Are people at the center of your quality management strategy? They should be.

Cordage Team
Dec 18, 2019

A quality management strategy is important to achieving high-quality processes, products, and services in an organization. 

It defines how the quality management system will be applied across the whole organization, by setting out any quality standards, procedures, techniques, and tools that will be used to achieve quality objectives.

Successfully implementing a quality management strategy can help reduce costs by avoiding quality failures and streamlining processes. It can lead to better customer experiences and can result in more sustainable, high-quality products and operations. 

However, many companies have failed to see the benefits of implementing a quality management strategy, and are wondering what they’re doing wrong.

Research shows that the separating factor between a successful and an unsuccessful quality management strategy is whether or not the people in an organization are committed to it.

Although the end-goal of a quality management strategy might be to produce a product or service that is of a high standard, the employees in a company are largely responsible for achieving this.

Without executive commitment, engagement and empowerment of employees, as well as the creation of a positive work culture within a company, the quality management strategy might not be successful.

Leaders need to be committed

It’s enough for one person to be tasked with the mandate to achieve quality in an organization. 

For the quality management strategy to work, the whole organization needs to be committed to quality, and this often stems from the top – the managers or leaders.

Yet, approximately two-thirds of managers’ report to being either not engaged or actively disengaged in their work and workplace. Additionally, less than 30% of managers strongly agree that someone at work encourages their development.

If leaders are not positive and passionate about an organization, the people working alongside them will not be either.

Organizations need to prioritize providing training and support to their managers and leaders to ensure that their quality management strategy is successfully implemented.

Employees need to be engaged and empowered

Employees are responsible for manufacturing the products, as well as interacting with clients in an organization. In order for them to produce high-quality results in the workplace, they need to feel a sense of responsibility and commitment to the company.

Research shows that engaged employees are more productive. Additionally, an organization will benefit from greater customer satisfaction levels if employees are engaged.

An example of promoting employee empowerment and engagement is how Adobe changed its employee feedback system. 

They shifted from a traditional method of providing employees with annual performance reviews to a new performance management process called Check-in. Check-in is a two-way dialogue between a manager and an employee, which provides on-going feedback focused on performance throughout the year.

Adobe reported that since the Check-in process was implemented, 70% – 80% of employees are aligned with expectations, receive regular feedback regarding their development, and feel that their managers are open to feedback as well.

Create a positive work culture 

An unhealthy, stressful work culture can be costly to a company, and will subsequently affect the success of a quality management strategy.

Health care expenditures are nearly 50% greater at high-pressure companies than at other organizations. Additionally, 60%-80% of workplace accidents are attributed to stress.

Creating a positive work culture includes ensuring that employees feel valued, supported, inspired, and empowered at their workplace. This will result in them being more engaged, and more loyal to your organization and its vision.

To conclude

Quality management involves improving processes within a company, to ensure that predefined quality requirements, or objectives, are fulfilled as an outcome.

However, successfully implementing a quality management strategy in an organization is not solely dependent on stand-alone tools and techniques to improve processes and ultimately products. 

A successful quality management strategy acknowledges the role that people play in an organization, and focuses on leaders, employees, and creating a positive work culture in your organization.

This will produce a sustainable, positive change in quality.