Employee Motivation and Empowerment - TS 16949 Clause 6.2.2.4

Dan M

Involved In Discussions
#1
Hi, In our surveillance audit we received a minor nonconformity because "the process for providing feedback on how well the internal communication channels are functioning is not fully effective."

The position that I tried to take with our auditor was that within our internal audit process we interview a sample of employees and ask if they are familiar with the quality policy and objectives & how they feel their job impacts quality and the customer. I guess our auditor did not believe that this approach was systematic enough or the sample size was insufficient.

Can anyone provide some examples of how you accomplished this type of measurement (indicated in 6.2.2.4)?

Many Thanks!
 
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Mikishots

Trusted Information Resource
#2
Re: Employee Motivation and Empowerment 6.2.2.4

Hi, In our surveillance audit we received a minor nonconformity because "the process for providing feedback on how well the internal communication channels are functioning is not fully effective."

The position that I tried to take with our auditor was that within our internal audit process we interview a sample of employees and ask if they are familiar with the quality policy and objectives & how they feel their job impacts quality and the customer. I guess our auditor did not believe that this approach was systematic enough or the sample size was insufficient.

Can anyone provide some examples of how you accomplished this type of measurement (indicated in 6.2.2.4)?

Many Thanks!
What was the objective evidence given by the auditor? If he/she actually made enquiries with their own sampling of staff and came away with evidence that those sampled folks were not sufficiently familiar with the QP or gave weak answers to how their job relates to quality and ultimately customer satisfaction, then the finding is completely valid.

What was your sampling method (i.e. how many staff altogether, and how many did you select)? Sorry for all lthe questions, but more info can help get you a meaningful answer.
 

Dan M

Involved In Discussions
#3
Re: Employee Motivation and Empowerment 6.2.2.4

What was the objective evidence given by the auditor? If he/she actually made enquiries with their own sampling of staff and came away with evidence that those sampled folks were not sufficiently familiar with the QP or gave weak answers to how their job relates to quality and ultimately customer satisfaction, then the finding is completely valid.

What was your sampling method (i.e. how many staff altogether, and how many did you select)? Sorry for all lthe questions, but more info can help get you a meaningful answer.
Actually our auditor asked me what our process was for measuring effectiveness of communication. I do not think the nonconformity was written because our communication process was ineffective, but rather, it was written because our Management lacked a process to measure the effectiveness (Of our communication process).

The sample criteria that we used in our internal audits was not defined. The plant of about 100 people we asked maybe five people.
 

qusys

Trusted Information Resource
#4
Hi, In our surveillance audit we received a minor nonconformity because "the process for providing feedback on how well the internal communication channels are functioning is not fully effective."

The position that I tried to take with our auditor was that within our internal audit process we interview a sample of employees and ask if they are familiar with the quality policy and objectives & how they feel their job impacts quality and the customer. I guess our auditor did not believe that this approach was systematic enough or the sample size was insufficient.

Can anyone provide some examples of how you accomplished this type of measurement (indicated in 6.2.2.4)?

Many Thanks!
Hi Dan,
the clause of ncn seems to me not adequate, because 6.2.2.4 briefly states that the organization shall have processes to: motivate employees to achieve quality objectives , make continual improvements,create an environment that promotes innovation , promote quality & technological awareness throughout the whole organization , measure the extent to which its personnel are aware of the relevance and importance of their work and their contribution to achieving quality objectives .
No reference is done to "internal communication channels". In some organization I have seen that there are incentive pays linked to the quality objectives and goals set by groups and people of the organization, perfomance rewiwes, suggestion programs and special rewards to propose and implement news ideas and plan for processes improvements, rewards for patents issuing and new projects implemented to meet the requirement, training paths to acquire knowledge of ultimate technology for the products of the organization.
Besides, for the last item, the organization usually make internal survey on specific topic regarding quality pertaining arguments, level of engagement of personnel etc. and results are examined and analyzed by top mgmt to come out with actions in case of revealed weakness areas.

What I guess is that you did not give auditor evidence that you have analysed results of what you sampled and have actions to improve the weaknesses if any.
However I am still convinced that the statement of ncn is not pertinent to the clause that the auditor mentioned in the raised ncn.
Pls, give us more details and clarify if I was wrong in my understanding.
 
Last edited:

Dan M

Involved In Discussions
#5
Hi Dan,
the clause of ncn seems to me not adequate, because 6.2.2.4 briefly states that the organization shall have processes to: motivate employees to achieve quality objectives , make continual improvements,create an environment that promotes innovation , promote quality & technological awareness throughout the whole organization , measure the extent to which its personnel are aware of the relevance and importance of their work and their contribution to achieving quality objectives .
No reference is done to "internal communication channels". In some organization I have seen that there are incentive pays linked to the quality objectives and goals set by groups and people of the organization, perfomance rewiwes, suggestion programs and special rewards to propose and implement news ideas and plan for processes improvements, rewards for patents issuing and new projects implemented to meet the requirement, training paths to acquire knowledge of ultimate technology for the products of the organization.
Besides, for the last item, the organization usually make internal survey on specific topic regarding quality pertaining arguments, level of engagement of personnel etc. and results are examined and analyzed by top mgmt to come out with actions in case of revealed weakness areas.

What I guess is that you did not give auditor evidence that you have analysed results of what you sampled and have actions to improve the weaknesses if any.
However I am still convinced that the statement of ncn is not pertinent to the clause that the auditor mentioned in the raised ncn.
Pls, give us more details and clarify if I was wrong in my understanding.
Thanks for the response. The exact language of the NC is:

"The process for providing feedback on how well the internal communication channels are functioning is not fully effective.
The TS 16949-2009 specification requires the organization shall have a process to measure the extent to which its personnel are aware of the relevance and importance of their activities and how they contribute to the achievement of the quality objectives.
Discussions with salient personnel indicated that while there might be informal methods used that a defined consistent process does not exist."


I think his assessment is fair because we were unable to specify how many employees are sampled and interviewed on this topic in internal audits.
 
#6
This is one of those cheap findings that they teach auditors now. It has replaced the old "look at every instrument in the building to try to find one that has an out of date calibration sticker" gag.

We got this one a few years ago from an auditor that had 2 of his 4 findings tossed out under protest before he even got home and filed his report. Here's what we did:
Created a spreadsheet with every employee's name down the side.
Across the top, add a year column.
Every year, ask each employee to choose one of these:
Question: How aware are you of the relevance and importance of your activities and how they contribute to the achievement of the quality objectives?
  • 1=Unaware
  • 2=Aware
  • 3=So Extremely Aware It's Frightening
Record their answer.
Update annually and keep an average for each year.
Sorted.

I have a monthly QA checklist where I check team metric dashboards, update the continual improvement, corrective action and preventive action database, check equipment calibration, update any expired ISO9001 registrations in the supplier database, etc. I spend maybe 4 hours on this each month so I don't have to do one of those old-fashioned "clean up for two weeks right before the surveillance audit" things. I ask 5 or 6 employees each month (we only have 55) while I'm walking through the plant. I also ask about their kids and if they have any obstacles (like poor instructions or broken tools) to doing a quality job and putting out a quality product. However, I am far more subtle about how I ask these questions as I am the Obi-Wan Kenobi of quality.:magic:

You would be amazed how an proactive approach like this can take the insanity out of a QA manager's job. (With hearty thanks to Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People)
 

Dan M

Involved In Discussions
#7
This is one of those cheap findings that they teach auditors now. It has replaced the old "look at every instrument in the building to try to find one that has an out of date calibration sticker" gag.
I had to laugh.

We got this one a few years ago from an auditor that had 2 of his 4 findings tossed out under protest before he even got home and filed his report. Here's what we did:
Created a spreadsheet with every employee's name down the side.
Across the top, add a year column.
Every year, ask each employee to choose one of these:
Question: How aware are you of the relevance and importance of your activities and how they contribute to the achievement of the quality objectives?
  • 1=Unaware
  • 2=Aware
  • 3=So Extremely Aware It's Frightening
Record their answer.
Update annually and keep an average for each year.
Sorted.

I have a monthly QA checklist where I check team metric dashboards, update the continual improvement, corrective action and preventive action database, check equipment calibration, update any expired ISO9001 registrations in the supplier database, etc. I spend maybe 4 hours on this each month so I don't have to do one of those old-fashioned "clean up for two weeks right before the surveillance audit" things. I ask 5 or 6 employees each month (we only have 55) while I'm walking through the plant. I also ask about their kids and if they have any obstacles (like poor instructions or broken tools) to doing a quality job and putting out a quality product. However, I am far more subtle about how I ask these questions as I am the Obi-Wan Kenobi of quality.:magic:

You would be amazed how an proactive approach like this can take the insanity out of a QA manager's job. (With hearty thanks to Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People)
Thanks much for sharing your methodology! I like that it is a verbal interview process, rather than a written questionnaire with written employee responses. I don't know about your company, but in ours any written questionaires or surveys we present to employees to complete must be vetted by HR and legal before they can be approved for implementation. (Too time consuming).

I trust that since you implemented it a few years ago, it was accepted by the auditor and he has moved on to nit-pick in other areas.
 

Golfman25

Trusted Information Resource
#8
I agree with Icy. It is nit pick finding.

We do something similar as Icy, but we do it as part of the employees review. The same question is asked on a scale of 1-5 and the answers recorded.

Good luck.
 
#9
It would not be as funny if it were not true.
I trust that since you implemented it a few years ago, it was accepted by the auditor and he has moved on to nit-pick in other areas.
Corrective Action accepted and finding closed. Reviewed at next surveillance audit and noted as an innovative and interesting (because of answer 3) approach.

Our original TS auditor during our first three year cycle was a big picture guy:
  • Scrap cost/Cost of Goods produced = fraction of a percent
  • Rework hours/Total direct labor hours = fraction of a percent
  • Warranty Cost/Revenue = fraction of a percent
  • Active and effective CI/CA/PA system = check
  • Knowledgeable and engaged team members = check
  • Excellent customer ratings = check
  • Nit-pick findings = Why bother?
Because of the TS rules, we suffered through 3 years of checklist auditors (one of the three auditors was banned from our facility by the President) making sure that they got their quota of findings generated on borderline interpretations. These are a bear to answer with a true root cause and do nothing to improve the effectiveness of the quality system.

For the current 3 year cycle, our big picture guy has returned and everything has been smooth. Alas, in 2014, we start our 4th cycle. Hopefully, we can find another auditor who is more interested in an effective QMS than this kind of BS.
 

Dan M

Involved In Discussions
#10
Because of the TS rules, we suffered through 3 years of checklist auditors (one of the three auditors was banned from our facility by the President) making sure that they got their quota of findings generated on borderline interpretations.
There is an incentive to write corrective action requests because they bill an additional $100 to review each corrective action plan. At least our Registrar does this.
 
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