Among friends

Since 2015, USPS has used the Postal Pulse survey to ask employees if they have a best friend at work.


Here’s what you should know:

• Although the “best friend question” strikes some as unusual, it provides useful information. Gallup, the organization that conducts the survey on the Postal Service’s behalf, drew upon extensive psychological research in formulating the question.

The research shows that having friendships at work is beneficial because they help build trust and teamwork and can have a positive effect on morale and productivity.

• Determining your best friend at work is easier than it might seem. According to Gallup’s research, if you have someone at work that you can talk to with a level of trust, this person would be considered your best friend.

Gallup tested other wording, like “close” or “good” friend, but research showed “best” friend helped to distinguish between high-performing engaged teams from low-performing teams as it pertains to employee safety and quality of service to customers.

• The survey’s other questions are important, too. For example, one of the questions asks whether employees feel like their co-workers are committed to doing a good job.

This helps determine engagement levels because when employees feel that everyone on the team is pitching in to get the job done, it makes the job easier.

Likewise, another question — asking employees if they have an opportunity to do their best work — helps measure engagement, which is important to determining employees’ direction and professional growth.

This is the second of five articles on the Postal Pulse employee survey, which is being administered from Aug. 4-Sept. 4. Tomorrow: How USPS keeps survey responses confidential.