Qualsys sponsor the International Quality Awards 2017

Posted by Alex Pavlovic on Wed, Nov 29, 2017

What links Portsmouth, an Indian dairy cooperative, a Canadian hydroelectric project and a hospital in Dubai?

The inaugural International Quality Awards, hosted by the CQI, which took place in London on November 22.

CQI Awards

Designed to, in the words of the CQI's Director of Policy Estelle Clark, 'plug the gap' in an awards calendar neglecting the quality industry, the Awards aimed to recognise the achievements of quality professionals across the globe with six categories. Qualsys were thrilled to sponsor the event!

"Every day, Qualsys sees quality professionals using innovative programs and strategies to drive quality. We need to share their successes. For us, that is what the International Quality Awards are all about." Mike Pound, Managing Director, Qualsys

Hosted within the Merchant Taylors' Hall, a stone's throw from the Bank of England, the Awards drew finalists from three continents. Quality engineers, audit managers and risk analysts from power, transport, manufacturing, healthcare and FMCG backgrounds (among others!) were invited to share and celebrate their achievements. The CQI's mission to introduce a platform showcasing the best of the quality industry - which Acting CEO Vince Desmond discussed with us in July - shone through.

"In celebrating our profession today, we are reminded that we have the potential to underpin confidence in our public, private and non-profit organisations. Let us not view today as an isolated celebration, but part of a broader campaign to promote the value of our profession to the wider world." Vince Desmond, Acting CEO, CQI
CQI Winners

Anyone working in quality will be aware of its historic positioning: often separated from the broader business, viewed as an overhead and an annoyance, called upon only to comply with a regulation or fix a problem, with quality professionals devoid of recognition and working in isolation. A recurring theme from the Awards was that this could not continue - and, with the increasing importance of quality and governance, risk and compliance (GRC), cannot continue.

The unique ability of quality professionals to create confidence, guarantee satisfaction and safety, avoid financial and environmental waste and deliver projects successfully was a key element targeted by the organisers.

The Quality Professional of the Year and Quality Professional in a New Project categories showcased several incredible individual achievements, while the Leadership and Quality Team of the Year awards highlighted the importance of teamwork and direction in driving a culture of quality. Meanwhile, the Emerging Talent Award focused on what Vince Desmond calls the 'new breed' of quality professionals - the passionate, well-rounded future leaders of the industry - and the CQI Honorary Award celebrated individual contributions to the quality industry itself.



Three top stories from the Awards

1. Not one but two teams won the Quality Team of the Year Award. Al Zahra Hospital, styling itself 'the best in Dubai', was recognised for the exceptional commitment of its team to delivering high quality patient care, while the Banaskantha District Cooperative Milk Producers' Union in India was awarded for its continued supply of quality dairy products from over 350,000 farmers to consumers across Asia.


2. Yele Odofin-Belo scooped the Quality Professional in a New Project Award. He was recognised for his work with ATCO, a Canadian holding company supplying temporary luxury accommodation for labourers working on isolated, large-scale projects - in the middle of nowhere. ATCO's client, constructing a hydroelectric dam in British Columbia, laid out numerous heavy non-conformance penalties: $50 fines for every meal not served to plan, up to $1000 fines for every towel not replaced! Yele implemented a quality control system to avoid and minimise these penalties, drawing on formal systems such as ISO 9001:2015 and redesigning operational procedures to address high-risk areas and guarantee a successful project.


3. After a long and successful career, John Oakland was given the CQI Honorary Award in recognition of his invaluable contribution to the quality profession. A prolific author of hundreds of reports, articles and books, John is also Executive Chairman of Oakland Consulting, one of several leading quality consultants partnered with Qualsys. John shared the award with Crossrail's Andrew Wolstenholme, currently overseeing the construction of the South East's new Elizabeth line, which is expected to serve 200 million people annually when it opens in December 2018.



All told, the Awards got off to a flying start in their inaugural year, bringing a diverse collection of quality professionals together to celebrate the growth of the industry and the remarkable contributions of those within. The full list of winners was as follows:

Quality Professional of the Year Award

John Feltham, Portsmouth International Port, U.K.

Emerging Talent Award

Charlotte Laverty, Alan Auld Engineering, U.K.

Leadership Award

John Holland, Jaguar Land Rover, U.K.

Quality Team of the Year Award

Al Zahra Hospital, Dubai, U.A.E.

Banaskantha District Cooperative Milk Producers' Union, India

Quality Professional in a New Project Award

Yele Odofin-Belo, ATCO Two Rivers Lodging Group, Canada

CQI Honorary Award

John Oakland, Oakland Consulting, U.K.

Andrew Wolstenholme, Crossrail, U.K.

Due to this success, the CQI has already announced that the Awards will return in 2018. We welcome all quality professionals to consider applying - it could be you on stage collecting an award next year! Read our ten reasons to enter here, and stay tuned on the Qualsys blog for the five things we learnt from the 2017 Awards.




Tags: CQI, Quality Culture

Could you tweet your quality strategy?

Posted by Emily Hill on Mon, Jul 10, 2017

We've talked a lot recently about engaging employees with quality and the quality management system, so we're always looking for innovative ways to get the message out there. 

John Oakland, founder of the Oakland Institute and author of several books on quality management, urges quality professionals to apply their quality knowledge to drive the strategy. During the Qualsys User Group, John said: "We [quality professionals] don't come to this game with a very good reputation. So you need to start thinking, 'If I did get the 60 seconds in the lift with my top management team, what would I say?'

"Quality professionals can help organisations as a statistician, if you apply your thinking, your tools and techniques in the right way and in the right areas. If you start talking about distribution, it's going to be a big turn-off. And that's a challenge we all face in this space of quality, helping as professionals in the area.

Time-poor teams 

In the same vein, Richard Chambers, Global CEO of The Institute of Internal Auditors, recently asked his Twitter followers whether internal auditors could condense their audit findings to a single tweet:

 He received a mixed response. Some followers agreed responses should be succinct, others believed there's more value provided in the detail. 

Gemma Baldan, Key Account Manager at Qualsys Ltd, says many quality teams can communicate short 'tweet-like' broadcasts using EQMS

"It's important that we don't throw the book at teams," Gemma says. "It's much easier to get the message across if it's short and succinct. 

"We've increasingly found that EQMS administrators are making the most of the broadcasts feature. These broadcasts are, by default, less than 100 characters and can be shared instantly with all employees. Our customers use the broadcasts to report issues and findings but also to shout about their successes. By keeping it short, those who want to read more can investigate further." 

What about you? Could you get your audit findings, quality plans or quality strategy under 140 characters? Comment below or tweet @QualsysEQMS. 


Tags: Quality Culture

How to make your enterprise quality management system more sticky

Posted by Emily Hill on Tue, Jun 13, 2017

change charles darwin.png

Enterprise software systems give many organisations the vital competitive advantage they need. However, as technology projects grow larger and more complex, the risk those organisations face is increased. In fact, it's estimated that, on average, IT projects run 45% over budget and 7% over time, while delivering 56% less value than predicted. 

With ever more demanding regulations, and a workforce spread across the globe, the need for a centralised business process management system far outweighs the risk. The biggest risk, actually, is the challenge of encouraging the system's end-users to change the way they do things. 

The most agile organisations, the ones who adapt to the challenge, will reap the greater rewards.


So when implementing an enterprise solution such as EQMS – Qualsys's electronic quality and compliance management system – what are some tactics you can use to engage your employees? What conflicts are you likely to encounter? 

Rob Gibson, IT Systems Manager at Sodexo, was a keynote speaker at the AIIM Forum in June, where he shared his tips on "How to Drive Engagement with Enterprise Software."

Over the past four years, Rob has been instrumental in rolling out EQMS across multiple sites, facilities and customers. Sodexo use EQMS to manage document control, audits, incident logging and training records. 

In his presentation, Rob talked about the EQMS project, the challenges Sodexo faced in rolling out the software, and the lessons he learned in trying to make enterprise software more "sticky", and we share a few of his tips below.

Clashing company cultures

In a huge worldwide organisation such as Sodexo, rolling out EQMS onto new sites means negotiating the many different company cultures that have formed. Some sites take to the new system with such enthusiasm that it becomes the lifeblood of their operations, while others feel it's been forced upon them. Some systems will have the backing of business owners and sponsors, others won't.

An implementation will only be successful if the end-users embrace the new system. Whether or not the system is adopted depends on giving those users effective training, and having an internal champion who'll promote and support the system from within.

'Flavour of the month' ideas

In Rob's experience, it's quite common for organisations to implement a quality management system, only to abandon it in its infancy when the next 'flavour of the month' idea comes along.

Longevity is key. Putting a system in place is one thing, but it's unlikely to be perfect from the outset. The more end-users engage with the software, the more they will identify potential improvements and tweaks. Though the original project manager may no longer be around, having someone there to ensure any suggested improvements or upgrades are made will help establish the system long term.


Allowing everyone to take ownership

Who's running with the project, exactly? The person who procured the system isn't always going to own that system later on, especially if their organisation is large and complex.

Our Account Management team here at Qualsys frequently consult our customers on their experiences regarding ownership. They've found that when an organisation shapes its quality management system to the needs of all its employees, everyone can share in the credit when the system works, which helps drive engagement.

And from a business point of view, that communication with employees can be crucial. Rob Gibson suggests using techniques such as interviews and voxpops to find out how staff are using the quality management system and what issues they might be encountering. What lessons can you learn from talking to your employees?


What you should do now

For more information on how EQMS can help your organisation, download our datasheets.

EQMS Datasheets  

Tags: Implementing EQMS, Quality Culture

Grandmaster chess lessons for your EQMS business case

Posted by Gemma Baldan on Mon, Jun 05, 2017

Building an electronic quality management system business case and playing chess have a lot in common. Both require determination, research and a lot of other skills. 

In the video below, International Grandmaster, Maurice Ashley, offers his advice for winning at chess. We'd recommend watching the video, then reading the following list on how you can use these skills to build an effective business case.  



Maurice's techniques, and how to apply them when building a quality management software business case 

#1 – Learn how decisions are made

Maurice gets to know who he's playing. He studies who his opponent is, how they make decisions – and often their dietary habits!

"The grandmasters of chess are almost psychologists; they look up all of their opponents' history, and their games. I might even want to know what they eat for breakfast.

"Style matters. What you might do in a given situation matters."

Quality management software requires buy-in from all levels of the organisation. When building an electronic quality management system business case, you need to understand your stakeholders' motivations, and how they will make decisions.

Download our Stakeholder Engagement Template. This template will help you plan who you need to talk to, when and why. 


#2 – Learn through failure

No one gets it right all of the time. As Maurice says:

 "We learn through our failures, and that is empowering." 

Maurice studies his mistakes, owns up to them and then learns how to be better next time. 

The same applies when building a business case for an electronic quality management system. As you meet with different stakeholders, you might not win them over straight away. They may not understand why they need the system, or they might have other worries about investing in a new one.

While this may sound like the opposite of what you want when you're trying to rally support, it's actually extremely helpful. You can use your stakeholders' feedback to build a better plan, a better mission and a better strategy. 

Complete this playbook to plan your quality management strategy. Created by Qualsys' Quality Manager Kate Armitage, it will help you to set out the building blocks for an effective quality management strategy. 


Managing quality in high growth organisations.png

#3 – Show determination

What does Maurice believe is the key to success?

"With fortitude, tenacity and determination, you can overcome anything." 

When building a business case, it will take a lot of drive to keep everything moving – especially in large organisations. As Rob Gibson, Quality Systems Manager at Sodexo, says: 

"You need to keep it fed and maintained. Keep it going. It isn't a one-size-fits-all approach; you need to keep going and trying different things."

In this Business Case Builder, you'll find a range of resources to help you stay committed to the project from the initial business case to implementing and rolling out the system, and beyond. 

Business Case Banner 01.png


What you should do now

Read this article for tips on how quality leaders promote quality. 

Or, download our free ISO 9001:2015 toolkit for more information on the requirements, stakeholder engagement materials, and advice from experts. 

ISO 9001:2015 Toolkit

Tags: Quality Culture

Defending from the front: Adopting the Three Lines of Defence

Posted by Marc Gardner on Wed, May 10, 2017

The three lines of defence

"Without the ball, we are a disastrous team, a horrible team. So we need the ball."

So said Pep Guardiola after guiding his Barcelona team to their second Champions League trophy in 2009. And it was a telling observation. Despite managing one of the world's greatest football teams, Guardiola could still see a weakness – that it was vulnerable when under attack. His solution? To implement a high-pressing style of play that emphasised defending from the front. Messi and his fellow forwards were expected not only to create and score goals but to win back the ball as far up the pitch as possible. Ensuring all 11 players understood the need to defend meant the team as a unit could be much, much stronger.

In business, the Three Lines of Defence model works on similar principles, allowing your organisation to identify, control and manage risk in line with a clear and robust process. In this blog, we explain the Three Lines of Defence and how your organisation can adopt it as a model of best practice.

The Three Lines of Defence model explained

Three Lines of Defence Model

The Three Lines of Defence model originates from an EU Directive which makes audit committees responsible for monitoring how effectively their organisations control and manage risk.

It looks to create an environment in which the overall direction for managing risk is set by the board and senior managers, then put into action and monitored by various mid-level managers and internal auditors. The model also aims to foster a culture of collaboration, communication and information-sharing.

Organisations that implement the model successfully find they can:

  1. better recognise risks as they arise
  2. respond to those risks more intelligently, consistently and flexibly
  3. protect their reputation
  4. avoid variations in performance and so increase share-price multiples and credit-rating scores, and
  5. deploy and use their risk and assurance resources much more efficiently.

While a Forrester Research report found that 63% of the organisations surveyed were either implementing – or had already implemented – the model, many others were struggling to get to grips with the idea. One of the biggest areas of confusion was how the various roles at each stage should be assigned, and who should be doing what.

With this in mind, let's take a look at each of the Three Lines of Defence more closely.

Consider the three lines of defence for your organisation

First line of defence – operational management (board, CEO, senior managers)

Operational management naturally serve as the first line of defence because controls are designed into systems and processes under their guidance. They direct how internal policies and procedures are developed and implemented and ensure these policies and procedures remain consistent with the company's goals. Part of their role is delegating responsibility to second-line managers within the organisation.


The board will:

  • work with senior management to set the organisation's risk appetite (the amount of risk it is willing to accept to meet its strategic objectives), and
  • receive reports on the most significant risks the organisation faces, and assess whether senior management are responding appropriately.

CEO and senior management

The CEO and their senior management team have ultimate responsibility for how the organisation manage and control risk, and will:

  • set the tone by promoting a positive risk culture within the organisation
  • assign responsibilities to second-line managers in specific areas or departments, and
  • monitor how the organisation is managing risk in relation to its risk appetite, and take any measures needed to correct any issues.

Board and senior management are the first line of defence

How technology can help

Governance, risk and compliance (GRC) technology allows the first line to more effectively keep its risk policies and procedures up to date. Risk registers can help to better manage threats and vulnerabilities, monitor the effectiveness of controls, and ensure the organisation is assessing and controlling risks as consistently as possible.

GRC technology also helps the first line of defence to communicate with the second and third lines, using real-time dashboards that document Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Key Risk Indicators (KRIs).


Second line of defence – risk management and compliance

The second line of defence is where many of the people associated with risk (quality, legal, compliance) are found, and it's there essentially to ensure the first line is properly designed and working as it should. They have some independence, and are responsible for making sure the business is complying with the law and for reporting directly to first-line managers.

Risk management

  • Make sure that operational management are putting effective risk-management practices in place.
  • Help assess risk in line with the organisation's risk appetite.
  • Help report risk-related information throughout the organisation.


  • Monitor risks of the organisation failing to comply with whatever laws and regulations apply.
  • Giving the first line of defence the help and information it needs to comply with those laws.
  • Reporting on compliance to management and the board.

Risk management and compliance form the second line

How technology can help

GRC technology helps the different second line of defence groups to collaborate and share information transparently and efficiently. Implemented here, it can be used to monitor all risk-management activities across the business, to generate reports for the first-line managers, and to identify laws and regulations that put the organisation at greatest risk of failing to comply.


Third line of defence – internal auditors

Internal audit forms the third line of defence. It works independently to provide assurance to the board and senior management (the first line) that the organisation is assessing and managing risks effectively, while also ensuring that the first and second lines of defence are operating properly.

As best practice, every organisation should have an internal audit function that:

  • acts in accordance with recognised international standards
  • reports to a sufficiently high level in the organisation to be able to perform its duties independently, and
  • can report effectively to the relevant governing body.

Internal audit forms the third line of defence

How technology can help

GRC technology can provide dedicated software that standardises the auditing process and helps auditors co-ordinate their risk assessments and collaborate between themselves. Perhaps more importantly, it can also allow auditors to access the information they need to monitor the effectiveness of the first and second lines of defence, then recommend any changes.


Why you should adopt the model

According to the Forrester Research report, 90% of the organisations surveyed will have adopted the Three Lines of Defence model by 2020. Some industries and businesses might catch on more quickly than others, but overall the model looks to be gaining traction.

And for good reason. Organisations that have a strong three lines of defence can more quickly identify and react to risk, more efficiently deploy resources to manage risk, and work more transparently and collaboratively to lessen the impact of risk.

GRC technology is vital in adopting the Three Lines of Defence model. Risk-management software helps each line of defence to work more efficiently and effectively, giving the organisation the confidence of knowing that the proper controls are in place to manage whatever risks may emerge.



What you should do now

What are the key priorities for Quality Leaders in 2017? The Global Quality Survey 2017 reveals all.

ISO Industry Analysis

photo credit: Got Credit Risk Key via photopin (license)

Tags: Quality Culture

Does your organisation have a true culture of quality? Questions to ask your department managers

Posted by Emily Hill on Wed, May 10, 2017

Improvements in culture.png

During the EQMS User Group, Professor John Oakland, founder of Oakland Consulting and author of best-selling book "Total Quality Management and Operational Excellence", said:

"In the past, quality was synonymous with control, compliance and cost; there was an excessive focus on internal capabilities and overly bureaucratic approaches.

"Quality is now a strategic force which is key to building a learning organisation.

"Your organisation must be quick to change, avoid excessive costs, and avoid reputational damage. The margin for error has decreased but the likelihood of error has risen. Managers must find a new approach to quality—one that moves beyond the traditional 'total quality management' tools of the past quarter century."


Watch the presentation and earn CPD points here

John Oakland 2.png


Does your organisation promote a learning culture?


Isabelle Pound, Head of Strategic Projects and Consultancy Services at Qualsys Ltd, says there's no "one size fits all approach" when it comes to culture.

She recommends asking your department heads the following five questions.

These questions are particularly useful if you're thinking of implementing an electronic quality management system. 



#1 – Does our leadership team promote active thinking?

High-performance organisations have management teams who will challenge data, reports and strategic plans. It's worth spending some time with your management team and asking them whether they feel there's an open culture which promotes discussion.

Management teams must feel confident that they can identify, communicate and appropriately manage risk and opportunity. 

If in conversations you find management aren't stepping up, start with this article ISO 9001:2015 Leadership Battles, in which quality professionals share their experiences and advice for getting management teams engaged.

Leadership teams should promote active thinking

#2 – What are our company values?

Alignment is a challenge for most organisations. Even within departments, there can be different ideas about the organisation's strategic objectives.

Start by asking the leader of each department what they think are the attributes of the company culture, then note whether there are any gaps. 

If the company values haven't already been articulated, Qualsys recommends the Jim Collins Company Values framework, which you can access for free here. 

Qualsys company values

Qualsys' company values following the Jim Collins Workshop

#3 – Do the codes, words and actions of senior management align with the desired culture?

Each organisation's culture is unique. Culture is a mixture of the organisation's history, rituals, structure, industry and leadership. It combines ethics, values, risk appetite, structures, systems, leadership, controls, freedom, authority and accountability.

Ask your management team whether the codes, words and actions align with the desired culture? What has been their experience? Does the culture have any negative aspects to it?

Pockets of negative culture within an organisation may impact behaviour and increase risk. Find out from your management team if they believe there are any issues or gaps in certain areas of the business.

Cultural paradigm

Read the culture web workshop

#4 – Do employees raise issues and opportunities? 

Ask management teams whether they feel there's a sharing culture. Start by asking them whether employees raise issues or opportunities. 

The management team might say that there are no issues, but this is unlikely to be the case. Does there need to be a more formal process? How can you promote the sharing of knowledge and ideas? Does your organisation offer a confidential hotline to make it easier for employees to report issues, complaints and allegations? If so, is it effective in dealing with the issues and reporting the results?

10 tactics to drive engagement with quality

#5 – Are staff at all levels treated in the same manner for their successes and failures?

Accountability is crucial for a culture of quality. Part of this is making sure employees at all levels of the organisation are responsible for their successes – and their failures. Do managers feel this is fair? 

Read our blog 'Changing QESH Culture through Drama – Coca Cola'


What you should do now

A defective culture will subvert even the most rigorous systems and processes. As John Oakland says in Redefining Quality:

"What is quality? It is at the heart of good business. Quality still remains the most important competitive weapon we have. Putting the customer at the heart of everything we do, and meeting their needs time and time again in a consistent manner is key. It is a simple concept, but meeting those requirements, more than ever now, things go wrong. Quality can be hard to attain, it can be hard to maintain and in large and complex organisaitons, it can be very easy to loose." 

Watch John's presentation in full here or download our stakeholder engagement planner for a step-by-step guide to engaging your team with quality.


ISO 9001:2015 Toolkit



Tags: Quality Culture

Global Quality Trends Report

Posted by Michael Ord on Thu, Mar 23, 2017

In March 2017, Qualsys Ltd distributed the annual benchmarking Quality survey, asking quality professionals about their challenges, key responsibilities and resources.

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Download the Report FREE here: 

The 34 questions in the survey were grouped into four broad categories: the role of the quality professional; main challenges; technology and systems; and the responsibilities and activities within the quality operations.

Over 150 quality professionals took the survey, raising £151 for Sheffield Children's Hospital Charity. 

The 151 responses we received—from around the world, across more than a dozen industries, and from organisations large and small—took the temperature of the industry to understand how the role of the quality professional is changing.

In the Global Quality Trends Report, we have collated the key information from the Global Quality Survey.  

Download your FREE copy of the report to: 

  • Access a 15 Page (7 minute read) Report
  • See how you compare and benchmark against your peers
  • Insights from industry experts 

 Get the report by filling out the form below >>> 





Tags: Quality Culture

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

5 essential apps to get more employee feedback

Posted by Annie Grace on Mon, Jan 30, 2017

Are unhappy employees impacting quality performance?

A study by Real Business surveyed 1,000 employees and found that the average worker takes 1.5 sick days due to being unhappy at work, with those on higher salaries taking more than average days. While you may think that employee unhappiness is just an issue for your HR Manager, it has real implications on quality performance.

Number of sick days.png

A positive workforce is going to work more productively, have enthusiasm for your services and your customers, and feel valued by the business. All of these elements enhance business operations in one way or another: a productive team slashes wasted time, your improved customer service boosts retention and reputation, and empowerment reduces employee churn.

A happier team is not only more motivated and emotionally engaged with company goals but is also far less likely to take sick days or so-called "duvet-days" for work-related stress or illness. You’ll also find employee retention is far more successful if staff are given the opportunity to feel valued and in control of their role.


Drive out fear

What is making your employees unhappy? And more importantly, what is stopping your employees from speaking up about what is upsetting them? 

As Deming would say, you need to "drive out fear" so that everyone may work effectively. 


One way to drive out fear is by feedback surveys. Keeping an eye on overall satisfaction and drill-down data on individual and team happiness means you can more effectively engage employees in the most efficient way – therefore improving quality and boosting a positive culture change.

The below 5 applications can be used to capture valuable stakeholder feedback. 


Our pick of internal feedback apps

  1. TinyPulse

Tinypulse feedback.png

An anonymous employee feedback app, you can deliver simple one-question surveys to staff via email as once a week. You can opt to ask the same question repeatedly for real-time change analysis, or have a different question every time to get an overview of employee satisfaction. Questions can be asked in a 1-10 scale, text responses, a simple yes/no – however best you feel the data would represent the current mood of employees.

TinyPulse is also a great way to deliver positivity in the workplace as it operates a ‘Cheers for Peers’ system. Staff can thank their colleagues either publicly or anonymously for doing a great job on something – and this can be circulated to an internal screen for everyone to see. It’s a great way to motivate employees to work better together and appreciate the different roles they work with every day.





  1. WeThrive

we thrive.png

Based on the premise of emotional engagement boosting business achievements, WeThrive has been developed to monitor employee engagement by integrating with feedback surveys, performance management, or however else you currently monitor workforce engagement. Real-time reports allow you to monitor overall employee satisfaction and happiness – which of course impacts on a wide variety of things such as fewer sick days due to work-related stress.

You can set up reporting for your own team or for the entire organisation – both of which are very useful groups of data to analyse. With the information gathered, you’ll be able to identify the problem areas which are preventing emotional engagement from stakeholders. You’ll be able to figure out how to improve them in order to boost commitment to internal quality and business efficiency.



  1. Weekdone


A very handy tool to introduce a culture of accountability, Week Done enables staff to share their plans for the week and monitor their own progress on each task. They can share accomplishments and highlight tricky challenges to give managers a real-time overview of the effectiveness of their team members.

One of the most nifty things about this tool is the ‘personal vs business’ objectives reporting: you can align personal objectives and achievements directly against formal business goals to monitor how individuals are contributing to company success overall.



  1. Qarrot


Ideal for target-led work environments, Qarrot enables managers to incentivise their teams with real-life rewards. The incentive scheme is a great way to engage employees to focus on working towards shared goals and company objectives.

An incentive programme may feel like a false economy but in a sales-based environment it can be a great way to deliver immediate and cumulative satisfaction amongst employees. The recognition they receive using Qarrot, in the form of gift cards of their choice, means staff will feel valued and at the same time driven for success. After all, their success means your success!


  1. Culture Amp

Culture amp.png

A great way to keep your finger on the pulse, Culture Amp is designed with great data in mind, delivered with privacy controls to help confidentiality to boost user confidence. The difference between Culture Amp and some other apps mentioned here is that it allows you to send questions, performance reviews, and surveys at different stages of the employment cycle. That means you can monitor employee performance and satisfaction throughout the lifecycle, giving you a clear picture of where the tougher areas for happiness and productivity remain.

Managers are limited to view reports only relevant to their teams or individuals, where required, so that feedback can remain relevant and no unnecessary information is shared. As well as a confidentiality element, Culture Amp uses ‘driver analysis’ in reporting to demonstrate key drivers for behaviour at any point.

(*Qualsys are not partners or affiliates with any of the above mentioned apps. We just think they’re useful tools you might like to try out when you implement new systems such as EQMS to monitor engagement and on-boarding success).  

3 questions you should ask right now

Using these feedback surveys, you can drill-down into the areas where employees are unhappy. This feedback can help you to get buy-in for larger projects, such as for getting an electronic quality management system in place. 

Here are three questions you can ask your employees right now:

  • Do you know where you can access all information about processes and procedures?
  • Do you feel like issues are managed and escalated to the right person? 
  • Do you feel like your colleagues are taking accountability for their responsibilities? 

Download our EQMS Buyers Toolkit for more ways to engage your stakeholders with quality. 



Governance risk and compliance management software

Tags: Quality Culture

Internal auditing challenges: Emerging trends from ISO 9001:2015

Posted by Emily Hill on Fri, Nov 18, 2016

Back in July 2014, Richard Green, CQI's former Head of Technical Services, said he believed the upcoming changes to ISO 9001 meant the auditor's role would transition from 'auditor' to 'assessor'. Auditors would increasingly need to deal with "shades of grey" and "new evidence sources would need to be examined".

Now many organisations have made the transition to ISO 9001:2015, how have internal auditors coped with the new changes? Have the changes been logical? Are there brand-new challenges, problems and issues? 

In the following short videos, Richard Green shares five main challenges internal auditors may now have to face. 

1)  Internal auditing is still seen as a box-ticking exercise

Colin Partington, quality management consultant, says in 'Next Generation Auditing', Qualsys's whitepaper, that the changes in ISO 9001:2015 require internal auditors to move from procedure-based auditing to process-based auditing. He said this will drive a cultural shift from procedure auditing where "findings are discovered, corrective actions and made, and ultimately, boxes are ticked, to a more analytical approach which focuses on process auditing".

So, is there still a perception that ISO 9001 is a box-ticking exercise? Richard shares his thoughts: 



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  • ISO 9001 makes top management responsible and accountable for carrying out a certain number of activities themselves.
  • Clause 5.1.1 lists some activities top management need to be involved in. Some they can delegate, others they can't.
  • This is all designed to bring people at the highest levels into the quality management system. It can no longer be centred around the quality management representative.
  • Leadership must promote quality management as a process and need to understand how all processes fit together.
  • There are also requirements around risk.
  • Leadership now need to make decisions around whether the system is effective, and rectify any issues.
  • It has come as quite a shock for some organisations but the changes are logical.

2)  Moving from procedure-based to process-based auditing

Clauses 4.4 and 6.6 of ISO 9001 say auditors must monitor, measure and evaluate their organisation's processes to make sure they are helping to achieve the outcomes the organisation wants. This requires process-based auditing.

As Colin Partington says: "Process-based auditing is more about following through a trail by taking a job from start to finish and reporting what is seen as it passes through the various departments. By taking this approach, a number of clauses can be covered in one audit."

So how are auditors coping with the new challenges? Richard explains: 



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  • Things are now less clear cut than they used to be.
  • Context is amorphous – your perception of context is different from the auditor's.
  • The challenge for auditors, especially checklist auditors, is that it used to be black and white, but there are now a lot of grey areas. That's where the assessor comes in.
  • There now needs to be judgment calls based on objective evidence that the auditors see.

3)  Leadership commitment to enforcing audit controls

Under ISO 9001:2015, senior management must be accountable for the effectiveness of their quality management system, and ensure that it delivers real improvements to their business.

But are internal auditors seeing the level of commitment they need from top management? And are top management listening to their internal auditors as much as they should be? Richard explains:



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  • Internal auditors are the most valuable auditors out there.
  • Internal auditors understand the business and the standard processes; they know where your weaknesses are.
  • Internal auditing is too often seen as a secondary part of the role.
  • The organisation and top management need to recognise the real worth of their internal auditors, nurture and develop those people, and make use of their insight.
  • These are the people who are completely familiar with the business management system and can significantly impact the bottom line, if you listen to what they're saying.

4)  Speaking the language of the board

In 'Next Generation Auditing', Richard Green says: "Going forward, assessors are going to need to be able to speak the language of the boardroom. They will need to engage with top management regarding strategy and context, not minor operational matters. They will need to feel comfortable challenging individuals at this level." 

But are auditors comfortable challenging top management? What about when they have to deliver bad news? Richard shares his thoughts:



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  • Auditors have always had to deliver bad news.
  • It's more challenging when bad news isn't directed at quality managers but at those people at the helm of the business.
  • In certain parts of the world, the very notion of challenging what top management do is completely alien to their business culture.
  • It'll be difficult and take a while for auditors to find their feet.
  • The skills set out in ISO 9011, in terms of the approach of auditing, diplomacy and tact, are all coming to the forefront now.

5)  Training to meet new requirements 

"Many auditors come to me overwhelmed with increasing commercial pressures and time constraints," Colin Partington says in 'Next Generation Auditing'. "Such issues can result in constrained or irrelevant information being delivered to senior management.

To rectify this, as stated in ISO 9001:2015 4.1, Understanding the Organisation and its Context, the auditor must understand what the organisation does and what influences there are upon the organisation. How the auditor will establish these factors needs to be considered, almost certainly needing the top management to be interviewed to discover these." 

This requires a whole new skillset. So are auditors getting the training they need to meet the new requirements? Richard offers his response: 



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  • When we saw the new version of ISO 9001:2015, the requirements were significantly different for auditors in terms of their skillset.
  • CQI's transition courses now actually last two days.
  • 85% of the transition course focuses on skills and behaviours.
  • Because auditors must be able to interpret all the diverse sources of evidence, they'll need to learn new skills.


What you should do now

Want more information about ISO 9001:2015? Download our toolkit.

ISO 9001:2015 Toolkit

Tags: Audit Management Software, ISO 9001:2015, Quality Culture