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Skills & Career Advancement

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

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

Strategies and Actions

Offer multiple ways for workforce members to gain skills and progress.

  • Equitably—and transparently—offer skills training for increasing levels of competency.
  • Respond to workers’ personal needs and your organization’s needs.
  • Communicate clear, transparent career paths within the organization, along with the skills, competencies, and experiences needed to progress on those paths.
  • Offer training opportunities that lead to industry-recognized credentials such as a certificate, license, or degree.
  • Support organizational performance improvement and intelligent risk taking and reinforce ethical business practices.
  • Expand position descriptions to reflect new responsibilities and roles.

Make skills building free.

  • Offer scholarships or tuition reimbursement for local and online educational programs.
  • Offer Registered Apprenticeship programs for new and incumbent workers.
  • Establish paid internships and school-to-work programs as pathways to full-time positions.

Cross-train employees.

  • Cross-train workers such that employees and managers have ownership and specialization over a specific department but can step in to help other departments when needed.

Provide ongoing performance reviews and promotions.

  • Ensure that workers meet with managers at least twice per year to review their career paths and development areas.
  • Establish clear and transparent promotion pathways that prioritize internal candidates.

Ensure performance management and development.

  • Establish a performance management system that uses compensation, rewards, recognition, and other incentives to encourage high performance, intelligent risk taking, and a customer and business focus.
  • Ensure that part-time work does not adversely impact career advancement.
  • Create clear and transparent off- and on-ramps to full-time work.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of your learning and development programs.
  • Examine learning outcomes with respect to worker engagement measures and key business results.
  • Ensure that performance management development processes promote equity and inclusion for all workforce groups and segments.

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 March 31, 2023, Updated April 1, 2023