Employee Engagement

Every organization depends on the performance of its employees. The labor-intensive Postal Service is more dependent than most on the efforts of its workforce. It has long been a primary goal to fully engage every member of the workforce, at every level and function, in meeting the challenges that face the business. This includes attracting and developing qualified employees; ensuring a safe, supportive workplace; providing competitive compensation and benefits; and ultimately building a strong customer-focused, performance-based culture throughout the organization.

The Postal Service tracks employee engagement using an index developed from questions in its Voice of the Employee (VOE) survey. Every employee has the opportunity to respond to the survey, and response rates are high, over 60 percent. Each quarter, one-fourth of career employees receive a survey at their work location. Participation is voluntary and employees are given time on the clock to complete them. The surveys are then sealed in postage-paid envelopes and mailed to an independent contractor for data analysis and report preparation. No one from the Postal Service sees raw data or individual responses.

The VOE survey was redesigned this year to incorporate the latest best practices in employee survey research and to make the information it provides more actionable. The revised survey includes questions on eight dimensions of employee engagement — Strategic Direction, Trust, Contribution to Growth, Communication, Diversity & Respect, Commitment, Personal Safety, and Work Effort and Quality. Favorable ratings for each dimension are grouped together to create an index score. Results give supervisors and managers information about how they compare with other units on these important employee engagement drivers. 2009 was the final year that the original VOE index was used. Future goals will use the new VOE index.

image of employee filling out the VOE survey

The VOE survey helps the Postal Service to engage employees at all levels.

The VOE survey is an important diagnostic of how well the Postal Service is engaging employees in the organization’s mission and especially in the present efforts to respond to the challenges of an extended recession and a large and growing gap between revenues and expenses. Without question, 2009 was a difficult year for all employees. The dramatic decline in volume required extraordinary workplace changes, including large reductions in employee complement. Despite this, the VOE Index continues to show that attitudes remain positive and consistent with the recent past. Opportunities exist to improve in all measured areas, especially in the quality and frequency of communication provided to employees about individual and unit performance, and about the Postal Service’s strategic direction.

image of postal working using a forklift

The Challenge to DeliverThe Challenge to Deliver, Creating the 21st Century Postal Service. 2009 Comprehensive Statement on Postal Operations