Patricia Whalen believes employees have good ideas.
Whalen, the Media, PA, Postmaster, oversees more than 80 employees. When she was appointed to her job last year, she began seeking their input.
“When I first arrived, I quickly realized that the employee’s voices hadn’t been heard in a long time,” Whalen says. “I asked the employees their opinions to improve the workplace.”
She received many ideas — and then she acted on them.
Whalen has focused on making physical improvements to the Media Post Office, providing employees with more tools and resources to do their jobs, and making process changes to improve efficiency.
USPS encourages this kind of approach. The organization wants managers and supervisors to empower employees, a strategy that can lead to safer workplaces, better customer service and higher revenue.
One result of Whalen’s efforts: The Media Post Office made major improvements during this year’s Postal Pulse employee survey, including a big spike in the question that asked employees to rate their overall satisfaction.
To help other managers and supervisors, Whalen offers these tips:
• Huddle up. Whalen brings her employees together as a group each morning to discuss performance issues, safety concerns and more.
• Encourage employees to share their ideas. Whalen never ends a huddle without inviting employees to offer their input.
• Honor strong performers. Whalen created a board in her workplace where employees are recognized for delivering excellent customer service, adhering to the USPS uniform policy, following safety rules and more.
Now that Whalen has a strong foundation in place, she looks forward to building on it.
“It all starts with making your employees feel genuinely valued as part of a team,” she says.
“Best practices,” a series on employees who demonstrate on-the-job excellence, appears regularly in Link.