedule, and can work from one to seven days per week. In fiscal year (FY) 2019, the Postal Service had about 136,000 non career employees which represented about 21 percent of its 633,000 employees.

The Postal Service has four non-career employee labor designations or crafts:

  ■ Mail handler assistant position — unloads and moves mail in plants.

  ■ Postal support employee position — processes mail and sells postage at post offices.

  ■ City carrier assistant position — delivers mail on designated city routes.

  ■ Rural carrier associate position — delivers mail on rural routes.

The Postal Service establishes a non-career employee turnover goal as part of its annual National Performance Assessment (NPA). This goal is used to measure non-career employee turnover to help reduce the Postal Service’s cost of training non-career employees. In FY 2019, the goal was 34.08 percent.

We conducted site visits at 14 district offices, 12 post offices, and two processing and distribution centers (P&DC). These visits represented all seven Postal Service areas and included sites with higher and lower unemployment and non-career employee turnover rates.

Findings

Over the last four years, Postal Service Human Resources Headquarters (HR‑HQ) management took actions to reduce non-career employee turnover. Although the annual turnover decreased from 42.8 percent in FY 2016 to 38.5 percent in FY 2019, it still exceeded the NPA goal of 34.8 percent in FY 2016 and 34.08 percent in FY 2019. Also, the FY 2019 turnover rate exceeded the FYs 2017 and 2018 rates. In FY 2019, the city carrier assistant positions had the highest turnover at 45.8 percent while the postal support employee positions had the lowest turnover at 34.4 percent.

To meet the FYs 2018 and 2019 34.08 percent NPA non-career employee turnover goals, the Postal Service would have had to retain almost 3,000 more non‑career employees in FY 2018 and almost 5,900 more non‑career employees in FY 2019. We calculated this would have reduced the cost of onboarding and training by about $4.1 million in FY 2018 and about $9.6 million in FY 2019 based on management’s estimate of total onboarding and training costs.

Management estimated the Postal Service saved about $8 billion in labor cost from FYs 2016 to 2019 by employing non-career employees. However, they did not measure the cost savings associated with the NPA non-career employee turnover performance. On average in FY 2019, non-career employees who left, worked for the Postal Service for about 81 days. Measuring the potential cost savings associated with reducing non-career employee turnover would help ensure management focuses on improvement.

Also, non-career employee turnover could be improved if HR-HQ management developed a single comprehensive strategic plan for recruiting, hiring, and retaining non-career employees. HR-HQ management developed individual strategies to assist in non-career employee retention at the local level. The strategies included developing engagement training for all employees and revising onboarding training to better address the needs of new non‑career employees.

However, during our site visits, we found inconsistent application of HR‑HQ strategies. Specifically, at seven of the 14 district offices and four of the 14 facilities we visited, management said they had not received training on retaining non-career employees.

Because HR-HQ management did not develop a single comprehensive national strategic plan for recruiting, hiring, and retaining non-career employees of all four crafts, districts developed local strategies to help reduce non-career employee turnover. We found the following examples of local strategies at the 14 districts we visited to help reduce turnover.

  • At 11 district offices, management said they required managers to obtain district office approval prior to terminating non-career employees. They did this to ensure non-career employees received performance feedback and were allowed an opportunity to improve their performance before being terminated.
  • One district office created managerial policies and procedures for onboarding and training non-career employees. The managers were required to certify completion of the procedures.
  • One district office required managers to personally greet new non-career employees, take them on a tour of the facility, and introduce them to other staff when they arrived at the facility.
  • One district office provided refresher training to all non-career employees after their first 60 days on the job.

These strategies could be incorporated into a comprehensive strategic plan for all districts to follow.

We also found that HR-HQ personnel e-mailed a voluntary exit survey to non‑career employees who left the Postal Service and made summary results available to local management with access to the Postal Service’s information technology network. From FY 2016 to June 30, 2019, about 28 percent of the non-career employees responded to the exit survey. In FY 2016, the survey’s top two reasons for non-career employees leaving the Postal Service were “Lack of Schedule Flexibility” and “Physical Demands”. From FY 2017 to June 30, 2019, the top two reasons were “Lack of Schedule Flexibility” and “Didn’t Like Supervisor”.

Management at 10 of the 14 district offices we visited were aware of the voluntary non-career employee exit survey and six of the 10 district offices said they used the results to improve non-career employee turnover. However, they were not provided any guidance on how to use the data. We also found that six district offices said they performed their own exit surveys.

HR-HQ management said they monitored the reasons for non-career employees leaving the Postal Service and used the data to deploy strategies to address them. However, they had not established any nationwide processes to ensure non-career employee exit survey results were reviewed by district office personnel and appropriate corrective action plans were developed. Establishing a nationwide policy on use of this exit survey information would better enable effective and consistent actions to address non-career employee turnover.

A comprehensive national strategic plan and procedures would help ensure management consistently focuses on reducing non-career employee turnover, provides better oversight, and ensures best practices and feedback is shared.

Recommendations

We recommended HQ-HR management:

  • Measure the cost savings associated with the NPA non-career employee turnover performance.
  • Develop a comprehensive non-career employee national turnover strategic plan and procedures to provide more effective management oversight. The plan and procedures should focus on achieving measurable results to reduce non-career employee turnover at the local level by developing action plans to address exit survey results and implement district best practices nationwide.

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Comments (29)

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  • anon

    in my office we have 17 rural routes and 4 RCA's.... we have more supervisors than subs.....

    Jun 22, 2020
  • anon

    The post office needs to be upfront about what exactly they’re hiring a person for. I’m a PSE, and yes I saw that the job description said you COULD work a lot basically, but I’m usually working 6 days a week, 10+ hours a day. When I asked about the schedule before accepting the position, I was told it wasn’t even going to be a 40 hour a week job. I’ve got “regulars” telling me I need to do more work, while they’re sitting around playing candy crush and Pokémon go on their phone. If you’re really worried about non career turnover you’ve got to change the work hours/schedule. You can’t just abuse people and overwork them like this. Why do I need to work 3 times as hard as other people and not receive any of the benefits? I can’t even be guaranteed to have the job after a year of putting in extreme hard work.

    Jun 21, 2020
  • anon

    This pandemic is a real eye opener as to how little us non-career employees are valued. Many of us have worked several hours for free due to the longer hours from the unusually heavy parcel volume through no fault of our own. It's a shame we're doing so much to help and not being paid fairly in return. I've heard many regulars complain about hazard pay. I'd be happy just breaking even for the hours I put in. Heck even being credited a couple days off with pay would be fair. Wouldn't be a bad idea that we get something at our one year mark too. Give us something to look forward to. I also couldn't agree more on have good managers. Thankfully I started at the right time with a GREAT postmaster who was stern but 100% knew what he was doing. He moved up from inside that post office and was an amazing manager. Now he's retiring and a new PM has no clue about anything in our office is trying to change things and causing major fundamental issues in the process. He's bad with his people skills and often wrong about many policies. I'm not sure I would have stayed if this was who I had to deal with from the beginning. Sure hope someone else wins the bid and people above him can see things are starting to fall apart in the office before he's even landed the bid.

    Jun 20, 2020
  • anon

    My issue as a current CCA is lack of choices. We are forced to work overtime that some of us don’t want. We don’t get sick leave. We don’t have a reliable schedule. Hell, my supervisors have started scheduling me for every single day and only giving me a day off when they “think they’ll have it covered.” If USPS wants to retain new hires, they have to start treating us like people. We aren’t robots nor are we superhuman.

    Jun 19, 2020
  • anon

    One of my biggest issues as an RCA is being mandated to work Sundays and Holidays to deliver Amazon for some other office (none of the packages are for our area, so its not helping our office any) and not being given a choice, even if I've been working the other 6 days a week at my own office. Why am I mandated to go help out another office when our own office is short staffed? Getting mandated to work Sundays at a different office when I've been working a regular schedule at my own office should not be happening, and other offices should not be allowed to put someone else's employees on their schedule without clearing it with that employee and their postmaster.

    Jun 18, 2020
  • anon

    I was CCA for a little over a year. I did my best to stick it out until I could make regular but I just couldn't take it anymore. We CCAs, at least in my area, were lucky to get 3 or 4 days off a month. I never called out for an entire year and was only late maybe twice due to construction and accidents that were unforeseen. I have a strong work ethic and gave it my all every day rain, snow or shine. The problem is they work you to death, even for someone with my work ethic it was too much. Regulars who are making twice as much to the SAME job bring back two or more hours worth of work that you then have to pick up the slack for after doing an entire route yourself in the same amount of time. Sometimes your scheduled the next day off and they wait until your on your way out the door to tell you that you have to report to work on your day off in a town you've never even been to before to do an entire route because a regular got hurt or called out. I was constantly working 9-12 days in a row. One time the Plume called to ask the post master why I was working so many days in a row and I heard him tell the plume that it was unexpected because of a call out when it was a straight up lie because they had penciled me into the schedule in another office the week before. There were nights we CCAs were out until like 8:00 pm wandering around in the dark in cities we had never even driven through trying to finish the routes that the regulars left 2+ hours of lifts on just because they could all while getting all the benefits we weren't getting and twice the pay we made. The biggest reason for turn over is being treated little better than an animal that they work until you drop and then just find another animal to take over where you fell. You don't need to do a lot of research and data studies and compiling of stats and lists, I can tell you right now plain and simple why there is so much turn over. If I had simply had two days off a week to spend with my family I would still be employed by USPS, it's as simple as that. Seeing the regulars get away with murder while making all the money and getting all the benefits we don't while not only doing the same job but picking up all their slack all while being worked 12 days in a row until they legally need to give us a day off is why the turn over is so high. I would love to go back if things ever changed for the better but unfortunately the post office just wants to keep doing business as usual and pretending that the problem lies somewhere else instead of being honest with themselves and making the real changes that are needed to make itself successful.

    Jun 13, 2020
  • anon

    Unfortunately I was fired from the us postal service two days ago. I loved my job. Management was always rude to me and I'm a very nice person. During my 30 day review even though I had been there two months, my supervisor said I was unsatisfactory across the board and only judged me off one day I was late returning to the station due to a spider bite which I had documentation for, so my foot was hurting all day. Other than that I always returned within the time frames they gave me that in my opinion were not fair.

    Jun 11, 2020
  • anon

    Hello Danielle. Thank you for your message. Regarding your concern, we recommend you contact our Hotline at www.uspsoig.gov/form/file-online-complaint

    Jun 11, 2020
  • anon

    In my opinion, the problem is the test. Just because you can pass a test doesn't mean you have good work ethic. Hiring those with young children. And make it more clear the responsibility of the job. At my interview, what if your kids get sick? Work or not. The answer is work. The ones that are hired now don't appreciate it. Don't want to do a good job. All it is,, fast on Sat. Fast doesn't mean good job.

    Jun 07, 2020
  • anon

    my understanding from the ccas coming in is there is NO test any more. You apply and get the job. At my office the ccas are treated like gold and it is us the regulars who are the "assistants". I definitely agree with they should tell us during the interview that you will never see your family. If I had known that I wouldn't have taken the job.

    Jun 29, 2020
  • anon

    The biggest issue by for is a lack of vision to an employees future. You start with trying to figure out how everything works. When you are hired you have no knowledge of other rca, cca, and pse that having been waiting for full time for multiple years. With all the data usps has they could determine how long it will take to go regular. For instance Honda takes 3 years of pt work then full time. So that means an employee has a goal to attain and not knowing is what kills an employees spirit. Let's say CCA have a 5 years part time status, pse 6 year, and rca 5 years then they will receive benefits. This allows an individual to look forward to achieving a goal instead of wishing someone would die or retire so they could go regular. Which creates discourse between employees. Also same with sick leave my wife has 17 years without using 1 hour. Why because her company gives incentives and goals. Each year she doesn't use an hour of sick leave she is rewarded $100 for each year she doesn't use any. Thats the problem with employees at the post office raises are only given by union not for hard work and achievements. No incentives to perform at your best or show up to work. Same with managements pay system its a joke and everyone knows it. The goals are impossible with the standards that are given. Late trucks everyday from the plant yet they have to meet their budget without using more hours. The entire system needs adjustments. Also they have 4 people sending the same email all the way down to a local post office. Just have 1 person do an email so it's not retransmitted wrong. That will cut a lot of waste. I could go on and on but ty for the time

    Jun 02, 2020
  • anon

    As a cca you could probably work us less and pay us.more if you don't want us all to quit. We do the same job as career carriers get paid way less and if we are lucky get one day off a week. Everything hurts all the time and we never get a break and can't take a vacation. It's not worth it.

    May 29, 2020
  • anon

    Save billions removal of this management style of run performance bonus systems that fails the moto called service. Billions spent on DOIS pet msp gps consolidated casing article 8 violations re training failed supervisors then promote them to upper management. Then blaming craft for there stupidly. Its service not performance.

    May 28, 2020
  • anon

    Before DOIS lets say 2001 most new city letter carriers passed probationary time. Now 7 out of 10 quit or removed. Is it training no. The OIG report said it all performance. Time . Service no just time. The OIG as to know this. Until this harassment is stopped the turn over will continue. Why are clock rings being deleted .Why are carriers being intimidated to run work off clock and skip lunch and breaks. When new employees cannot keep the times of runners there fired. How many employees commit suicide because of management style .

    May 28, 2020
  • anon

    At the end of the day... mgt don't give a crap about their employees, all they care about is the mail and pkgs getting delivered. Non career employees get treated like slaves.

    May 22, 2020
  • anon

    Hi there I was just wondering if “non-career employees” of the usps have the opportunity to apply for career positions within the post office as they come open?

    Apr 29, 2020
  • anon

    I read all this technical data which is nothing but lipstick excuses. Some of the turnovers are due to flexibility but not the majority of it. Speaking of the mail carrier craft, the main reason for the high turnover is doing the same work as the career employees but not getting benefits. Such as paid holidays, vacation and sick leave. Additionally, career employees like to take the day after the paid holiday thus leaving 2 days worth of mail and packages that subs (non career) have to deliver. Talking about overburdened. Remember, subs are off the holiday without pay while career employees are off with pay and take the following day too. The post office likes to hide their (subs) behind the part time title to deny them benefits. If this was a private employer that treated one set of employees different from the others like the post office does, yet they do the same type and amount of work, this would be considered discrimination. The govt would fine the hell of of them. Since this is a govt agency, they are allowed to get away with it. Finally, once a smart so called part time sub figures out he’s benefiting the post office more than the post office benefits them, there you have your high turnover. 1 more thing. It takes way to long to became career. Do yourself a favor. Work for McDonald or any grocery store chain. At least you get a weeks paid vacation.

    Apr 21, 2020
  • anon

    Having recently completed onboarding and city carrier academy in the Greater Boston District I can provide some anectdotal feedback. I am not sure, if course if my experience is typical. 1. Candidate selection mixed. A number of candidates seemed to be at the low end in terms of potential labor value. Most notably there were many older candidates. I would guess the median age for my cohort was at least 40, meaning half were older, including some individuals in their 50s and 60s. While age discrimination should be avoided it makes little sense to select so many candidates for an entry level physical position who are older. 2. The starting pay for CCAs is not really competitive for the area. $17.29 may be great for Louisiana but not for New York or Boston or San Francisco. To attract and retain quality candidates pay should be negotiated at the district or regional level rather than nationwide. 3. Three days of orientation (whole first week) in district office (Boston) were useless and demoralising. Morose representatives were unable to answer basic questions about the job clearly and correctly at orientation. Other candidates in my cohort agreed with this assessment. Everything covered at orientation was re-covered at carrier academy and done so accurately and more efficiently. Save money on on boarding process by eliminating week of orientation. Driver training / qualification could be the first day of carrier academy. 3. Carrier Academy was excellent and the instructors were some of the best I have had for any job. In contrast to the people who did orientation they had high energy and great knowledge and teaching ability. 4. I have not started work yet but from what I have heard from other people working conditions vary greatly from office to office. Develop a process to evaluate and ensure greater uniformity in office managers. From my experience so far from job shadow day it seems that I landed in a good office. From talking to other candidates it seems some could tell their workplaces would be challenging already based on their job shadow day. 5. Provide a faster path to career and a flatter wage structure with fewer wage steps. People who are better compensated and who are happy with their schedule or station are likely to stay and work harder. While experience is important, I think for a competent carrier work efficiency gains from experience should plateau after a year or two since to job is relatively simple compared to others. There is no reason in my opinion that a career carrier with 15 years should be making twice the base wage doing the exact same job as a more junior employee. If the carrot on the end of the stick is closer better employees will stick around...

    Mar 07, 2020
  • anon

    As a CCA in the Greater Boston Area as well, do not forgot that you will work for 2 years to make regular, and that none of that time will count towards your pension or retirement. I work for 60+ hours a week, and do not feel appreciated in any way. We work a whole route, 2 to 3 hours of OT on another route, and then are sent back out to deliver miss-sorted packages or to get collection boxes that others forgot. And at the end of all this time, I might as well have not been working when it comes to retirement and benefits. Don't worry though, recently the Greater Boston Area sent us all a thank you note in the mail, ironically increasing mail volume as thanks.

    Jun 20, 2020
  • anon

    I am concerned that the non-career employees who are delivering mail are people I will rely on if I have to confine myself during the coronavirus outbreak. I live next to a county with multiple cases. I am over 60 with a chronic lung problem that places me at high risk for death. If I spend the next several months at home, I will be relying on the post office. I understand from a friend (also over 60) who works at a nearby post office that many non-career employees work long stressful weeks and are not paid if they are sick. Are we making a perfect germ delivery service with that policy? Are you working with the CDC and do they understand this issue?

    Mar 07, 2020
  • anon

    I work in Pittsboro NC Its hard when you get a new sub and try and teach them a route but they only want to give them 3 days to learn the route. Then the managers want yell at them when they mess up if people are in these management positions they need to know how to lead by example not berate a person for trying to learn a craft. Most often the new hire is set up for failure rather then success you will not keep people if the continue to feel like they fail all the time. with fail after fail of not making the get back time due to a route that was counted during a hurricane. No new hire will make time standards and its depressing watching them get upset with them self. I tell them over and over not to worry about it but I still have my subs quit.

    Feb 28, 2020
  • anon

    I was never even given feed back on how my performance was. I have applied to several PSE jobs in different places and still I haven't received any email. It says in process. Pre-hire list. And I was never about the survey. I found it in my email after I no longer worked for the USPS.

    Feb 28, 2020
  • anon

    Academy instructors said, and I have read in other sources, that the USPS spends $5,000 to train each new employee. If turnover was 5,900 (x$5,000) in 2019, the cost was $29,500,000.00, not $9.6 million, as stated in this report. For 2018, if turnover was 3,000 ($5,000), the cost was $15,000,000.00, not $4.1 million, as also stated in this report. That's a difference of almost $31,000,000.00! So, why did management supply inaccurate figures of $1,336.66 per person for 2918 and $1,627.11 per person for 2019? Or, why are new employees told a figure of $5,000 if it is inaccurate? It seems at a cost of almost $44,500,000.00 over two years, the USPS should not be so quick to remove so many promising employees during probation. After all, they did pass the exam, are making progress, and are eager to work. Maybe manager bonuses should be based on employment retention, instead of time shaved off a carrier's route. Taking away money in the form of overtime and giving it to managers is a very negative proposition and formula for failure, not to mention morale deflator. You're welcome.

    Feb 19, 2020
  • anon

    Correct...Thank you...

    Mar 05, 2020
  • anon

    Good morning After reading this findings, I examined that most of this turnover is due to a lack of leadership and toxic leadership in the post office, I’m currently work in that state of Florida and the two post offices that I work the Postmaster do not care or have a sense of ownership, they only care about their retirement and not going 110%, they assume that the training that is given by the HR when you arrive at the postal service is complete, workers in the offices also “hate” veteran’s with education and leadership styles that are not even common to their own, standards are not meet, blaming scenarios are the only thing in the day, no ownership by them, the only topic that is on a daily basis is “my retirement” in my experience I saw postmaster leaving the offices unattended (1-person in the premises) and remotely survey the office from home, 95% of the time they leave 1pm with no guidance or leadership in the work place, one person can not hold the office and be effective or productive by them self, On the other hand Distric Managers only care about the numbers not the employees, they demand and also work you two steps up, but with the pay established by Your craft! Most of them are only a “figure” In the district, I believe having the right qualifications and the right person in the seat will benefit the district with common sense and accretive leadership style. Some of us trying to change the political situation in the post office and retaliation is the word in the street, in my case I have more certifications than the District’s Manager and perhaps more education credential than most of the postmaster in the area. It seem that the good Ol boy system is in full effect here in Florida, some of the non career personnel see this issues and decide to venture in a job that give some incentive and or benefits and most of all make a career out of it in the long run, I was a Non Career individual and in NC I was segregated of advancement, always shut down in position that I apply, and most of all my conditions as a Veteran, as a non career I saw the discrimination in the work place with my own eyes, regular employee telling to the non career that you have to leave early because you are affecting my hours of work, sometimes quoting regulations that do not exist, deprive you of work in a seance of you only garantee one hr of work, and not even schedule you in the week because that have to have their hrs before you, that’s why most of the non career seek other employment and the system do not support him or her to seek a better position or granting hrs of work so they can remain in their position, sometimes they schedule them to outrageous hrs like 1am to 4am and return 2pm until closings! Is an outrageous way to get rid of personnel, and mainly the leadership don’t care,

    Feb 19, 2020
  • anon

    Hello, Luis. Thanks for your comment. The best thing to do would be to file an online complaint with our Hotline at https://www.uspsoig.gov/hotline. This will allow us to look into the matter for you.

    Feb 19, 2020
  • anon

    What can the OIG do to stop this management waist and harassment of its workers. Write up reports do not work

    Jun 05, 2020
  • anon

    Part of the reason I retired was because of management. When supervisors are allowed to to work for two or three hours a day for a four day work week it shows poor management. When individuals are constantly harassed by management for not making a fictitious time it wears on your as a carrier. Having a schedule certainly improves your attitude.

    Feb 19, 2020
  • anon

    Most all of the CCAs I have known have complained they are paid too little to put up with the mistreatment by management they must endure. Besides the lack of dignity and respect by management experienced across the Postal Service, (refer to our Employee Engagement scores), inadequate staffing causes the inability of management to provide flexible schedules to the CCAs. Creation of more full time careeer positions will allow management to give CCAs the time off or reduced hours they prefer. A lower percentage in the total complement of non-career employees would also reduce the wait time to become a career employee.

    Feb 17, 2020