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Toward Better Engagement
By Ivan D. Butts
Executive Vice President
By now, you have received or seen correspondence from NAPS Headquarters—and have been updated by the Executive Board, as well as state and local NAPS officers—on the direction NAPS will pursue regarding the continued injustices of the EAS pay talks and Pay-for-Performance system. This troubled system continues to serve as a reminder to all of us of the total disconnect of Postal Service leadership with one of its most valuable resources: its supervisory workforce.
I recently reread “The Power of Federal Employee Engagement.” This report to the president and Congress by the Merit Systems Protection Board was commissioned to:
In the report’s executive summary, I found a statement that identifies the break in the engagement paradigm for federal agencies. It recognized that senior executives are [emphasis added] more engaged than supervisory employees. Indeed, the summary explicitly acknowledges the fact that engagement is happening at the highest levels of federal agencies, but that does not necessarily mean this level of engagement is extending beyond the higher levels. It is obvious to us that, in the matter of pay talks and PFP, there is a high level of supervisory disengagement in the process.
The problems occurring in the PFP process are nationwide and don’t need to be restated here. However, I must—we must—continue to call for the equality, justice and engagement the process espouses, but executives refuse to uphold. These are the elements the MSPB states are a direct correlation to the success of any agency.
The USPS has had four offerings of the Postal Pulse survey. As with the prior VOE process, the agency continues to show little to no improvement when it comes to engagement with EAS employees. As we continue our efforts to work within the process, it also is time for legislators to take a hard look at the current state of the Postal Service to see if the executive leadership in place is the leadership that can lead the agency into an engaged federal environment in all aspects of its mission, thus making it viable into the future.
As a footnote to this article, I had the pleasure of having a conversation with a clerk about moving into management. She is a good employee with years of postal experience. Sadly, she told me her main reason for not seeking promotion was the ones we’ve heard so many times before: how badly EAS employees are treated by upper-management.
However, she also said something to me I never had considered: “Craft employees say among themselves, ‘Why should we respect supervisors when the managers holler at them and treat them so nastily on the floor right in front of us?’” Maybe that should be a question on the Postal Pulse survey.