Originally posted: May 11, 2020
Last updated: September 1, 2021
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 workforce development.
↓ Tools and Resources Below the Box ↓
- Job Quality Tools Library Homepage
- Index of Tools by Field
Tools for Workforce Development (Alphabetical by Source)
What’s It For: This handbook offers guidance and instructions for using a set of tools to measure the value that a workforce development organization delivers to its business clients, such as through improved productivity and skills. This business value assessment begins with planning for the assessment and then using the included Excel tool and questionnaires to complete the assessment. It also includes information about why these assessments are valuable, potential limitations, and who should be included in the process, along with case studies that describe how workforce service providers partnered with businesses to measure results.
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 resource provides guidance related to seven health and safety questions that small businesses have grappled with since the start of the pandemic. For each question, the authors include practical information, examples of steps taken by other small businesses, and links to helpful resources. Topics covered include creating an equitable and inclusive environment, recognizing and responding to worker’ caregiving responsibilities, and communicating about and ensuring workplace safety. Although written for small business owners, this resource may also be useful for larger employers as well as individuals that work with businesses, including economic development, investing and lending, and workforce development professionals.
Who’s It For: Workforce Development
What’s It For: This question bank includes targeted questions that workforce development professionals can ask retail business representatives to have learning-focused conversations and deepen relationships. The tool includes questions to help understand a business and its workforce, employee engagement, development and advancement in a firm, and wages and scheduling practices.
Who’s It For: Workforce Development
What’s It For: Opportunities and advantages are not equally distributed, and new policies and practices could perpetuate racial inequities. These ten questions help workforce providers consider racial equity when developing or implementing workforce policies. These questions ask you to consider the design, access, impact, and operations of any workforce program in order to work toward more equitable outcomes. The tool is listed second under Publications, Studies and Reports.
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: Labor laws can support job quality for workers — but only insofar as they are enforced and that workers know about these laws and can assert their rights without fear of retaliation. This detailed series includes briefs and webinars that highlight promising practices for implementing and upholding labor standards, including uncovering and investigating violations and enacting enforcement. The briefs are on topics including compliance, investigations, and collections. These resources explain the role that public agencies, community-based organizations, businesses, and advocates can play in ensuring that basic labor standards are upheld.
What’s It For: These toolkits serve as guides to support individuals and organizations to interrupt biases in business processes such as hiring and recruiting, performance evaluations, assignments, meetings, and compensation. The toolkits, which are designed to interrupt biases at the organizational, supervisory, and individual levels, can support in operationalizing inclusive workplace practices. The toolkits also distill literature on bias into actionable steps. To access the toolkits, click the “View Toolkits” button in the center of the screen.
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.
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 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: This assessment tool analyzes the job quality of frontline workers through measures including retention, increase in average earnings, benefits access and quality, and diversity and inclusion. Using automated scoring and reporting, it benchmarks companies to industry peers and identifies and tracks potential human capital improvements. Unlike other assessment tools featured here, the benchmarks rely on publicly reported data rather than self-reporting by companies. This tool has value for a range of employers, including anchor institutions that can use it in their procurement processes.
What’s It For: The Good Jobs Institute created this scorecard to assess how well a business is delivering value to customers, employees, and investors. The employee scorecard measures performance across 9 “essential elements” of a quality job (see the framework included in Section 1). Employers and their partners can use this scorecard to build the case for practice change and set targets and track progress towards 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: These two indexes measure the true cost of living across different family sizes and in different localities in the United States. The BEST Index is a budget standard that can be adjusted for the needs of more than 400 family types, and the Elder Index measures the income that older adults need to age in place with dignity.
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: This toolkit is designed to equip organizations and businesses with strategies to support employee mental health during the coronavirus pandemic. The guide can be used as an informational document or as a presentation to leaders and managers, including human resources teams and organizational leaders. Included are recommendations to build a culture of empathy and support, links to external resources, and examples of company practices. Individuals supporting businesses or workers may also find the toolkit useful to share with employers to encourage practices that support employee mental health.
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 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 tool is designed to guide workforce practitioners through the development and growth of industry partnerships that bring together employers, service providers, and workers. While industry partnerships may form to address talent needs, as the National Fund notes, these partnerships can become an important avenue for addressing job quality and workplace inequities over time. The toolkit includes an assessment to help strengthen partnerships as well as guidance and resources related to five areas: employer and industry engagement; stakeholder engagement; data-informed strategy and continuous learning; operational capacity; and racial equity and inclusion. Workforce and economic development may find the toolkit useful to embed job quality in industry partnership approaches.
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 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 playbook can help businesses and the partners who advise them to design and implement paid family leave policies. The step-by-step guide is helpful in crafting a plan that includes leave duration, portion of pay covered, and other guidelines. It also explores the benefits of implementing paid family leave, such as improved retention and employee engagement. In addition to employers, nonprofit organizations seeking to strengthen their internal paid leave policies could also make use of this resource.
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: This training curriculum supports direct care supervisors to strengthen communication, critical thinking, teamwork, and problem-solving skills. Curriculum content includes improving active listening, learning how to ask questions, and giving and receiving feedback. While designed for direct care organizations, this curriculum has applications for practitioners across fields seeking to encourage supportive supervisory practices that are critical to job quality.
What’s It For: This toolkit includes a primer to workplace financial wellness services, questions to consider when exploring these services, and employer experiences with provision of these services. These supports can contribute to job quality when paired with adequate compensation by helping employees manage finances and build assets. This resource includes descriptions of common services, such as financial counseling and coaching, debt management, savings products, and online financial management tools. This tool is most useful for businesses interested in adding or expanding financial wellness benefits. Partners could also share this tool with businesses or could use it to strengthen their own organizations’ financial wellness supports.
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 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 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 tool supports leaders to use data to assess the extent to which observed disparities are due to policies, practices, and processes that have a racial dimension. This six-step tool can be used by decision-makers in any organization to analyze outcomes and disparities.
Who’s It For: Workforce Development
What’s It For: Workforce development practitioners can use this how-to guide to build capacity to strengthen relationships with employers. Turn to page 8 for instructions on finding and using local labor market information to help jobseekers make educated job decisions and to inform employer engagement, and relevant programming. While the guide is designed for workforce professionals in the Chicago area, many of the listed resources are national or have equivalents in other regions.
Who’s It For: Workforce Development
What’s It For: Workforce development practitioners can use this how-to guide to build capacity to strengthen relationships with employers. It includes instructions on researching employers and labor markets, preparing for meetings with employers, talking about job quality, pitching services, and deepening employer relationships.
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: 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 San Diego Workforce Partnership developed this list of seven actionable steps workforce development practitioners can take to assess and improve job quality. Strategies relate to spending, employer engagement, partnerships, building worker power, and measuring success. The Workforce Partnership also provides a job quality framework and list of job quality indicators. Although designed for workforce practitioners, this tool can also be informative for others interested in strategies to improve job quality, including policymakers and economic development professionals.
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: This tool provides information about ALICE households, an acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, and Employed. These are households that earn above the Federal Poverty Level but not enough to afford their most basic needs, including housing, food, transportation, and health care. The tool provides a national overview and state- and county-level information about the percentage of ALICE households. Users can explore data by household factors including age, family composition, and race/ethnicity. United for ALICE has also published research focused on financial hardship in Black households. This tool has relevance for policymakers and employers focused on policies and practices related to wages. Organizations who support workers or employers may also find this tool useful.
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’s It For: This toolkit is a collection of nearly 60 workplace policies that can help support, stabilize, and retain employees in low-wage work. The toolkit also contains sections on gender-based violence workers may be experiencing in their home lives and second-chance employment for formerly incarcerated individuals After a quick registration for a free account, the Employer Toolkit search feature can help you identify specific policy recommendations, many of which include sample HR policy language that companies can draw from. One section provides guidance for developing supportive paid leave policies, which may be useful for both employers and the practitioners who work with them.
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.