How to solve the HR-Quality disconnect

Posted by Annie Grace on Fri, Mar 10, 2017

Is your organisation suffering from HR-Quality disconnect?

Common side effects include: outdated training records, lack of communication between departments, frustrated employees, time-heavy manual processes, and a high risk of employees not having the latest training requirements. 

We've talked to many quality professionals who feel this disconnect. But if HR control the training records and you control the quality management system, how can you ensure their processes meet the requirements of ISO 9001:2015? 

Clause 7.2 'Competence' requires organisations to determine the competency requirements for those people performing work under its control. Once these competence requirements have been determined, the organisation must then ensure that those people possess the necessary competencies. The organisation is required to take action to acquire the necessary competence. Actions taken need to be evaluated for effectiveness. 

So how do you solve this disconnect between departments? Below are 8 questions you should ask for a more integrated training record management system. 


#1 Does The Organisation Have The Required Competence? 

ISO 9001:2015 defines competence as "the ability to apply knowledge and skills to achieve intended results." This means ensuring that employees not only have the knowledge, but are able to apply it to ensure the objectives of the organisation are reached. For example, this may mean that during the on-boarding process that all pre-employment checks are completed using up-to-date forms, arranging and conducting required training, and job role definitions are time-consuming - but necessary. 

Using an EQMS system means documentation can be held in one hub for easy access, while training can be booked and managed with ease. A workforce that is increasingly familiar with digital processes is likely to be receptive to a cloud-based GRC system, too, rather than working from paper.



#2 How Do We Identify Knowledge Gaps? 

If a skills gap is identified, the organisation is required to take action to address any competency issues, and even check that this action has been effective. 

A comprehensive training records management system will enable HR managers to have a real-time overview of current knowledge gaps in the company. This is ideal for three reasons:

  • Identifying common knowledge gaps means training can be block-booked to save time and money
  • Risk is reduced by ensuring all staff are trained to appropriate levels at all times
  • Skills gap analysis can be easily delivered when assessing requirements for a recruitment process, to efficiently recruit new staff with a broader skill set.



#3 How Do We Control Training Documentation?  

ISO 9001:2015 Clause 7.2.5 requires documented information as evidence of competence. This means records of education, training, skills and experience must be documented. A suitable EQMS system will enable individuals to access and update their own training records (if you want - or HR representatives can be responsible with further controls). The ability to upload documentation such as certificates to confirm training and skills is an ideal feature for ISO 9001:2015 compliance.

It's not just training documentation that benefits from controls, either. When all documents are held in a central hub, version control means HR Managers can ensure only the latest policies, processes, and forms are in use. When important updates are made to a document, individuals or groups can be made to acknowledge that they have read the new version. This immediately shifts responsibility from HR to the individual, which in turn reduces the risk of future litigation from (ex)employees.


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#4 How Do We Keep Confidential Employee Information Secure?  

These days, people are more wary about data held about them by any organisation – including the one they work for. Boost trust with digital personnel files: with a document management system individuals can access records held on them at any time, without compromising data security.


If your organisation is (or is striving towards) ISO 27001 accredited, you'll understand the importance of data security. The Standard is designed to maintain strict controls over data - without restricting access where it would hinder business operations. A system such as EQMS Training Manager or Document Manager can be restricted by individual permissions, meaning users can only access files that you give them access to. This feature is perfect for any organisation wishing to provide individuals clarity over information held on them without compromising on data security compliance.

#5 Can Employees Access Critical HR Policy Documents?

Hosting critical HR policies and procedures in one central hub means users can access them at any time - without the need to pester the HR department. This means happier staff as they can find the answers they need instantly, and a positive and more efficient HR department as time spent on common questions is slashed.

What if you have remote or mobile workers in your organisation? A document management system that is based in the Cloud enables people to access any HR policy documentation at any time, from any location. This is especially helpful if your organisation has a remote workforce, or people who are often out of the office but need access to these documents.document management best practice.png

When using a quality management system for ISO 9001:2015 compliance, you'll need to consider whether your procedures are up-to-date and accessible by all relevant parties. EQMS Document Manager is an example of how change logs and read receipts of critical documents ensure full compliance and allow for easy audits.



#6 How Does Employee Training Change To Prevent Issues Recurring?  

One vital aspect of HR is ensuring that the workplace is a safe environment. That’s tricky on even a small site, but if you have multiple sites or your organisation employs home or mobile workers if becomes a nightmare to handle.

Untrained staff and knowledge gaps raise the risk of accidents in the workplace, or problems which affect the quality of product or service output. A system that allows for risk management to be the responsibility of ALL staff means new hazards and potential risks can be immediately addressed, and preventative actions could include implementing further staff training. 

A GRC system can allow anyone to raise risks as they spot them, which triggers an automated workflow for action. While this often falls to the quality team, many actions will also be the responsibility of HR. By implementing such a system, it will promote inter-departmental communications and increased awareness of individual responsibilities to workplace safety.



The Next Step To Solving The HR/Quality Disconnect 

Integrated quality management software for HR will provide several benefits to improving processes and reducing risk, including:

  • Full training record management with overviews and drill-down reporting for knowledge gap analysis
  • Requirement to acknowledge receipt of essential policy documents to reduce risk of liability
  • A single source of truth for all policy documents
  • Permissions restrictions for greater data security and information distribution
  • A reduction in time demands on the HR team - common policy and procedure questions held in one easy access place instead

For more information about how EQMS can help solve the HR/Quality disconnect, request a demonstration of EQMS Training Records Manager here

 EQMS training records manager


Tags: GRC Resources, Change Management

How to choose your quality management team

Posted by Marc Gardner on Fri, Mar 10, 2017

Implementing a quality management system is as much about people as it is about processes and policies. 

To do this faster, easier and more effectively, you need to spend some time at the start making sure you have the best people. Knowing what to look for in your quality management team will help you deliver a successful and co-ordinated implementation plan.

With the help of Richard Green, Managing Director and founder of Kingsford Consultancy Services, we've put together five tips to help you choose an effective EQMS project team destined for success.

 #1 – Decide how many people you need

One of the trickier aspects of choosing your project team is deciding how many people to involve. It's tempting to either limit the team to senior management who already know and understand why EQMS is being implemented, or have lots of people from every department. Here you risk either isolating end users from the process or having 'too many cooks', which will dilute the positive impact a project team can have.

A team of 4-6 people is ideal

A project team of 4–6 people is ideal. This ensures you remain streamlined and can easily communicate with each other, while also allowing a range of skills and experience to be brought into the mix.

#2 – Mix up the skills instead of using the same go-to team

You'll need a good mix of ideas and action, so make sure you have a range of skills to call on. It's tempting to use people you're familiar with and who you've worked with before, but you could be missing out. A fresh team will have a new dynamic and create a precedent for embracing change, right from the start of the project.

"The team must possess the necessary interpersonal skills and technical knowledge to get the job done. Without this you have no chance of success." 

Talk with line managers of departments before you build your team. Those managers know their teams best, and will be able to recommend individuals based on their skills rather than their experience. Skills you should look for include good organisation, communication and creativity. You may find that a less senior member of staff will have a 'game changer' approach that is ideal for the project, or that a 'stay-in-the-background' worker has perfect technical experience.

Project teams should have a mix of skills


#3 – Find people who care

"You need individuals who are prepared to put the common cause first." 

If someone on the team doesn't care about the project, they won't be committed to its success. As the project progresses, you might find some of the team get disillusioned – especially during roll-out where the biggest resistance to change always occurs. A good way to keep them motivated is to highlight how the project's success will benefit them personally – for example:

  • They could be promoted
  • More efficient processes make their job easier
  • They won't spend as much time on administrative tasks
  • They will have better working relationships

#4 – Your end-user champion is your word-on-the-street

You've brought EQMS into your company with the aim of continuously improving quality, mitigating risk and making your business more efficient. But your end users are unlikely to buy in to these reasons as a motive for cultural change.


Having an end-user champion who understands and is passionate about the positive changes EQMS will deliver will vastly support you when you roll out EQMS to its eventual users. You'll benefit from their passion about the project bringing about change at a grass-roots level – and they'll also be able to provide useful feedback on what is (and isn't) important to your people when it comes to using EQMS.

#5 – Have strong leadership

The project manager needs to be able to step away from the 'doing' and to delegate. A strong leader is needed for motivation and should be supported by their 'internal quarterback' – the person who manages and motivates team members more closely.

"You need strong leadership, people in key roles who are able to get the best out of those who are working alongside them." 

Forming your team starts with the backbone, your 'internal quarterback', the person who co-ordinates every play to move towards success. To help you find who you're looking for in this role, we’ve put together a sample job description for you to download and use in your search. Depending on the size and complexity of your organisation and the quality management system you use, this could be a full-time or part-time permanent role (a new recruit or an internal promotion), or work alongside another position if the project is relatively small.

 leadership for quality management



What you should do now

Download the stakeholder engagement planner for a step-by-step guide for improving a culture of quality.

Or, for hundreds of useful tools and resources on putting together a business case for an integrated quality management system, download our Business Case toolkit.

Business Case builder


Tags: EQMS, Change Management, Implementing EQMS, Quality Culture

How to motivate for change: Your 7 step plan to EQMS implementation success

Posted by Annie Grace on Wed, Mar 08, 2017

Any change in an organisation is going to be met with resistance: it’s human nature. Managing change is essential when implementing an EQMS system across an organisation if uptake of the software is to be successful.


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Image credits: 

However, studies show that between 60-70% of change management projects in business fail. So what’s the problem – and how can you win stakeholders hearts and minds for maximum implementation success?

We’ve put together a short slideshow with the key hints for managing change in your organisation to help your EQMS project become a success.



What your should do now

Download the full presentation from the EQMS Business Case Toolkit, including helpful notes with further details.

Alternatively, download the stakeholder engagement template to win hearts and minds. 


Business Case builder



Tags: Change Management

ISO 14001:2015 revision explained (Part 3) – Planning

Posted by Marc Gardner on Tue, Aug 04, 2015

Under ISO 14001:2015, organisations need to plan processes that address environmental factors and associated risk at every stage of their operations.

The revised standard also updates the requirements for setting environmental objectives and introduces a new clause focused on 'planning to take action'.

In this third part of our four-part series, we clarify the implications of the ISO 14001:2015 revision for your organisation, and focus on how planning requirements have changed.

Planning to take action

The changes in ISO 14001:2015 require you to take a 'risk-based approach' to your environmental management system (EMS). Risk-based thinking is intended to encourage you to stop viewing risk negatively and instead see opportunities available in it. 

For a more detailed explanation of risk-based thinking (specific to the parallel ISO 9001:2015 revision), click here

The planning process 

A complete assessment of EMS risks, and the planning process that follows, should:

  • Consider the context of the organisation
  • Consider the compliance obligations (but not necessarily the views) of the interested parties
  • Consider the compliance obligations of the organisation
  • Consider the environmental aspects and their potential impacts
  • Identify threats to the performance of the EMS, both those that could disrupt operations or decrease functionality.
  • Identify opportunities for increased functionality
  • Develop plans for actions to mitigate threats and maximise benefits to the EMS's operation, both initially and over time
  • Develop plans for actions to meet compliance obligations
  • Develop plans to integrate these actions into the EMS

Identifying environmental aspects and impacts

You'll need to identify the environmental impacts that your operations could have. When you come to consider the context of your organisation, you must first identify the environmental aspects. An environmental aspect is any element or characteristic of an activity, product, or service that can interact with the environment.

Environmental aspects can cause environmental impacts, which means any change in the nature of the environment as a result of an activity. These can be beneficial or adverse, major or minor, direct or indirect.

You must consider the likely impacts of your activities and plan to mitigate associated threats and maximise associated benefits as far as you can.

Setting environmental objectives

Complying with ISO 14001:2015 also means monitoring, communicating and updating your environmental objectives. So you'll have to set objectives at the relevant levels for those functions to meet their compliance obligations in line with their own environmental aspects and risk factors.

All relevant personnel should be aware of these environmental objectives and the EMS should monitor the extent to which they are achieved, flagging up areas where environmental performance needs to improve.

When planning actions to achieve the objectives, you must also document details of whatever resources are needed and set out a clear process by which you'll achieve results. 

The best method for all this is a Risk Planning Process. This involves:

  • Identifying environmental aspects within the scope of your EMS
  • Establishing what criteria you'll use to identify 'significant' environmental impacts
  • Mapping environmental aspects to potential impacts and identifying which aspects may lead to significant impacts 

You must also consider the risk associated with operating the EMS itself. And to continually improve your EMS you must plan to ensure the system achieves its objectives while minimising negative environmental impact.

The workflow-enabled functionality of EQMS Audit Manager guides you seamlessly through the audit process, and guarantees that corrective or preventive actions are completed. This reinforces best practice, reduces risk and provides a platform for you to continuously improve your EMS which is driven by ongoing review and refinement.

You should also aim to minimise the environmental threat posed by the equipment you use. EQMS Equipment Manager allows you to do this. It ensures that any equipment you use is safe (by prompting essential maintenance and checks) and complies with environmental regulations.

To extend this continual improvement across the full lifecycle of the product or service, you should assess and review your supply chain. With EQMS Supplier Manager, you can continuously improve by using the best suppliers, identifying and removing weaker performers and replacing them with better options from an approved supplier list.


What you should do now

Learn more about EQMS software by downloading our datasheets.

ISO 14001 Software


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Tags: ISO 14001, Change Management