Dismiss Notice
You must be a registered member in order to post messages and view/download attached files in this forum.
Click here to register.

Awareness Training

Discussion in 'ISO 9001:2015 - Quality Management Systems' started by Pfrice, Jan 25, 2019.

  1. Pfrice

    Pfrice Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2018
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    2
    Hi All,
    My company completed it's first certification audit against the ISO 9001:2015 standard in November. One minor nonconformity was noted around Clause 7.3 Awareness.

    According to Section 7.3 of ISO 9001, the organization shall ensure that persons doing work under the organization’s control are aware of the quality policy, relevant quality objectives, their contribution to the effectiveness of the quality management system, including the benefits of improved performance, and the implications of not conforming with the quality management system requirements. The process used by the organization to ensure a suitable level of awareness is not entirely effective. Evidence indicates that the organization has not established a process to evaluate the level of employee awareness and various employees interviewed during the audit were not able to show a suitable level of awareness about their quality objectives and consequences.

    Note: This is a minor nonconformity and not a major nonconformity because the organization has made efforts to communicate information about the QMS, including objectives, risks and procedures to employees of the organization. There is no evidence observed during the audit that demonstrated that the lack of awareness of employees was impacting the quality of their services.

    In our response to the certification body, we included awareness training as a something we would do as well as specifically auditing for Clause 7.3 in our internal audits. Does anybody in this group already have a good awareness training powerpoint? If so, I'd love to get a copy.

    Thanks for your help!
     
  2. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2015
    Messages:
    3,771
    Likes Received:
    1,905
    Trophy Points:
    112
    Location:
    In the "Rust Belt"
    Before we fix anything, what's the problem? What "evidence" did the auditor believe gives credence to this lack of awareness?

    You are not REQUIRED to have a process to evaluate the awareness - you can do it many ways, including internal audits.
     
    tony s and John C. Abnet like this.
  3. hogheavenfarm

    hogheavenfarm Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2015
    Messages:
    220
    Likes Received:
    160
    Trophy Points:
    42
    Interesting contradiction here. "...employees interviewed during the audit were not able to show a suitable level of awareness about their quality objectives and consequences...." VS "...There is no evidence observed during the audit that demonstrated that the lack of awareness of employees was impacting the quality of their services..."
    So we have a subjective test, "a suitable level of awareness", which is normally determined by impacting the "quality of their services", which they passed, because there was no evidence to show it did. So as Andy points out, the real issue to the auditor is "...the organization has not established a process to evaluate the level of employee awareness..."
    Also as Andy points out, you probably do this in other ways, internal audits are one way, performance reviews may be another. Avoid creating another 'procedure' just because the auditor thinks you need one. You probably do this in many different ways, maybe you have "toolbox meetings", supervisor meetings, shop talks, and other ways I have already mentioned. Compile what you have first to see what you already address.
     
  4. Pfrice

    Pfrice Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2018
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    2
    Well, his verbal debrief that day, indicated that he was expecting us to be able to show some type of record where the employee's role in the QMS was described and documented. What happens to the company if I do a good job / bad job and how that would relate to the Quality Policy and Objectives. I would think the process as such would be included as part of the Human Resources Onboarding and Employee review procedures or training records. I didn't see it as a separate process. We do plan to add it into our internal audit procedure.

    I'm actually not upset by this one minor NC. He could have taken us to task for a number of other gaps.

    My management would like to do some awareness training as part of the mitigation strategy. I was looking to see if somebody already had a package.
     
  5. Pfrice

    Pfrice Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2018
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    2
    Thanks. See my response to Andy. I don't plan to add a procedure. I'm just looking for an awareness briefing to use, if somebody already has one.
     
  6. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2015
    Messages:
    3,771
    Likes Received:
    1,905
    Trophy Points:
    112
    Location:
    In the "Rust Belt"
    The auditor is auditing from opinion, not requirements. You've been set off down a rabbit hole and you'll end up with more problems, trust me. If this "record" was required it would be mentioned as "retained information" in the standard and it isn't. Clearly, when looking for something which doesn't exist, the auditor has been auditing wrongly.

    I'd caution you and your management against doing anything, frankly. As for avoiding being taken to task for other gaps, if they negotiated this, then I'd be complaining to the CB about this auditor. Auditors should audit to requirements, not what they "like" to see clients address. :mad:

    If you want to do anything, add a check to your internal audits and use that as a coaching opportunity so that as management discover people aren't "aware", (when they attend the audit) they can take action.

    Awareness is individual so, one size fits all training won't be effective...
     
  7. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2015
    Messages:
    3,771
    Likes Received:
    1,905
    Trophy Points:
    112
    Location:
    In the "Rust Belt"
    It's highly unlikely because a) it's not a requirement and b) they haven't been told they have to answer this auditor's opinion.
     
  8. Jennifer Kirley

    Jennifer Kirley Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2015
    Messages:
    868
    Likes Received:
    608
    Trophy Points:
    92
    Location:
    USA
    There is no requirement for awareness training or documentation that it's been completed. Just as competency is not adequately demonstrated by attending a session, awareness is not demonstrated by a attending a session.

    If I gave you a presentation for awareness, it would not be for your organization. It would not be addressing your quality policy, your relevant quality objectives, your employees' contribution to the effectiveness of your quality management system, including the benefits of improved performance, and the implications of not conforming with your quality management system requirements.

    Many times people do understand all these things but don't know how to answer an auditor's question unless the auditor manages to ask in everyday language. There isn't anything you can do with that now.

    I agree with using the internal audit to expand awareness (I have done it for newly assigned managers), but it takes a long time to reach all the processes and you would be addressing relatively few people. Internal audits are a good way to evaluate awareness after you take action to establish/raise it. No procedure is required for this; it is generally part of a well-rounded process audit.

    So it seems you are stuck with a presentation, since you have decided not to dispute the nonconformity and its closure would require some kind of objective evidence, and the auditor won't be revisiting in order to re-assess through verbal responses. If you want to make a presentation, please don't just talk through the standard's clauses. That has no meaning to almost everyone. Instead, present an overview of your policy, and your top objectives. Since you will be addressing people of various departments and processes, tell them which objectives are relevant to them, the QMS requirements that they are responsible to uphold and how, and the impacts of getting it wrong. It may turn out that you would be better off separating the groups and holding sessions for them in those groups. You can make rosters showing they have received and agree they understand your message.
     
    Pfrice likes this.
  9. John C. Abnet

    John C. Abnet Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2017
    Messages:
    468
    Likes Received:
    319
    Trophy Points:
    62
    Location:
    Upper Midwest- USA
    You've been given great feedback @Pfrice . The concern with "doing" anything is sustainability. IF you decide to do a "presentation", or "briefing" or . etc... etc..etc.., how will your organization sustain it? IF you provide a presentation today and your organization brings in a new hire tomorrow, what (within the management system) will cause this ""presentation", or "briefing" or . etc... etc..etc.. to be given to that new hire? IF you wish to do something, then it is important that whatever action is taken is sustainable.

    Be well.
     
    Jennifer Kirley likes this.
  10. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2015
    Messages:
    3,771
    Likes Received:
    1,905
    Trophy Points:
    112
    Location:
    In the "Rust Belt"
    Nicholas777 likes this.
  11. Pfrice

    Pfrice Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2018
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    2
    Thanks to everyone for their feedback and comments. We have a long term relationship with this particular auditor. He was our auditor for a number of years for a sister company for ISO 9001:2008. Because of the relationship and relief that he picked on an area that our management team deemed somewhat easy to mitigate, we did not dispute the NC. Believe me, he could have easily written up a number of NCs. His guidance from the certification body was to "be gentle" since this is a first audit for ISO 9001:2015. This particular company had not been through an ISO previously.

    As far as sustainability, part of the new hire onboarding now includes a meeting with our lead to go over ISO and how it is implemented here (these are group meeting held every two weeks). That takes care of new hires, but we need something to address the current employees. I appreciate Jennifer's comment about if she gave me a presentation for awareness, it would not be for my organization. She also gave me some themes to form the briefing around. The training will be broken out by department, so I can tie the overall company objectives to the departmental ones and even into the measures of effectiveness.

    This is a great group and has been very helpful in establishing my company's ISO framework.

    Thanks for your help!
    Pam
     
    John C. Abnet likes this.
  12. Andy Nichols

    Andy Nichols Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2015
    Messages:
    3,771
    Likes Received:
    1,905
    Trophy Points:
    112
    Location:
    In the "Rust Belt"
    The accreditation bodies (ANAB, UKAS etc) have been trying to stop this for a while now...
     
  13. Pfrice

    Pfrice Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2018
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    2
    Nicholas777 and Andy Nichols like this.
  14. Golfman25

    Golfman25 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2015
    Messages:
    724
    Likes Received:
    356
    Trophy Points:
    62
    Unfortunately this auditor did you no favors by issuing one questionable NC vs a handful of legitimate NCs. As others have said, you're chasing a ghost.

    This quote from Jen sums it up nicely: "Many times people do understand all these things but don't know how to answer an auditor's question unless the auditor manages to ask in everyday language." You need to find out who the people are and what was asked and how they answered to get to the root cause. Was it they didn't understand their "awareness" or they didn't understand the question? If I went to my guys and asked "what are the implications of not conforming with the quality management system requirements," they would look at me like I had horns. If I went and asked "what happens if you mess up," they would be able to answer. By going to "awareness training" your forcing employees to sit thru one of the boring ISO presentations that everyone rolls their eyes at. All it will do is weaken your system. Good luck.
     
    tony s likes this.

Share This Page