ISO 10018 Draft

With key elements of ISO 9001 focused on people, ISO 10018 is under development to explain the human element in successful management systems.

ISO 10018, “Quality management – Guidelines on people involvement and competences”, is at the Committee Draft stage, with publication targeted for February 2012.

According to Paul Simpson, IRCA Technical Manager and Member of the ISO 10018 Working Group, most auditors are aware of the need to consider the people aspects when auditing a management system. He says systems are not simply documents describing processes to be followed, nor records evaluated for evidence that processes are effectively implemented. A system is the sum of behaviors and the values of individuals from top to bottom.

ISO 10018 will give much needed guidance on people involvement and competence in quality management systems. Although being developed by ISO/TC 176, the technical committee responsible for publishing the ISO 9000 series and supporting standards, the principles apply equally to other management systems.

What is Covered?

At the heart of ISO 10018 are four key areas:

1. the eight quality management principles
2. human factors that can affect quality
3. competence acquisition and people involvement
4. specific guidance against ISO 9001 clauses

When ISO 9001 was reissued in 2000, it was based on eight quality management principles as outlined in ISO 9000. Four of these principles are about people, but ISO 9001 does not develop these principles to any extent. This was the main reason why ISO set up a working group to create a standard providing guidance on how people affect the principles and how more effective use of people can improve an organization.

The standard will give specific guidance as to where an improved use of human factors can help with satisfying each clause of ISO 9001. ISO 10018 will also include two outline processes covering competence acquisition and people involvement.

The Human Factor

ISO 10018 will provide a brief overview of how human factors that affect quality can be effectively used within a management system. Human factors are broken down into three groups in the document: 1) leadership, 2) people involvement, and 3) competence. Recommendations over the years for effective quality management have included the first two groups. The third, competence, is a particularly hot topic at the moment with the issue of ISO 17021 for certification bodies.

1) Leadership Factors:

  • leadership – the role of a leader within an organization
  • culture and values – how leaders are involved in establishing an organizational culture through their behavior and values
  • change management – the leader role in managing change, including culture change and involving people
  • knowledge management – the role of leaders in ensuring knowledge is shared within the organization and used effectively

2) People Involvement Factors:

  • communication – a key area within most organizations (and so easy to get wrong); the guidance looks at targeting messages and the use of various media
  • teamwork – the ability to work with others to achieve company goals is fundamental to ensuring work gets done
  • networking and collaboration – an area related to teamwork and communication. Many professionals build networks of contacts and interested partners to enable them to use resources not contained within the organization
  • discipline – both self and external discipline are required to ensure most tasks are completed to plan
  • empowerment and responsibility – the other side of the coin to discipline. Empowerment enables employees to work with little supervision in areas of their responsibility
  • exploration – the process for taking calculated and reasonable risks and to learn through experience
  • recognition and rewards – providing feedback to employees on a job well done and ensuring rewards are aligned with achievement

3) Competence Factors:

  • recruitment – the process for bringing people into the organization
  • education and learning – processes for developing knowledge and skills
  • awareness – how to make people aware of all the key aspects of processes they are working in
  • creativity and innovation – in these changing times, the ability to apply creative solutions to challenges and to quickly innovate are becoming core competences
  • competence itself – the sum of all the parts above

If any organization carries out its activities with all of these people aspects in mind, then the key benefit will be improved performance through engaged employees with a clear understanding of where the organization is going and how each person can help it to get there.

Auditing and ISO 10018

Auditors that assess against ISO 9001 will not have to worry about the need to raise additional nonconformities against ISO 10018. The draft standard does not add any requirements to ISO 9001, it merely provides guidance to understand the people aspects in effective implementation for those involved in developing management systems.

Users of the standard are expected to be an organization’s leaders and those with responsibility for developing and implementing systems. However, auditors familiar with ISO 10018 could use it to point an auditee to areas of best practice.

Note: This article is an edited version of an article written by Paul Simpson for the IRCA Quarterly e-zine. If you want to participate in the IRCA forum discussion on ISO 10018, go to this IRCA forum webpage