Be Aware - 7.3
It's that time of year. You've had a management meeting, decided your policies, reviewed your objectives and made decisions about your strategic direction. Well Done.
Now, don't forget to communicate it to your staff.
It never ceases to amaze me how many times I find myself in an assessment where the only people I see are the management team.
Business Improvement, be it Quality, Security, Safety or Sustainability, cannot simply happen behind the closed doors of a management meeting. Communication is key to your success.
Clause 7.3 in the latest ISO Standards talks about Awareness, but what does it mean? Let's have a look at ISO9001 for example...
The organization shall ensure that persons doing work under the organization’s control are aware of: a) the quality policy; (This is important. Your Policy should be reflective of your motivation for work to ISO. If people don't know about it, how can they act on it? That's not to say your staff should be able to quote the policy verbatim but, they should understand what it means and where to find it.)
b) relevant quality objectives; (Relevant is the word here. Not all objectives will be relevant to all parts of your business but, when its your team who will be delivering the performance, they need to know why and how well they are doing.)
c) their contribution to the effectiveness of the quality management system, including the benefits of improved performance; (All staff make a contribution. This may be through their assigned work or, through their vigilance in identifying where potential could arise. Improved performance means less repeated effort, less waste. Who knows, if the company is saving money, maybe there is scope to pay reviews...)
d) the implications of not conforming with the quality management system requirements. (The controls that are established should be through the experience of best practice. This might mean you have found an easier way to do something, or that you have a legal obligation to do it a certain way. In either case, failure to conform with these processes will only lead to problems down the line.)
There we go, not all that complicated right? However, we still see far too many business where "The Management System is Managements Problem"
So what can you do to ensure your team feel they are a big part of your systems performance? One thing we have always encouraged is to share your performance statistics with your team. You don't have to publish the financials but, normalised performance stats are good way to show how well your team are doing.
Why not invite non managerial workers to get involved in the auditing or review processes?
Publish your policy. You have notice boards, company intranets, web pages. Use them to spread the good word about what your business is doing.
I guess what we are saying is, this is a business wide thing. Remember It's A Management System, Not Just Management's System.