OE21 Guideline: 5.2a Workforce Engagement

Strategic Objective:

Strategic Objective:

Build and sustain a workforce conducive to high performance & full potential

Quality Objective:

Quality Objective:

Foster organizational culture, boost engagement, implement high performance

Approved: DD-MMM-YY

Approved by: (Name) Chair, Workforce Focus Team (WFT)



Lead: Workforce Focus Team (WFT)  Support: All focus teams


VALUE ADDED: Workforce Engagement and Performance


  1. Assessment of organizational culture and workforce satisfaction based on workforce survey inputs 

  2. Measures workforce performance in the key areas

  3. Measures workforce performance by work unit (teams)

  4. Allocates rewards to work units based on five semi-annual performance scores

  5. Uses work unit scores to determine the extent of rewards to work units and individuals

  6. Uses all of the above to improve workforce engagement and performance


5.2a Workforce Engagement (Policy)


The organization has adopted the Baldrige Framework Item 5.2a Workforce Engagement and Performance as the internal policy, including Assessment of Workforce Engagement, subdivided into the following sub-items:


5.2a(1) Drivers of Engagement - The organization determines the key drivers of workforce engagement, including drivers for different workforce groups and segments. 

5.2a(2) Assessment of Engagement - The organization assesses workforce engagement using methods and measures to determine workforce satisfaction and engagement. The assessment methods and measures differ across workforce groups and segments, and includes other indicators to assess and improve workforce engagement. 

5.2b Organizational Culture (Policy) 


The organization fosters an organizational culture characterized by open communication, high performance, and an engaged workforce. The organization reinforces its culture and ensures that it supports the organization's vision and values, promotes equity and inclusion, and benefits from the diversity of ideas, cultures, and thinking of the workforce. The organization works to empower the workforce to work together for the best of the organization, its customers, and its stakeholders. 

The organization uses the Work Unit Performance and Rewards process to motivate the workforce to work together and to stay engaged and focused on measuring, analyzing, and improving organizational results. 


5.2a Workforce Engagement and Performance (Outputs)


Voice of the Workforce Assessments
Work Unit Performance Assessments

Work Unit Managers Toolkit (5.2a-WFT-OE21 ENGAGE.xlsx)

5.2a-WFT-Engage Data Upload (survey)

Work Unit Rewards Model (5.2a-WFT-OE21 REWARDS.xlsx)
Workforce Excellence Action Plan (updates)​

5.2a Workforce Engagement.PNG

5.2a Flow Diagram (Figure 5.2a-1 Workforce Engagement and Performance)

Inputs to 5.2a Workforce Engagement

  • Names, roles, and emails of all employees, managers, and executives


  • Work Unit (or department) titles and codes for all work units


  • 5.2a-WFT-OE21 ENGAGE (.xlsx) - tools for productivity, quality, capacity, capability, cost and innovation

  • 5.2a-WFT-Engage Rewards Data Upload (survey)

Measurement and Analysis Tools and Techniques

  • 5.2a-WFT-OE21 ENGAGE (.xlsx) - also referred to as Work Unit Managers Toolkit

  • 5.2a-WFT-Engage Rewards Data Upload (survey)

  • 5.2a-WFT-OE21 REWARDS (.xlsx)

Outputs from 5.2a Workforce Engagement

Milestone 1 - Value Stream Map
Milestone 2 - Workforce Engagement Assessment
Milestone 3 - Improved Organizational Culture 
Milestone 4 - Work Unit Managers Toolkit (five benchmarks)

Milestone 5 - Work Unit Rewards allocation (by person and by work unit)  
Milestone 6 - Workforce Engagement Action Plan and Metrics

Implementation Instructions


Task 5.2a-1 - Create the Value Stream Map - The Value Stream Map is often used in manufacturing and other process flows in order to document the steps from customer receipt of order to delivery and support of the order. In the OE21 system, the Value Stream Map is used aa a higher level, organization-wide documented flow of processes used by all Work Units in the organization. Figure 5.2a-1 presents an example organization-level Value Stream Map for the Elafino Case Study (Sports Center for hockey, figure skating and fitness).


Figure 5.2a-1 Organization-Level Value Stream Map (Example)

The OE21 approach to creating an organization-level Value Stream Map is as follows:

  1. Begin with a list of all Work Units (shown in right column of Figure 5.2a-1).

  2. Sort the Work Units from beginning (product/service definition and creation) to end Financial Management), similar to the flow in Figure 5.2a-1.

  3. Input the work statements (center column of Figure 5.2a-1) for all Work Units.

  4. Check to make sure ALL Work Units have their logical place in the Value Stream.

The benefits of the organization-level Value Stream Map include:

  • All Work Unit managers and employees understand how they fit into the overall workflow, especially what Work Units they receive work outputs from and what Work Units they provide work outputs to.

  • Understanding Work Unit flows enables better communications and efficiency between and across all Work Units.

  • The Value Stream makes it easier to measure internal customer satisfaction between Work Units. Example: Figure 5.2a-1 Step 9 (Customer Requests, Intake orders) is performed by the Admissions/Enrollment Work Unit people. The outputs of Step 9 go to Step 10 Requirements Response, performed by Hockey or Skating Managers. By asking the Hockey or Skating Managers about the extent they are satisfied with the inputs received from the Admissions/Enrollment Work Unit, a good measure of internal customer satisfaction with quality of inputs received is possible. 

  • The Value Stream Map is useful when implementing the 5.2a-WFT-OE21 ENGAGE (.xlsx) tools. One of the work outputs used in ENGAGE is the Quality of outputs, as viewed by Internal or External customers. Both Internal and External customers are found in the Value Stream Map. Examples:

    • When Work Unit "x" outputs are received by Work unit "y" a Customer Internal quality error (CI) might be detected by "y" and reported back to "x"

    • When Work Unit "y" outputs are received by outside customers, a Customer External quality error (CE) might be detected by the customer and reported back to the organization. CE errors are considered more critical than CI errors. 

​Once all work units have reviewed and verified the accuracy of the Value Stream Map, it may be placed into regular use in the organization. 

  • PROGRESS: You have reached Milestone 1 (good work). Input the status [15%] on the organization's OE21 Intranet Main page alongside the title of this standard.

Task 5.2a-2 - Conduct the WFT 5.2a Workforce Engagement Assessment - The Workforce Engagement Assessment is administered by the WFT and facilitator. This assessment is associated with all workforce members, including employees, contractors, managers, and senior leaders. This assessment digs deep into individuals feelings about the organization and includes these attributes:

  • Assistance

  • Availability

  • Career

  • Communications

  • Compliments

  • Cost of Quality

  • Employment Referral

  • Engagement (Low, Uncommitted or High)

  • Flexibility

  • Focus

  • Innovation

  • Leadership

  • Managers

  • Mission Rewards

  • Referrals

  • Resources

  • Rewards

  • Schedules

  • Work Impact

  • Work Quality

  • Work Value

  • Workload

  • World Value

The key tools used in this assessment are:

  • 5.2a-WFT-S2 Workforce Engagement (survey)

  • 5.2a-WFT-A2 Workforce Engagement Analysis (.xlsx)

This is an important and sensitive assessment and the following guidelines are highly recommended:

  • Guideline 1 - This assessment should involve all employees of the organization, including workers, contractors, supervisors, managers, and senior executives. 

  • Guideline 2 - This assessment should be anonymous! For this reason, after the survey part of the assessment is conducted, the HR Manager should examine the results, and make sure all references (names, positions, emails, IP addresses, etc.) are REMOVED from the survey export file before its results are inserted into the 5.2a-WFT-A2 Workforce Engagement Analysis (.xlsx) file.

Table 5.2a-1 presents implementation steps, actions, results and references for this assessment.

The output of the model organizes the scores (0-10) into three groups:

• Low Engagement - The number (and %) of responders who scored 0 to 6
• Uncommitted - The number (and %) of responders who scored 7 or 8
• High Engagement - The number (and %) of responders who scored 9 or 10

Figure 5.2a-2 presents implementation steps, actions, results and references for this assessment.

A_5.2a workforce engagement Metrics tabl

Table 5.2a-1 - Implementation of Workforce Engagement Assessment

Figure 5.2a-3 is an example of the Workforce Engagement Dashboard 1. This dashboard shows engagement scores in three groups: low, uncommitted and high engagement.


Figure 5.2a-4  is an example of the Workforce Engagement Dashboard 2. This dashboard shows engagement scores for 22 categories associated with engagement-related performance. 


Figure 5.2a-3 Workforce Engagement Survey Results Dashboard 1

WFT 5.2a_dash2.png

Figure 5.2a-4 Workforce Engagement Survey Results Dashboard 2

Additional comments:

  • Since the 5.2a-WFT-S2 Workforce Engagement (survey) is anonymous, the Leadership Focus Team (LFT) doesn't know who belongs to which engagement group (high, uncommitted, low).

  • The Workforce Engagement survey captures narrative improvement suggestions from all those in the Low Engagement group (0-6). These comments are useful to understand and improve this Low Engagement group. The WFT and HR managers should pay attention to suggestions from the low engagement group in order to try to reduce costly terminations, replacement, and on-boarding of new managers and employees. 

  • PROGRESS: You have reached Milestone 2 (good work). Input the status [30%] on the organization's OE21 Intranet Main page alongside the title of this standard.

Task 5.2a-3 Improve the Organizational Culture - To foster an organizational culture that is characterized by open communication, high performance, and an engaged workforce, the Workforce Focus Team (WFT) must assess and improve the organizational culture. The following characteristics of the organizational culture should be assessed, and when necessary should be improved:

  • Pay and pay increases

  • Processes for effective problem solving

  • Processes for effective grievance resolution

  • Worker development and career opportunities

  • Managers and supervisors management and support

  • Workplace safety and security

  • Workload

  • Communications Effectiveness

  • Workforce cooperation with workers and managers

  • Teamwork and teamwork opportunities

  • Empowerment

  • Job security

  • Appreciation of diverse workforce individuals and groups needs

The Human Resources Plan is the ideal document for policies, procedures, and processes that relate to the organizational culture. An excellent guide for use in updating the Human Resources Plan is found in the following sections of the 2022 Baldrige Framework Criteria Commentary

  • High performance. The focus of this item is on a workforce capable of achieving high performance. High performance is characterized by flexibility, innovation, empowerment and personal accountability, knowledge and skill sharing, excellent communication and information flow, alignment with organizational objectives, customer focus, and rapid response to changing business needs and marketplace requirements.

  • Workforce engagement. Many studies have shown that high levels of workforce engagement have a significant, positive impact on organizational performance. Research has indicated that engagement is characterized by performing meaningful work; having clear organizational direction and accountability for performance; and having a safe, trusting, effective, and cooperative work environment. In many organizations, employees and volunteers are drawn to and derive meaning from their work because it is aligned with their values.

  • Workforce engagement drivers. Although satisfaction with pay and pay increases are important, these two factors generally are not sufficient to ensure workforce engagement and high performance. Some examples of other factors to consider are the effective problem and grievance resolutions; development and career opportunities; the work environment and management support; workplace safety and security; the workload; effective communication, cooperation, and teamwork; the degree of empowerment; job security; appreciation of the differing needs of diverse workforce groups; and organizational support for serving customers.


  • Factors inhibiting engagement. It is equally important to understand and address factors inhibiting engagement. You could develop an understanding of these factors through workforce surveys, focus groups, blogs, or exit interviews with departing workforce members.


  • Compensation and recognition. Compensation and recognition systems should be matched to your work systems. Compensation and recognition might be tied to demonstrated skills. Approaches might also include profit-sharing; mechanisms for expressing simple “thank yous”; rewards for the exemplary team or unit performance; linkage to customer engagement measures, the achievement of organizational strategic objectives, or other key organizational objectives.


  • Other workforce engagement indicators. In addition to direct measures of workforce engagement through formal or informal surveys, other indicators include absenteeism, turnover, grievances, and strikes.


  • Workforce development needs. Depending on the nature of your organization’s work, workforce responsibilities, and stage of organizational and personal development, workforce development needs might vary significantly. These needs might include gaining skills for knowledge sharing, communication, teamwork, and problem-solving; interpreting and using data; exceeding customer requirements; analyzing and simplifying processes; reducing waste and cycle time; working with and motivating volunteers; and setting priorities based on strategic alignment or cost‐benefit analysis.


  • Education needs might also include advanced skills in new technologies or necessary skills, such as reading, writing, language, arithmetic, and computer skills.

(End of extract from Baldrige Framework Criteria Commentary)


The Human Resources Plan should fully utilize the results of the 5.2a-WFT Workforce Engagement Assessment outputs, including suggestions from the workforce. The HR Manager and WFT should create, update and finalize this key document. The LFT and senior leaders approve the Human Resources Plan.

  • PROGRESS: You have reached Milestone 3 (good work). Input the status [40%] on the organization's OE21 Intranet Main page alongside the title of this standard.

Task 5.2a-4 Implement Work Unit Managers Toolkit - The OE21 ENGAGE tools are packaged together in a single workbook named OE21 ENGAGE (xlsx). This workbook is for use by Work Unit Managers to plan and manage ongoing work performed by their work unit team. The OE21 ENGAGE tools are designed for all types of organization managers (business, nonprofit, government). The population of organization managers is significant: over 275 million managers worldwide and over 8 million in the USA.

To meet the needs of the large manager’s population, the OE21 ENGAGE tools are designed to help managers measure, manage and improve the following key attributes of organization performance goals: 

  • Productivity - The Work Unit Manager’s productivity goal is to efficiently use labor, non-labor (materials, suppliers, equipment, facilities, etc. as well as capital in order to produce unit(s) of output. Learn more.


  • Quality - The Work Unit Manager’s quality goal is to ensure that internal or external customers view the outputs of the organization as high quality and acceptable as compared to other alternatives. Internal customers are other work units inside the organization who receive outputs of the manager’s work unit. External customers are the outside consumers of the organization’s products, services or other outputs.


  • Capability/Capacity - The Work Unit Manager’s capability and capacity goals are to maintain or hire the right number of workforce contributors with the right training, credentials, education, experience, understanding of job instructions and processes, and demonstrated ability to do the assigned jobs, and complete assigned goals. Capacity includes making sure that future, capable workforce members are hired, trained, and ready to meet changing work schedules and demands.  


  • Cost -The Work Unit Manager’s cost goal is to manage and control work unit costs within the organization’s allocated budgets for the work unit, including labor hours, and non-labor dollars (materials, suppliers, facilities, equipment, tools, etc.). 

  • Innovation - The Work Unit Manager’s innovation goal is to cultivate intelligent risk-taking, to pursue opportunities that deliver a positive customer experience, and to help simplify internal work processes efficiency and effectiveness, reduce waste, avoid rework or customer complaints or returns, and maximize the value of the organization to all of its stakeholders (workforce, customers, outside owners or investors, and the community.   

Implementation instructions for the Work Unit Managers Toolkit workbook is published on a separate page since it has substantial content. Once the tools in the toolkit are implemented, the output is a Rewards Upload survey used to feed into the OE21 REWARDS model.


Go to Work Unit Managers Toolkit.

When you have finished implementing the Work Unit Managers Toolkit models, you have achieved a major milestone. 

PROGRESS: You have reached Milestone 4 (excellent work). Input the status [70%] on the organization's OE21 Intranet Main page alongside the title of this standard.

Task 5.2a-5 OE21 ENGAGE (Rewards Upload) - The OE21 ENGAGE model includes a tab named Rewards Upload, an example of which is displayed in Figure 5a-5. 





















Figure 5a-5 OE21 ENGAGE Rewards Upload

Fig 5.2a-14.PNG

As shown in Figure 5a-13, the Rewards Upload tab is a simple matrix of formula that pull together the five key attributes used to create performance-based Rewards:

  • Productivity % score pulled from Work Manager tab.

  • Quality % score pulled from Work Manager tab.

  • Capability % score pulled from Capability Tools tab

  • Cost % score pulled from Accounting Work Unit Report analysis formulas

  • Innovation % score pulled from Innovation tab.


The % scores for these five attributes are averages from 3 months data leading to mid-year and end of year score (%) The Rewards Upload Survey is used by all Work Unit Managers to upload the data in their Rewards Upload tab into the survey system (surveymethods.com).


Link to survey: Rewards Upload Survey.

OE21 REWARDS Workbook- When all Work Unit Managers rewards uploads are completed, the Human Resources Manager export the results as a single Excel file, from the survey system and inserts this file into the SMdata tab of the OE21 REWARDS workbook. The SMdata tab automatically populates the Rewards tab of this workbook. Figure 5.1a-6 presents an example of the Rewards Table results.

Fig 5.2a-15 L.PNG

Rewards tab (left side)

Fig 5.2a-15 R.PNG

Rewards tab (right side)

Figure 5.2a-6 Rewards tab of OE21 REWARDS workbook

Rewards Table data


The data input at the top of the Rewards Table includes:

  • Start and End Dates - of the rewards period (normally six months)

  • Value of Rewards for the Period - example shows $10,000. 

    • Note that the Value of Rewards is set by senior leadership for each rewards period. The senior leaders have the flexibility to set this value in proportion to overall organization results (e.g. profit or net operating returns). In some government and nonprofit organizations, the senior leaders have the flexibility to set the Value of Rewards as Points (e.g. 10,000 points). Points may be used to allocate other types of non-financial rewards or benefits, such as days off, special events tickets, etc.  

  • Max Reward Per Person - a formula that divides Value of Rewards ($ or Points) by the total number of workers in all work units 

  • Total Workers - The total number of workers in all work units


The data in the Rewards Table include the following:

  • Responses - number of work unit manager uploads (all are required)

  • Name - Name of work unit manager

  • Employee ID - ID number of the work unit manager

  • Role/Job Title - of the work unit manager

  • Work Unit Title - of the work unit

  • Workers - number of workers in the work unit

  • Productivity % - from the Rewards Upload Survey

  • Quality % - from the Rewards Upload Survey

  • Capability % -  from the Rewards Upload Survey

  • Cost % -  from the Rewards Upload Survey

  • Innovation % -  from the Rewards Upload Survey

  • Average % - a formula that averages productivity, quality, capability, cost, and innovation % scores, and divides the average by 5 (max points)

  • $ (or Points) per Person - a formula that multiplies the Max Reward Per Person times the Average % - this value is the amount given to each individual in the work unit.

  • $ Per Work Unit -  a formula that multiplies the Workers (number in work unit) times the $ (or Points) per Person. This give the total amount of dollars or points awarded to each work unit. 


At the top right of the Rewards Table are two additional calculations:

  • Total Rewards Allocated this Period - a formula that sums all $ Per Work Unit values into the total rewards allocated this period (normally six months).


  • Amount Remaining for Carry-Over - a formula that subtracts the Total Rewards Allocated this Period from the Value of Rewards for the Period. Senior leadership decides what to do with this amount - either carry it over and add it to the next rewards period - or place it back in the financial budget for other uses. 

PROGRESS: You have reached Milestone 5 (good work). Input the status [90%] on the organization's OE21 Intranet Main page alongside the title of this standard.

PROGRESS: You have reached Milestone 4 (good work). Input the status [85%] on the organization's OE21 Intranet Main page alongside the title of this standard.

Task 5.2a-6 - Integrate Assessment Action Plans into Workforce Excellence Action Plan - The Workforce Engagement Assessment and Work Unit Performance and Rewards Assessments  (Action Plan tabs) may include tasks that should be integrated into the 5.0-WFT-P Workforce Excellence Action Plan. The WFT reviews the Action Plan tabs, and as appropriate, the WFT integrates one or more of the tasks into the Workforce Excellence Action Plan. This integration requires additional resources and approval of the added tasks, resources, schedules, and budgets for the plan. 

Task 5.2a-7 - Select 5.2a Workforce Engagement Metrics.

NOTICE: If the organization has an existing Performance Measurement System (PMS), then the internal process is followed to select and review 5.2 Workforce Engagement-related measures. If the OE21 tools are used, the following guidelines apply.

Guideline 1 - Select Key Results Indicators (KRI). The KRIs are commonly called Key Performance Indicators (KPI). Examples of KRIs for 5.2 Workforce Engagement are as follows:

  • High-Performance Rewards (Average Score % per quarter) - from Rewards Table 5.2a-5 

  • Workforce Turnover Rate

  • Workforce Safety Incidents


Guideline 2 - Figure 5.2a-7  presents the implementation steps, actions, references, and instructions sources used for 5.2a Workforce Engagement results.

A_5.2a workforce engagement Metrics tabl

Figure 5.2a-7 Implementation and Review of 5.2a Workforce Engagement Metrics

Task 5.2a-8 - Review 5.2a Workforce Engagement Metrics - Conduct regular (at least monthly) reviews of Standard 5.2a Measures. Reviews of KRIs are critical to show whether overall organization performance is moving toward target levels, and key intended outcomes (KIOs) for Workforce Excellence.

  • Correlation: Where possible, the KRD (drivers) are correlated with KRI (indicators) to determine if and how much the KRD Action Plans are helping boost KPI performance.

At this point, regular performance reviews are conducted and attended by the Workforce Focus Team.

  • Figure 5.2a-8 provides an example KRI for 5.2a Workforce Engagement

  • Figure 5.2a-9 provides an example KRD for 5.2a Workforce Engagement

PROGRESS: You have reached Milestone 6 (good work). Input the status [100%] on the organization's OE21 Intranet Main page alongside the title of this standard.

WU Performance Score Trend.png

Figure 5.2a-8  KRI Work Unit Performance Score 

Figure 5.2a-8  Work Unit Performance Score 

5.2a1 KPD.PNG

Figure 5.2a-9  KRD Work Unit Engagement