Originally posted: May 11, 2020
Last updated: September 22, 2023
The Job Quality Tools Library offers actionable tools, resources, and guidance for leaders to improve jobs in their communities. Below is a list of tools for worker advocacy.
↓ Tools and Resources Below the Box ↓
- Job Quality Tools Library Homepage
- Index of Tools by Field
Tools for Worker Advocacy (Alphabetical by Source)
What’s It For: This organizational self-assessment can be used to measure staff competencies and awareness of racial inequities in your organization. The assessment includes questions related to competencies as well as organizational operations. The resulting racial equity score corresponds to potential next steps and tools that can help support your organization wherever you may be on your racial equity journey.
What’s It For: This impact analysis tool by Race Matters can be used to assess the impact of policies, programs, and practices on racial equity. The tool provides a set of five guiding questions to determine if existing and proposed policies and programs are likely to address specific racial disparities in the United States.
What’s It For: This guide to conducting worker focus groups posits amplifying worker voice as an equitable solution for reducing turnover. It was developed as part of the Economic Opportunities Program’s Reimagine Retail job quality research, in response to growing recognition of the importance of listening to workers. The focus group guide delves into six topics related to highlighting worker voice, which include building the business case to employers, developing interview guides, what to do with your interview data, and pandemic considerations. This tool may be helpful for employers looking to use worker expertise and engagement to strengthen job quality, equity, and the business bottom line. Workforce development and worker advocacy organizations may also find it helpful to share these tools with employers in their networks.
What’s It For: This guide to conduct worker surveys posits amplifying worker voice as a viable business strategy. It was developed as part of the Economic Opportunities Program’s Reimagine Retail job quality research, in response to growing recognition of the importance of listening to workers. The tool for conducting worker surveys includes practical tips, sample opening survey language, and sample survey questions that address topics such as job satisfaction, growth opportunities, and workplace relationships and culture. This tool may be helpful for employers looking to use worker expertise and engagement to strengthen job quality, equity, and the business bottom line. Workforce development and worker advocacy organizations may also find it helpful to share these tools with employers in their networks.
What’s It For: To make the business case for improving retention, employers can use this simple calculator to get a ballpark estimate of hard costs of turnover. Partners can complete this exercise with businesses to show the value of their services or talent management practices that reduce turnover. Unlike many other turnover calculators, this tool includes both direct costs, such as the cost of hiring or orientation, and indirect costs, such as lower employee morale or poorer customer service.
What’s It For: This statement emerged from the collaborative work of the 2017-2018 Aspen Job Quality Fellows, innovators from diverse sectors who are working to expand quality jobs. It includes a list of key job quality attributes and a stated commitment to advance job quality. The statement offers a useful example for practitioners across fields seeking to define the elements of a quality job and publicly commit to job quality efforts.
What’s It For: This guide contains tips and practices for creating trusted relationships with small business employers focused on improving job quality, and compiles seven lessons for small business prospecting, recruitment, and ongoing engagement. Lessons outlined in this publication were developed as part of the Economic Opportunities Program’s Reimagine Retail job quality research, and in response to a growing demand for employer engagement practices that enable collaboration and innovative solutions in connecting people to good jobs. Although there is no one-size-fits-all approach to developing relationships with employers, this tool may be of interest to employers (and their partners) who would like to engage in job quality discussions and tailor engagement to their local contexts.
What’s It For: This detailed assessment is a tool to help employers generate a report about their social and environment impact, including impact on workers, and to benchmark against peer companies. It includes measures of job quality, including compensation, benefits, safety, and worker ownership. Practitioners who work with businesses could direct them to this tool or even walk them through it.
What’s It For: This website includes resources to support pregnant and breastfeeding workers. Resources are designed to educate employees about their workplace rights, for employers to adopt family-friendly policies and ensure compliance with state and federal laws, and for policymakers and advocates to support pregnant and breastfeeding employees. Tools include a model policy that reflects current legal requirements, a webinar for employee training, and a chart of workplace accommodations for common pregnancy-related conditions. In addition to workers, employers, and policymakers, workforce development professionals who support workers may also find this resource guide useful.
What’s It For: This set of equity tools is designed to help organizations and individuals operationalize equity. Included is an equitable hiring tool, equitable workforce plans, and equity analysis tools. Tools focused on policy and budgeting provide a framework for users to consider whose voices are at the table when designing policies and regulations, who is likely to be impacted, and if the policy outcomes would lead to a more or less equitable environment. While designed for local government, these tools have broad relevance for a wide audience, including employers, policymakers, workforce development professionals, and others interested in centering equity in their policy and programmatic work.
Who’s It For: Worker Advocacy
What’s It For: This online platform provides a tool for workers and their advocates to develop petitions and create campaigns to request tangible improvements in their workplaces, from wage increases to dress code modifications. Campaigns can attract media attention, and many past campaigns have resulted in employers announcing policy changes to improve job quality. This tool can be particularly valuable for workers that lack channels to provide feedback within their workplaces as well as worker advocates.
What’s It For: Central to effective employee ownership is active, genuine engagement of employees in workplace decision making. This guide from the Democracy at Work Institute provides an overview of the pillars that cooperatives should center when framing an engagement plan. Brief examples are provided, as well as links to further information.
What’s It For: This is a high-level, generalist guide for starting a worker cooperative or transitioning an existing business. In addition to providing an overview of the principles and function of cooperative ownership, the guide provides an explainer on developing business ideas and decision-making processes. This guide is useful to workers, advocates, and those engaged in outreach to existing values-based employers.
What’s It For: If a business owner is retiring or leaving the organization, transitioning to employee ownership is one avenue to sustain the business and workers’ jobs while strengthening job quality. This highly technical guide provides information for owners interested in selling their business to employees through an ESOP or co-op. Included are details about conducting a landscape analysis, legal rights, tax policy, and valuation of your business.
What’s It For: This simple, user-friendly calculator serves as a tool to measure the income needed by a family to maintain an adequate standard of living in a specific community. It can calculate costs based on all counties and metro areas in the US and for 10 family types (one or two adults with zero to four children). Family budgets are calculated using seven components: housing, food, transportation, childcare, healthcare, taxes, and “other necessities.”
What’s It For: This PDF Application for the Family Friendly Business Award® provides a helpful model for assessing business practices. Employers are asked questions about the quality of their jobs through factors such as diversity, benefits (e.g., paid leave), health supports, and flexible scheduling supports. Although some questions are specific to New Mexico’s policies, this application may be used as a model for organizations interested in assessing job quality for current and potential employer partners. This tool could also be used internally for employers who would like to assess their own practices. After scrolling down the webpage linked above, you may click to view the PDF Application for the Family Friendly Business Award.
What’s It For: This assessment is a tool to help employers (primarily >150 employees) benchmark their talent management strategies against those other employers are undertaking and to determine where to focus practice change efforts. The topics covered in the survey include recruiting, hiring, retention, advancement, and more. A separate resource section also provides a variety of business-facing tools. Practitioners who work with businesses could direct them to this tool and even walk them through it.
What’s It For: The Employer Engagement Question Bank is designed to help workforce professionals engage in conversations with businesses to support the jobseekers they work with. This tool can be used for learning about a business with an eye toward providing workforce services, developing expertise about industry norms and practices, and building relationships that build credibility in discussions about strategies for promoting worker retention and advancement. The tool includes questions to build understanding of the business, its workforce needs, and a range of job quality factors including compensation, opportunities for advancement, and equity and inclusion. Workforce development and other professionals that support workers can adapt the tool to meet their employer engagement goals.
What’s It For: MIT’s Good Jobs Institute created this framework to help employers seeking to improve worker experience, retention, and productivity to assess their performance across nine “essential elements” of a quality job. These include meeting an employee’s basic needs, such as through fair wages and a flexible schedule, and meeting “higher needs” such as personal growth, belonging, and recognition. While designed for employers, the framework has relevance for all practitioners seeking to define and assess job quality in an organization.
What’s It For: Workers report that their managers are a key contributor to job quality. This toolbox includes resources to train and support managers, including a manager feedback survey, new manager training materials, and templates for meetings with employees. While this tool is designed for businesses, other practitioners could share it with their business partners to encourage more supportive supervisory practices.
What’s It For: HCAP Partners – a fund providing debt and equity growth capital to lower-middle market companies – has developed this operational impact approach to assess job quality standards and improvements in portfolio companies through a quantitative measurement system. HCAP has identified five key attributes of job quality that fall within the categories of economic opportunity and health and wellness. HCAP engages with businesses to collect data, develop a baseline assessment, and build a strategic roadmap to implement and improve workplace initiatives for creating and maintaining high quality jobs. While this bespoke measurement system is designed to meet HCAP’s needs, other investors, lenders, and practitioners who work with businesses to improve job quality may find HCAP’s job quality definition and measurement framework useful in developing their own tools.
What’s It For: This employer toolkit is designed to engage employers in building pathways and opportunities to support career progression for workers, including by creating a supportive work environment through job redesign and supportive management. The toolkit includes information that can help employers make a business case, as well as embedded tools and case studies highlighting employer efforts. This toolkit is well suited for businesses, in particular HR professionals or other stakeholders involved in building internal career ladders. It also has applications for practitioners supporting employer practice change.
What’s It For: The Job Accommodation Network’s publications include a resource series on Accommodation and Compliance, designed to support employers and employees in determining effective accommodations that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Each publication in the series addresses a specific medical condition and potential accommodations and points toward resources for additional information. These publications can be used by practitioners assisting employers in accommodating disabilities as well as by individual employees as they discuss accommodations with their employer.
What’s It For: This post and sample letter details how to document your disability and how to share the information with your employer to provide an accommodation. It includes helpful information about an employee’s rights and a sample letter of inquiry to an employer. Employees and the advocates who support them may find this tool useful when interfacing with an employer about needed accommodations.
What’s It For: This guide includes information about the legal basics of the Americans with Disabilities Act and how to request and negotiate an accommodation. Each section responds to commonly asked questions about the policies and practicalities of getting an accommodation at work, including if you have to disclose your disability to your employer and what accommodations you can request. This tool could be helpful for an individual employee, a practitioner informing clients of their rights, or an employer seeking to strengthen accommodations.
What’s It For: The Management Center created this library of tools related to equity and inclusion aimed at addressing internal practices and management approaches of organizations. Included are worksheets, resources, and case studies that are have application for organizations seeking to further equitable opportunities and outcomes.
What’s It For: This calculator is a tool for estimating the living wage by U.S. metro area, county, state, region, or at the national level. The living wage is defined as the wage needed to cover basic family expenses including housing, food, childcare, transportation, health, and other necessities, plus relevant taxes. The calculator estimates the living wage needed to support families of 12 different compositions (one to two adults with up to three children). Practitioners across fields can use this tool to benchmark compensation in local communities or firms against a wage rate that allows residents to meet minimum standards of living. Because the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a nonpartisan research institution, practitioners report that this tool has credibility with a range of audiences including businesses.
What’s It For: The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) developed this guide to answer frequently asked questions for individuals regarding the COVID-19 crisis. Resources cover topics including how to manage anxiety, how to access medication while in quarantine, and how to manage concerns about loved ones who are incarcerated. Additionally, NAMI offers guidance on how to access public healthcare benefits, financial assistance, and other supports. Employers and a range of organizations that provide support to workers might find this guide useful to share with the individuals they work with.
What’s It For: This resource includes research summaries related to potential effects of employee ownership on firms and workers. Research includes studies conducted by NCEO as well as academic research from a variety of sources. Areas explored include firm performance, employment stability and survival, and employee financial well-being. This resource may be particularly useful for employers exploring employee ownership business models as well as advocates and employee support organizations working with either business owners or workers interested in employee ownership.
What’s It For: A directory of key organizations and working on employee ownership. It includes governmental and nongovernmental organizations, including at the state, national, and international level.
Who’s It For: Worker Advocacy
What’s It For: In-home workers such as child and elder-care providers play an important role in the US economy, but they are excluded from many labor protections and vulnerable to exploitation. This toolbox is intended to assist domestic workers and the worker advocacy organizations that support them in organizing, strengthening their leadership skills, and implementing strategic campaigns to drive policy and practice change that improves job quality.
What’s It For: This framework can help employers and their partners define job quality and design high-quality job opportunities in collaboration with workers, based on a menu of components of a quality job. The tool is built around three pillars that can help to attract and retain talent: foundational elements of a quality job such as wages and benefits, support elements such as training, and opportunity elements such as recognition.
What’s It For: This policy brief is designed to inform the development of paid family and medical leave policies that can reduce inequalities for workers. It provides guidance on specific elements of paid leave policies such as ideal duration, eligibility requirements, and outreach strategies. While the primary audience for this tool is policymakers, it could also be useful for businesses who are crafting or re-shaping their paid leave policies or for providers advising businesses and policymakers.
What’s It For: This toolkit from New America is designed to help managers develop return-to-work plans that center equity and inclusion in their management practices. Without intentional planning, transitioning back to in-person work could reinforce ableism as well as class, gender, non-caregiver, and race privileges. As society moves to rebuild and recover, careful consideration to avoid mishandling the return to on-site work is imperative. This toolkit has actionable resources to help managers gather input from employees, understand legal requirements surrounding the return to in-person work, and select equitable best practices. Employers may find this tool useful for developing successful, equitable hybrid work models. Additionally, workforce development and worker advocacy professionals may find this toolkit helpful to share with their employer-partners.
Who’s It For: Worker Advocacy
What’s It For: This is a step-by-step guide to workplace organizing. It is designed to help frontline workers and their advocates form a union, one longstanding approach to improving job quality that offers a channel to voice feedback to employers.
What’s It For: This chapter in Good Jobs, Good Business – a toolkit for small business owners seeking to improve job quality – promotes strategies to strengthen employee engagement and create a strong workplace culture. Tactics include creating a culture of respect and trust, emphasizing company values, and allowing employees to participate in decision-making. This resource is designed for small business owners but can also been used by partners (including lenders and workforce development organizations) to coach businesses on job quality improvements with potential business benefits.
What’s It For: This chapter in Good Jobs, Good Business – a toolkit for small business owners seeking to improve job quality – includes an overview of the legal requirements of health benefits, the business case for providing them, and options for structuring these benefits. Designed for small business owners, this resource has also been used by partners (including lenders and workforce development organizations) to coach businesses on job quality improvements. It has applications for a range of organizations interested in adding or expanding health benefits, including nonprofits.
What’s It For: This discussion paper is designed to help Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) define and measure job quality. It defines a quality job as one that contains most (if not all) of five elements: a living wage, basic benefits, career-building opportunities, wealth-building opportunities, and a fair and engaging workplace. The paper offers impact measurement practices to assess and report on job quality to help CDFIs encourage and support their business borrowers to enhance the quality of jobs they offer. While this resource is written for lenders, it has applications for all practitioners seeking to define and measure job quality within a firm.
What’s It For: This chapter in Good Jobs, Good Business – a toolkit for small business owners seeking to improve job quality – provides guidance on supporting employees to save for retirement. It makes the case that having an employer-sponsored retirement plan can increase employee job satisfaction and retention and provide tax benefits for the business and its employees. This resource is designed for small business owners but has also been used by partners (including lenders and workforce development organizations) to coach businesses on job quality improvements with potential business benefits.
What’s It For: This chapter in Good Jobs, Good Business – a toolkit for small business owners seeking to improve job quality – focuses on the importance of stable and flexible scheduling in retaining a high quality workforce. It makes the business case for stable scheduling and provides practical instructions on crafting and implementing a scheduling policy. This resource is designed for small business owners but has also been used by partners (including lenders and workforce development organizations) to coach businesses on job quality improvements with potential business benefits.
What’s It For: This framework is a guide to creating an agreement between community organizations and real estate developers to help meet local needs and hold developers accountable over time. Community Benefits Agreements can include job quality specifications, such as stipulated wages and expectations of hiring community residents. These agreements can also include job quality benchmarks in the selection of tenants for a new development. As legally binding commitments, CBAs can be a useful tool in setting and enforcing long-term expectations for job quality.
What’s It For: This issue brief by PHI analyzes the impacts of recent policy changes in New York state impacting home care aides and defines what a quality job looks like for a caregiver. The elements of a quality job in this occupation are organized in three categories: compensation, opportunity, and supports. While designed for care workers, the framework has relevance across industries and application for all practitioners seeking to define and assess job quality in an organization.
What’s It For: In this paper, authors Karen L. Corman and Ryne C. Posey outline several key considerations for implementing a pay audit to assess pay disparities among current and incoming staff. Topics explored include the potential benefits and drawbacks of pay equity audits, the purpose and parameters of the audit, privilege considerations, practical guidance for conducting the audit, and post-audit considerations and remediation strategies. HR professionals and other individuals involved in conducting pay audits may find this resource useful. Additionally, those who work with employers may be interested in sharing this with their partners. You may access this downloadable document by clicking on the “PDF” symbol towards the top, right-hand side of the linked webpage.
What’s It For: This racial equity tool is designed to support workforce development organizations and practitioners to advance their racial equity practice. The assessment guides workforce development organizations and practitioners to evaluate their programs, operations, and culture in order to identify areas of strength and opportunities for growth. Practitioners can use the toolkit to explore approaches that support institutional racial equity, evaluate their current efforts, and plan next steps to strengthen their practices.
What’s It For: This toolkit provides leaders in the restaurant industry with practical resources for assessing, planning, and implementing steps to embed racial equity in workplace practices. Through partnerships with two restaurants, the toolkit highlights skills and tools critical to supporting restaurants on their racial equity journey and provides tangible examples to support implementation. This toolkit can help employers and their partners identify where racial bias may be operating in a restaurant’s policies and practices and implement solutions.
What’s It For: This 15-hour course, which can be completed over three weeks, provides an overview of employee ownership, including its benefits for employees and businesses, utility in succession planning, and effect on the economy. Enrollees can track their understanding through quizzes and a final assessment. A shareable certificate is provided upon completion.
What’s It For: The Food & Society Program at the Aspen Institute developed this set of one-pagers and infographics with simplified guidelines that aim to keep restaurant employees and customers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. This toolkit – also available in Spanish and Mandarin – contains a Diner Code of Conduct that lays out safety expectations for dine-in guests, restaurant operators, and restaurant workers. There is also a resource that provides practical, affordable, and accessible guidance on ventilation systems. Although written for food service employers, organizations that work with businesses may be interested in sharing this tool with restaurant operators in their networks.
What’s It For: The Racial Equity Toolkit provides a process and set of questions designed to analyze how policies, initiatives, programs, and budget issues benefit or burden communities of color. The toolkit can be used to guide the development, implementation, and evaluation of strategies and solicit input from community members and staff. Although the toolkit includes some information specific to the City of Seattle, it can be adapted by a range of stakeholders within and beyond local governments interested in centering racial equity in job quality strategies.
What’s It For: The Employee Ownership Toolkit is a step-by-step guide for transitioning a company to cooperative ownership. The experience of Smith Mountain Company is described in detail, helping bridge the gap between theory and practice. Definitions of certain technical terms, particularly concerning finance, are also provided.
What’s It For: This step-by-step guide by Upskill America, an initiative of the Economic Opportunities Program, and the Institute for Corporate Productivity details the steps to change an organization’s tuition assistance program to a tuition disbursement program, providing financial support for education up-front rather than offering reimbursement after a worker has completed a program. This simple change to the structure of a tuition assistance program has important job quality and equity implications; it can make education and upskilling accessible to workers who are eager to learn but lack access to resources to pay for school. This tool is useful for employers and all practitioners who work with them to strengthen job quality.
What’s It For: This calculator can help a provider or individual assess how a family’s change in income could affect public benefits from safety net programs (also known as the “benefits cliff”). This tool allows users to test scenarios at different earning levels and show results for all U.S. states. Businesses and their partners might use this tool as they consider the appropriate wage and benefits mix to enhance job quality and ensure economic stability for all workers.
What’s It For: This tool is designed to help policymakers and practitioners understand the extent of the pandemic’s effects on communities and inform race-conscious policies for an equitable recovery. The tracker uses the federal Household Pulse Survey to connect policymakers and practitioners to various data (e.g., on employment income loss, food insufficiency, mental health) that can be disaggregated by geography and race/ethnicity. Policymakers as well as practitioners in economic development, workforce development, and worker advocacy may find this tool useful to design strategies for an equitable recovery.
What’s It For: This toolkit by the Department of Labor provides steps and resources to start and register an apprenticeship program. When delivered appropriately and connected to advancement opportunities, apprenticeships can strengthen job quality by increasing worker stability and mobility. This toolkit could be particularly useful for a business or labor organization, a workforce intermediary, a community-based organization, or an education institution developing an apprenticeship program.
What’s It For: While workers are granted basic protections against discrimination under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, these rights are not always enforced. This fact sheet provides a step-by-step walkthrough of the EEOC filing process to take legal recourse against discrimination. Included are sections such as a description of your legal rights, information needed to file a charge, the investigation, the employer’s response, and mediation and settlement. This resource will be most useful for workers facing discrimination and their advocates.
What It’s For: This self-paced, mobile-friendly online training module is designed to provide frontline managers with guidance to develop, support, and retain young adult workers remotely. The module includes a remote work checklist to assess employees’ work-from-home needs. While this training is designed specifically for business managers of frontline talent, workforce and economic development organizations may find it useful to share with employers they work with to encourage more supportive and equitable supervisory practices. To download the module, you will need to complete the sign-up form.