USPS OIG Wants Our Input on First-Line Supervisors

Do First-Line Supervisors Have Adequate Resources to Perform Their Duties?

Project Title: First‐Line Supervisor Resources
Start Date: Wednesday, May 8, 2019
Estimated Report Release Date: January 2020

Postal Service first-line supervisors oversee the day-to-day execution of operations that drive services and delivery of mail to the public. As such, they significantly contribute to ensuring customers receive quality service and receive mail and parcels on time and in good condition.

Factors that contribute to the success of first-line supervisors include having a strong organizational structure, a clear understanding of job responsibilities, the right qualifications, an optimal span of control, and adequate training opportunities.

For the purposes of our work, we define a first-line supervisor as the first layer of management directly above the craft employee, specifically customer service supervisors at retail facilities, and distribution, transportation, and maintenance operation supervisors at processing facilities. Our objective is to assess whether Postal Service first-line supervisors are adequately prepared and positioned to meet operational goals and objectives.

  • Are first-line supervisors provided with job descriptions (or a detailed list of job responsibilities) when they are promoted? Are the job descriptions adequate and do they align with actual duties performed?
  • Do first-line supervisors have the right qualifications to ensure execution of responsibilities?
  • Do first-line supervisors oversee an appropriate number of employees (i.e., span of control) to effectively execute their supervisory responsibilities? If not, how many employees should a supervisor oversee at a retail facility? A processing facility?
  • Are first-line supervisors (permanent and acting 204b) provided with adequate training? If not, what additional training would you recommend? Does the lack of training negatively impact their ability to execute supervisory tasks?

How Well Does the Postal Service Recruit and Retain First-Line Supervisors?

Project Title: First-Line Supervisor Recruitment and Retention
Start Date: Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Estimated Report Release Date: December 2019

First-line supervisors play a critical role in any organization and influence productivity, quality, and employee engagement. At the U.S. Postal Service, they significantly contribute to accomplishing USPS goals, including ensuring customers receive quality service and mail and parcels on time.

Our audit focuses on first-line supervisors at retail and mail processing facilities. For the purposes of our work, we define a first-line supervisor as the first layer of management directly above the craft employee. These include supervisors of customer service, distribution operations, maintenance operations, and transportation operations. Our objective is to assess whether the Postal Service is effectively hiring and retaining first-line supervisors.

  • How well does the Postal Service hire and retain first-line supervisors?
  • What are reasons employees pursue first-line supervisor positions?
  • What are challenges in recruiting and retaining qualified first-line supervisors?
  • What opportunities exist to strengthen management’s ability to attract and retain skilled first-line supervisors?

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