Employees of the U.S. Postal Service are less satisfied with their jobs than their counterparts in the private sector or other government agencies, according to an Oct. 8 report by the Postal Inspector General.
The results are taken from employee surveys published by the agency itself, as well as reviews and surveys posted on job sites such as Glassdoor.com and Indeed.com.
“While postal workers play a vital role in postal service operations, high non-career turnover rates, declining grades and multiple survey results indicate that postal workers enjoy contributing to the success of the postal service, but can sometimes feeling dissatisfied or not very engaged in their work. The report says.
“The survey results show that employees are not engaged overall, although engagement increased slightly from a minimum of 22% of respondents who reported engagement in fiscal 2016 to 25% in FY2020. Surveys also found that career-less employees understand how their work contributes to the success of the postal service, but quit due to a lack of flexibility in schedules, aversion to their supervisors and the physical demands of their jobs.
USPS alone is one of the largest employers in the United States, with approximately 644,000 employees. Among Fortune 500 companies, only Amazon and Walmart employ more people in the private sector.
In the USPS Postal Pulse survey, which is conducted annually and based on Gallup, Inc.’s Employee Engagement Survey, employees reported annually that the IG examined that approximately three-quarters of ‘between them felt disengaged or actively disengaged.
“Over 90 percent of organizations that also used this survey achieved higher employee engagement scores than the Postal Service,” the report says.
And compared to private-sector delivery services, such as FedEx and UPS, which each employ about 400,000 people, USPS has lagged behind rankings on Glassdoor and Indeed.
“In fiscal 2017 and 2021, the postal service’s overall average scores were consistently lower than scores of comparable organizations – both in the shipping and logistics industry and in the federal government – on Glassdoor and on Indeed, ”the report says.
“While the ratings of two other major transportation and logistics companies, UPS and FedEx, also fell during this period, the Postal Service’s rating declined more than either of these other organizations. “
Part of the employee satisfaction problem stems from career-less employees, who consistently rate their job satisfaction below that of their career counterparts.
Over the past decade, USPS has started hiring many more non-career employees and offering them career jobs once a specific amount of time has passed and positions open up.
Employees without a career do not enjoy the same benefits as those in a career position, and employees without a career are often given variable hours in different locations to fill gaps in career schedules.
But that variability and lack of benefits mean that employees without a career face a more difficult work-life balance than their permanent counterparts without one of the highest benefits of the USPS job. Reviewers at both sites said the best aspects of working for the Postal Service were pay and benefits, while the worst were management and work-life balance.
“The percentage of non-career assessors who gave a high score never matched or exceeded the percentage of those who gave low scores in any of the years of the reference period,” the report says. . “In fiscal 2017 and 2020, the percentage of non-career employees who provided low ratings was almost double the percentage of respondents who provided high ratings in the same year.”
As a result, turnover of non-career employees is four to five times higher than that of career employees.
But the agency itself disagreed with the choice of its sources of information for the satisfaction figures.
“The Postal Service considers the White Paper’s use of data from employment websites to be exaggerated and overrated. They said the sample of reviews reviewed represents a fraction of the workforce, indicating that they have their own internal data from employee surveys and exit surveys, as well as data that they receive from other organizations. Management says Glassdoor and Indeed are for-profit companies rather than independent survey organizations, ”the report states.
“In addition, management said the white paper recognizes that there are many sources of data on the Postal Service as an employer and added that the Postal Service has been recognized as the most trusted agency by various groups. Management cited its own survey data, management initiatives and the collective bargaining process as examples of its recognition of employee issues and measures to improve employee turnover. They believe that the initiatives they have been working on will be effective in stabilizing their workforce and reducing the rate of non-career separation ”
But the IG responded that Glassdoor and Indeed ratings generally match internal satisfaction scores and are often the only snapshot of job satisfaction potential workers can get before applying to work at USPS.
Jessie Bur covers the federal workforce and the changes most likely to impact government employees.