October 7, 2015
The results of the Postal Pulse survey are out, but only USPS employees can see them. The Postal Service has produced a new video about the survey results as well, but only postal employees can view it. For the rest of us, here’s a little background.
Postal Pulse is the new employee engagement survey being used by the Postal Service, after decommissioning the Voice of the Employee (VOE) survey that had been used for many years. The Pulse was administered to postal workers in March and April of this year, and now the results are being shared with USPS employees.
The Pulse isn’t exactly new, though. It’s actually the Gallup Q12 Employee Engagement Survey. The name refers to the fact that there are twelve questions on the survey. The Postal Service’s Postal Pulse is the same as the Q12, but with a different name and one additional question.
You can see the Postal Pulse survey here; the Q12 survey is here. As you’ll see in comparing them, the questions are the same, almost word for word. The only difference is that the Pulse adds an introductory question about how satisfied workers are at the Postal Service. It’s labeled question number 0 so as not to throw off the numbering of the other twelve questions, which correspond, one by one, to the twelve questions on the Gallup Q12.
Since it was developed in the late 1990s, Gallup’s Q12 has been administered to more than 25 million employees in 189 different countries and 69 languages for use by several hundred organizations. It’s considered the “gold standard” for employee engagement surveys.
The Postal Service paid good money to Gallup for using the survey and analyzing the results.
Earlier this year I filed a FOIA request (Freedom of Information Act) with the Postal Service asking for a copy of the solicitation notice and contract with Gallup. The contract shows that the total amount for the award paid by USPS to Gallup was $1,790,724.
That covers a two-year period, from August 18, 2014 to August 19, 2016. Most of the contract is redacted, but you can see it here. The solicitation notice is here. Both documents also include a detailed Statement of Work describing what the survey should encompass.
Spending $1.8 million just to find out how postal workers are feeling about things may seem excessive, but improving employee engagement can pay off. Studies show that a more engaged workforce is also more productive. The Hay Group, which provides its own surveys like the Q12, says high levels of engagement can boost revenue growth by up to two and a half times.
Still, given the cost of the Pulse, it’s interesting to hear what USPS Senior Public Relations Representative Sue Brennan says about the survey in the new video, as reported on USPS News Link,
“I don’t see how these 12 questions can affect the changes that I personally see need to happen,” says Brennan.
Now it may be that Brennan is just playing devil’s advocate with Chief Human Resources Officer Jeff Williamson, who tries to explain in the video why the survey is useful. Or it may be that Brennan is sincerely skeptical.