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New tool helps employers improve job quality, business performance

April 7, 2022

Decades of research have shown than improving job quality improves organizational performance. A new tool, Job Quality Outcome Maps, connects 26 job characteristics with five key business outcomes to help employers improve frontline jobs and impact outcomes.

The maps were developed through a collaboration of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, Design Impact, and the Workforce & Organizational Research Center, drawing on existing research and field-testing specific job quality interventions using an inclusive, human-centered design process.

Including the voice of frontline workers is integral to this process, both in identifying priority job quality issues and co-creating solutions. The Job Quality Outcome Maps provide a starting point for organizations to identify the outcome they want to improve, consider the key job characteristics that influence this outcome, and reflect on what they hope to learn or achieve through their job redesign efforts.

Measuring pre and post workplace results through the use of surveys, interviews, and other data, is also a key component in testing new practices and understanding their impact.

As an example, a Kentucky provider of care homes used this process to focus on its CNAs’ turnover intention and burnout, key outcomes that are associated with autonomy, perceived support, satisfaction with wages and benefits, scheduling practices, work-life conflict, opportunities for training and advancement, and other job characteristics. Based on feedback and insights from its CNA workforce, the organization:

- implemented online scheduling
- changed its shift lengths from 8 to 12 hours
- worked with Verizon to offer cell phones to workers at a reduced rate, and
- partnered with the local transit authority to offer free bus passes

Making these relatively basic changes has yielded impressive results. The online scheduling system has improved communications and increased CNAs’ sense of connection with each other. The 12-hour shifts have proved to be much more efficient, and the bus passes have boosted retention. And the process of eliciting CNAs’ input and then acting on this information has built trust and engagement.

Along with turnover intention and burnout, the mapping tool uses three other key outcomes – commitment to the organization (i.e., a worker’s sense of belonging), individual performance, and engagement at work – to guide job redesign.

Visit the National Fund for Workforce Solutions to review the Job Quality Outcome Maps, access a Guide for Employers that outlines a process for using them, and download a Guide Activity Workbook.

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