It’s okay to be immature if you’re a young sapling on your way to becoming a giant oak. But it’s not good when talking about an organization’s ethics program.

The U.S. Postal Service has a mature ethics program that could be further developed, our recent audit report determined. On a five-point scale, the areas we reviewed of the Postal Service’s ethics program fell between Level 3 and Level 5. Level 3 means the program is defined; Level 4 is considered mature; and Level 5 is world-class.

The USPS Ethics Office is responsible for overseeing compliance with the Ethics in Government Act of 1978 (Ethics Act), which seeks to prevent conflicts of interest on the part of executive branch employees. The Postal Service Ethics Office’s mission is to familiarize employees with the ethics laws and regulations that apply to them.  

We reviewed the Postal Service Ethics Program in three areas: 1) agency goals and metrics, 2) accountability and consistency, and 3) cause and prevention. We used a maturity model framework to demonstrate the value of approaching an organization’s ethical efforts in a comprehensive, integrated manner that actively contributes to the organization’s mission.

The Postal Service is especially strong in the areas of agency goals and objectives and accountability and consistency. It has policies and directives establishing employee responsibility and accountability and non-retaliation, as well as a process for responding to allegations. The Ethics Office also incorporates into its annual goals specific targets for the number of ethics training events and ways to use technology to improve efficiency.

We noted, however, the ethics program doesn’t focus specifically on cause and prevention, which, could help find the root causes of unethical conduct. This information would in turn help prevent further lapses. We recommended the Postal Service develop a more integrated and comprehensive ethics program using a cross-functional committee to create and provide an integrated approach. This type of broader  approach would engage more groups across the organization and facilitate greater accountability and organizational consistency.

If you are a USPS employee, how much training in ethics have you received? How thorough would you say it’s been?

Comments (6)

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  • anon

    The USPS dropps a big box of unsorted mail off at the appartment complex that I live in. The front desk clerks then have to sort it into the respective boxes. Problem is...they will go days without sorting it. I'll get Mondays mail on Thursday. They do it when they get to it. Is this ethical?

    Dec 07, 2018
  • anon

    Let me see a government office and one of the responses was he's never heard of ethical training. So I take it you don't have a code of conduct, and ethics training all together in one class that is a mandatory class and signature required every fiscal year and each team member's audited to make sure they're in compliance. You don't even have the diverse Workforce as such other companies have whereas we dealt with language barriers personal beliefs vary, religious cultures vary, and we seem to tackle that head on and to see the interactions of these different races and such talking to one another working together makes us feel that are training serves the purpose and it's working and it will work you just have to implement it and follow up those two words right there follow up mean so much in today's Workforce and atmosphere.

    Nov 24, 2018
  • anon

    If you mean by ethics that you know right from wrong and you have an appreciation of the value and existence of your fellow man, then most websites, group chats, etc for clerks and carriers will show you that the same clerks and carriers are ethical. The websites, chats, etc will also show you that there is an extremely large % of the clerks and carriers who believe that management on all levels have no concept of ethics. This is also seen in the results of your own postal pulse reports year after year. So all the charts and buzz words in your report mean diddly. Whitewashing reports which do not delve into the subject of ethics are really just another example of unethical behavior. Made you feel good but the results of your audit don't mean diddly. You asked for a response, here is one. Care to respond?

    Nov 23, 2018
  • anon

    I am trying to imagine this training for a customer service supervisor. They could role play bullying a probationary CCA to stay on the street. Then figure out the math for paying back a carrier in who worked off the clock to show zero penalty overtime. Lets see 1.5X compared to 2X how many hours when you clock him out on a light day? Then you have the extra parcels needing a scan after everybody has worked 60 hours that week and 12 hrs that day. To fool your boss which falsification code do you use "business closed"? After all the post office branch is closed and out of man hours. Perhaps animal hazard, after all it was dark and you have no ideal how far away that barking you heard came from. Maybe police activity, as the police are somewhere doing some kind of activity. And thus closes today's ethics training.

    Nov 20, 2018
  • anon

    I receive Hatch Act training pretty regularly, but I don't think I've ever had any ethics training. Once a year or so there is a quick stand-up on gift acceptance from customers but not much else.

    Nov 19, 2018
  • anon

    I’ve been employed by USPS as a rural carrier for over three years and have never heard of any ethics training, let alone participated in any such. I do however have real concerns about ethics in the workplace. It would be nice if there were an ethics board that could look into situations which seem to be accepted as status quo on the district level.

    Nov 19, 2018