We’ve previously covered management commitment to ISO 9001 certification, but ISO 9001 awareness training should also be top of mind. For a business to succeed in implementing their ISO 9001 standards, the employees must also buy into the vision. As The Houston Chronicle notes, if you don’t communicate how your QMS works or which aspects of quality you’re focusing on, your program will fail. In the case of ISO 9001, awareness training is how businesses can seek to inform their employees about the QMS and what constitutes “quality” in the company’s terms. But what defines quality, and how can you communicate that to employees effectively?

Understanding ISO Quality Awareness

An employee does not need to know all the details of the ISO standard. In fact, adding that information to their plate can overwhelm them and make them less likely to support the standard’s implementation. ISO quality awareness has a much smaller scope. For ISO 9001 awareness training can help employees understand their role in the QMS, and how their specific duties impact its functioning. Therefore, awareness training allows employees to learn how their actions play a critical part in the implementation of the ISO 9001 standard. Quality awareness doesn’t mean the employee knows the ISO standards definition inside and out. It means that they are aware of how their contribution affects the company’s push towards compliance.

Employee Engagement and ISO 9001 Awareness Training

We covered in a previous blog post how managers who want to engage their employees properly should approach implementing the ISO 9001 standard. Employee engagement goes hand in hand with awareness training. To properly engage an employee, management must understand their competencies. What are those particular employees good at? Once you determine the roles they are best suited for, you can engage them by showing them how their actions impact the larger picture. ISO compliance requires all hands to be on deck. ISO 9001 awareness training allows employees to judge whether their actions are compliant with the standard. Employees can then take corrective action, with the end goal of being compliant in line with the business’s goals.

Knowledge Fosters Self-Correction

Employee buy-in, combined with the knowledge of the employee’s specific role, can help develop a self-correcting positive feedback loop. Employees within a company should demonstrate autonomy for certain things. Internal audits form a part of the ISO certification process, but if an employee can self-audit the company benefits. An employee who can determine his or her compliance makes the internal auditor’s overall job much more manageable. When the business gets to the point of external auditing in anticipation of certification, each employee’s self-auditing nature ensures that the company remains compliant. Whether the company can rely on employees to self-audit comes back to ISO 9001 awareness training.

What Employees Should Know

The standard has a series of requirements that employees need to know:

  • The company’s quality policy
  • The quality objectives for the employee’s department
  • The employee’s specific contribution to the success of the QMS
  • What benefits improved performance will bring to the company
  • What non-compliance means and the consequences of failing to meet the standard
  • These key points offer employees the motivation and the knowledge to contribute to the QMS in a meaningful way. It serves to empower and inform the workers so that they can align themselves with the company’s vision. By offering employees this level of knowledge, management shares the burden of responsibility and makes the employee feel like an integral part of the company. This feeling is crucial to achieving employee buy-in and raising engagement.

    If you’re looking for a professional consultant to help you develop tools for your ISO 9001 awareness training, Sync Resource remains dedicated to helping our clients achieve their certification goals. Call us today, and let us help you train your workforce to self-correct!