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Employee Handbook in ISO 9001:2015 Section 7

#1
A consultant recommended that we incorporate our company "Employee Handbook and signature page as QMS documents. This will show compliance to Section 7.1.4 in ISO 9001:2015". That section states "the organization shall determine, provide and maintain the environment necessary for the operation of its processes..." It does not require that any of this be documented. We are reluctant to incorporate the handbook as it does not contain any language pertaining specifically to the QMS and we do not want it open to audits. In twenty years of being audited by registrars, the government and customers have I ever been asked about our employee handbook. Does it make sense to incorporate our employee handbook?
 
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Ninja

Looking for Reality
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#2
Stepping outside of ISO and auditors...over into logic and practicality...

Do you care what your handbook says? There's likely legal stuff in there for limit of liability, etc.
If you care what it says, and it changes sometimes (they all do as case law evolves)...doesn't it belong as a controlled document?
Not for an auditor, not for an ISO checkbox...but for control over a document important to your organization.

Now that it's a controlled document for practical reasons...why not point at it for said clause and lighten the workload?
 

Johnnymo62

Haste Makes Waste
#3
If your shop is a union shop it may become a legal document. It was our primary employee and company responsibilities document and was referenced in the union contract.
 
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Sidney Vianna

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#4
Does it make sense to incorporate our employee handbook?
Absolutely not.

In the future, when the ISO System Standards bring requirements related to "ethical behavior", (like AS9100 already does) it might make sense for your "Code of Conduct" to be referenced, but, for the most part, typical Employee Handbooks have nothing to do with section 7.1.4 of 9001:2015.
 

Ninja

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#5
Not disagreeing with Sidney...but I still think it a good idea to "control" your employee handbook...
I, personally, would use the control mechanism I've already got at my fingertips...but that's me.

Note that "control" and "incorporate" are not necessarily synonymous.

By "legal stuff", I mean things like vacation time vs. personal time and recompense on termination of employment, Bereavement leave policy, non-compete clauses, etc. It only becomes "legal-ish" when something goes badly and you have to use it as proof of communication of policy.
I've always been required to sign the employee handbook and it served as an employment contract as well...I imagine that varies from place to place.
 

Sidney Vianna

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#6
Not disagreeing with Sidney...but I still think it a good idea to "control" your employee handbook...
But the issue has nothing to do with "control". The issue is: if an organization describes that, by complying with the Employee Handbook, it ensures compliance with ISO 9001:2015 7.1.4, it opens up the path for ANY auditor (internal and external) to assess if anyone in the organization is in conformance with such handbook. Pandora's box being opened during a sled ride on a slippery slope.
 

Ninja

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#7
As it relates to incorporating the handbook into the QMS to satisfy ISO or an auditor...I agree with you.
...and that is the topic broached by the OP...so I agree with you.

As it relates to controlling an important document, aside from anything whatever to do with a QMS or standard...I would control it using the control mechanism I already have in place.
 

Cari Spears

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#8
Our employee handbook and our union CBA are not part of our QMS documents. They are "controlled" by the HR Manager and our executive management. They do not ever come up as part of our AS9100 audit, and I would not give any consideration to an auditor's suggestion that they be referenced in QMS documents.
 

Mike S.

Happy to be Alive
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#9
Aside from the union mention, what Cari says is exactly how every company I have been in for over 30 years handles things, and I agree about ignoring the auditor's recommendation.
 

Tagin

Trusted Information Resource
#10
I am of the view that the Employee Handbook should be included in the QMS. It's scope is so broad and pervasive that the policies and practices prescribed therein have impact across the company, it's business practices, and its employees.

This document usually does address things like harassment policies, employee complaints, etc. which to me falls squarely under 7.1.4:
a) social (e.g. non-discriminatory, calm, non-confrontational);
b) psychological (e.g. stress-reducing, burnout prevention, emotionally protective);
It is entirely possible to include the handbook in the QMS -AND- to maintain its control using the methods currently in place (e.g., HR Mgr controls it).

If you have concern that an auditor will delve into the employee handbook and find nonconformances, then hiding it from your QMS is just evading problems, not fixing them. Is your employee handbook really that far out of sync with your actual practices? If so, why has the responsible party not fixed it? Make it part of the QMS and bring it up in Management Review.
 
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