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How ISO 9001 Benefits Employees

7 September 2020

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When you're running a business, you understand that employee satisfaction is a critical ingredient for success. In this article we'll show you how a well-implemented ISO 9001 system will support, empower and develop your employees, and provide them with a work environment they want to be part of long term.

A poor work environment, on the other hand, creates a vicious circle in which companies are unable to attract motivated and productive employees leading in turn to decreased job satisfaction. Poor staff morale can have a significant impact on the efficiency of your organization and an adverse effect on your bottom line, and constant churn can pose risks to your intellectual property and information security.

Competent, empowered and engaged people at all levels throughout the organization are essential to enhance its capability to create and deliver value.

A good reputation as an employer helps you recruit and retain excellent staff. Let's examine what it takes to be considered a top-rated employer.

What Makes a Top-Rated Employer

Numerous studies have analyzed top-rated companies to determine why staff love being a part of them. While several different reasons are usually given, it's easy to identify four key factors that contribute most to employee satisfaction:

A strong supportive culture
Employees respect leadership that communicates focus and vision. They also appreciate creative, forward-thinking cultures that promote mutual trust, encouragement and support. Important too is a feeling of passion throughout the workplace. When enthusiasm is rife, work is considered more exciting and fulfilling, and employees go the extra yard to contribute.

Personal and professional growth
This is one of the most commonly-cited reasons for employee satisfaction. Staff at all levels of the organization respond positively to training programs, staff reviews and evaluations, additional responsibilities and career progression. Employees love to feel they're part of an organization that's going places and their career is in safe hands.

A challenging work environment
No one wants to be stuck in a dead-end job at a company that adheres to outdated practices, uses antiquated technology and pays scant attention to the cleanliness and safety of the work environment. Top-rated employers recognize these issues and make the workplace as safe, modern and vibrant as possible. They also empower employees with fresh challenges, encouraging them at all times to explore their potential and perform better.

Recognition / Feeling valued
Everyone wants to feel they are valued and their contributions matter. The best employers reward employees' efforts and recognize their achievements. Some companies even go as far as to thank their staff at the end of every shift. The net result is a workforce that feels cared about and supported, and most of all, valued.

ISO 9001 is a comprehensive quality management system (QMS) that touches not only on all work processes but also affects virtually all employees. Implemented right, the QMS positively impacts employees and provides you with a robust framework that makes your organization a more attractive employer.

Let's examine in detail why and how an efficient ISO system leads to a better, more satisfied workforce.

How ISO 9001 Impacts on Employees

Personal and professional development are main contributors to job satisfaction. With ISO 9001, your employees benefit from a goal-oriented approach towards training that focuses on individual competencies and facilitates optimal training. Training evaluation and follow-up together with well-structured employee reviews ensure that development goals are achieved.

The QMS also provides a good framework for managers to recognize competencies, skills and interests, develop them and assign employees to more challenging and rewarding positions.

More Supportive Corporate Culture

A strong supportive culture with enthusiastic employees is not only a sign of high job satisfaction but also a basis for higher productivity. ISO 9001 sets the right framework with top management establishing policy, strategy and a clear direction that are communicated throughout the organization.

Formal goals are established and performance measured and analyzed to inform and support the decisions of management according to the principle of fact-based decisions. For employees, objective and logical management decisions create an environment of trust and integrity that encourages employee ideas and contributions.

The process approach, a fundamental concept of ISO 9001, helps your business identify weak links between activities and departments and make logical improvements, and employees see the bigger picture of how their activities affect the rest of the organization.

The ISO 9001 internal audit program creates an opportunity to learn about different parts of the organization and share best practices. Employees understand more how work processes are interrelated, leading to overall better and more balanced improvement initiatives.

The ISO concepts of root cause analysis, risk-based thinking and assessment of opportunities encourage employee contribution and lead to a more creative and forward-thinking culture.

Empowered Employees

The feeling of being empowered is another important factor that contributes to job satisfaction. In fact, involving and engaging employees is among ISO's core principles.

Implementing your QMS correctly involves everyone throughout your organization in improving work processes, showing employees that their opinions matter and that changes aren't just imposed from above.

An important aspect of empowering employees is the standard's focus on clearly defined responsibilities and clear authorities. An entire framework of controls and communication channels ensures that empowerment is not subject to the whims of managers.

ISO 9001 incorporates a framework of continual improvement fostering employee contributions and putting them into action.

The standard's strong focus on customers and their needs helps your staff better understand how their actions affect the end product and how actions can lead to improvements.

Meaningful metrics that measure work processes and customer satisfaction provide provide a basis for improvement initiatives and a positive feedback loop for employee efforts.

More Satisfying Work Environment

A safe, modern and vibrant work environment is another contributor to job satisfaction. The ISO framework provides for a thorough assessment of the workplace to establish ideal conditions. Managers identify and provide the resources that support activity, output and productivity, resulting in a more modern and efficient workplace.

Well-designed ISO 9001 internal audits lead to a better work environment not just through their control aspect but through the identification, communication and implementation of best business practices.

Job Security

A well-designed QMS results in a more dynamic and growing company, while the certification brings along a measure of pride. From an employee's point of view, this inspires confidence in the future of the organization and better job security, another highly desirable feature of top-rated employees.

Marketing the Benefits

If set up correctly, your ISO 9001 system can lead to all of these benefits and make you an attractive employer. Companies just starting with ISO, however, must convince their employees ahead of time of the upcoming benefits to gain support as only a fully supported QMS will provide the entire spectrum of benefits.

We strongly recommend you give your employees a basic introduction to ISO 9001 as early as possible and discuss the benefits that they can expect. Once the necessary buy-in is achieved, your company is in the right position to set up a QMS that makes your company a top-rated employer.

Conclusion

A well-designed ISO 9001 quality management system can make you a top-rated employer that employees love to work for. ISO 9001's interrelated requirements engage people at all levels and create a culture that trains, motivates and empowers them. Professional growth is complemented by work environments that are both stimulating and rewarding.

We've mentioned several times that the benefits of ISO 9001 on your organization - and your employees - are dependent on the way that you implment the standard. Read our practical 5-step guide to certification to find out how our simplified approach supports your ISO 9001 implementation so that your company and employees gain the most.

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    How do you think ISO 9001:2015 can improve your workplace environment and employee retention? Let us know in the comments below (all relevant, respectful feedback is welcomed per our guidelines).

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