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Job Quality Toolkit

Upper left: woman in a hard hat. Upper right: vertical triptych of photos with man on a phone, woman in a kitchen, and man that appears to be a first responder. Words: Job Quality Tookit. Beneath that, words: Strategies and actions to help small-to-medium sized organizations recruit and retain a high-performing workforce. NIST and Baldrige logos below that.

An outgrowth of a three-year partnership with the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) and U.S. Department of Labor to support various workforce excellence initiatives, the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program (BPEP) led the effort to develop a Job Quality Toolkit, a menu of vetted strategies and actions for leaders and their workforces to collaboratively choose from to increase the quality of jobs offered. The Baldrige Excellence Framework® served as a foundation for the easy-to-use toolkit that is intended for organizations of all kinds—but especially for those that are small and medium sized.

To develop the toolkit, BPEP conducted a thorough literature search and engaged with more than 60 national experts, nonprofits, businesses, academics, and government leaders. The toolkit was formally launched by both Secretaries of Commerce and Labor on August 4, 2022.

The Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) of the National Institute of Standards and Technology has adopted and is distributing the Job Quality Toolkit. This includes a partnership with AmericaWorks, which is hosting an online Job Quality Employer Assessment. Another implementing partner is Public Private Strategies Institute, which received a grant associated with its job quality initiative. Aspects of the Job Quality Toolkit are also incorporated in DOC’s National Technical Information Service Notice of Funding Opportunity and the CHIPS (Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors) and Science Act Notice of Funding Opportunity.

Drivers of Job Quality

JQT Hiring Test
Credit: romul 014/Shutterstock

Recruitment & Hiring

Actively recruit a diverse pool of applicants. Implement skills-based hiring that only requires the education, credentials, and experience needed to do the job. Be intentional about onboarding and retaining workers.

JQT Benefits Test
Credit: romul 014/Shutterstock


Seek workers’ input on needed and desired benefits, such as paid leave, health insurance, and a retirement plan. Provide them and encourage their use.


Man in a wheelchair working at a table with diverse co-workers
Credit: wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Accessibility

Make equal opportunity a core value and practiced norm. Foster systems where all workers feel respected and empowered in the workplace. Identify and remove systemic barriers to DEIA.

Three co-workers holding hands above their heads feeling empowered.
Credit: Mladen Zivkovic/Shutterstock

Empowerment & Representation

Ensure that workers have a meaningful voice, without fear of retaliation. Enable workers to contribute to decisions about their work, how it is performed, and organizational direction.


Two mechanics talking about a safe working environment.
Credit: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock

Job Security & Working Conditions

Ensure a safe, healthy, and accessible workplace and offer job security. Minimize temporary or contractor labor solutions, using such workers mainly to adjust for short-term needs. Assess and
schedule hours that are adequate and predictable.

Diverse co-workers meeting about a project at a table.
Credit: DisobeyArt/Shutterstock

Organizational Culture

Demonstrate through explicit behaviors and norms of leadership that all workers belong, are valued, and contribute meaningfully to the organization. Assess workers’ engagement and feelings of respect.


Two woman discussing content on an iPad.
Credit: Prathankarnpap/Shutterstock


Provide an equitable living wage to all workers and ensure fair compensation practices.

Two men working on their graphic design skills.
Credit: Olena Yakobchuk/Shutterstock

Skills & Career Advancement

Provide opportunities and tools for workers’ self-realization and advancement in their current jobs, within the organization, and outside it.


Job Quality Baldrige Style

See how Baldrige Award recipients demonstrate many of the strategies and actions recommended in the Job Quality Toolkit.



  • Baldrige Customer Service
    (301) 975-2036
    100 Bureau Drive, M/S 1020
    Gaithersburg, MD 20899-1020
Created February 15, 2023, Updated October 17, 2023