usps supervisors turnover low, engagement low Despite the low attrition, first-line supervisors were the least engaged of all employee categories in the Postal Service during the fiscal 2016 to 2018 period. Image: David Tran Photo/Shutterstock.com

An IG report has found that turnover among first-line USPS supervisors is notably low but that about two-thirds of them are “not engaged” or are “actively disengaged” from their work.

It said that the Postal Service has some 18,400 first-line supervisors, 13,000 of them in retail facilities and the rest in mail processing facilities, with only 209 separating from USPS due to resignation over 2016-2018—about 1 percent, well below the 12 percent of a private sector benchmark for frontline managers.

“Despite the low attrition rates for first-line supervisors from FYs 2016 to 2018, first-line supervisors were the least engaged of all employee categories in the Postal Service during the same time period,” the report said. It cited data from the internal “Postal Pulse” survey finding that each year about a 25 percent of supervisors are “actively disengaged” from their work and another 40 percent are “not engaged.”

Separately the IG conducted a separate survey of supervisors to which about 200 responded, of whom 35 percent “indicated they did not view their positions as attractive.

First-line supervisors also stated that higher pay was an incentive to becoming a first-line supervisor; however, the pay was insufficient.”

Main concerns of individuals who were interviewed included long work hours, high workloads, feeling undervalued by management and lack of training and mentoring.

When vacancies occur they generally are filled internally, the report added, but in a sample of 246 hires in the period, 217 were open for longer than the informal target of 60 days, ranging up to 286 days. “When first-line supervisor vacancies are not filled timely, there is an increased risk of those staff shortages negatively affecting operations, overtime usage, and the workload of other supervisors and employees,” the report said.

Also, documentation was incomplete for 168 of those hired and “as a result, we could not determine whether these supervisors met the qualifications outlined in vacancy announcements,” the auditors said. “Because the Postal Service could not provide the required supporting documentation for the selection of some of the first-line supervisors, we identified $16.4 million in unsupported questioned costs related to the pay increase for promotion to first-line supervisor.”

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