Fedweek

Understaffing in management has resulted in informal on-the-job instruction for acting supervisors rather than formal training. Image: Ron Adar/Shutterstock.com

Lower-performing Postal Service facilities have in common several problems related to personnel, says an IG report.

In a look at 10 such facilities—chosen according to certain performance metrics and whose identities were redacted in the report—the IG found common problems including “low employee availability, inadequate management staffing, lack of formalized training for acting supervisors/managers and non-career employees, incomplete training records of newly promoted supervisors/managers, and turnover among newly hired employees.”

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“Facilities struggled with employee availability, in part, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Management at all 10 facilities stated that low staffing and employee availability resulted in large impacts on the Postal Service’s ability to meet service performance targets,” it said.

Understaffing in management “resulted in reliance on acting managers and supervisors who were not adequately trained”; they typically received informal on-the-job instruction rather than formal training.

“Postal policy cautions that supervisors may cause low productivity by failing to know what is expected of employees and/or failing to convey those expectations, and failing to take appropriate action when employees do not produce at the expected rate. Management at one facility noted inexperienced acting supervisors and managers were uncomfortable discussing performance with employees and stated that leadership training would be beneficial,” it said.

“New employees, particularly non-career employees, similarly did not receive standardized training,” it added.

Another issue common to the sites was higher rates of jammed equipment leading to lower sorting rates than the national average, it said, but even that had a personnel element since it “occurred due to lack of employee training and management oversight.”

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