ISO 9001:2015 7.2 Competence

Jim Wynne

Leader
Admin
#31
The standard is still clear that they need to define what those competencies are whatever method they choose. If they say they use job descriptions and the employee doesn't meet the requirement they laid out they violated the standard. Define is more pointed than simply "whatever we think it should be at the time" which seems to be what many of you are suggesting.

How to determine that they actually have meet the competencies is another matter, but even that can't be done unless they first define what they are.
There is a difference between on-the-job competency and attributes listed in a job description or solicitation. As I suggested earlier, there might be "requirements" in a job description that aren't related to competency in a meaningful way. Is having a high school diploma a measure of competency in job performance?
 
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Golfman25

Trusted Information Resource
#32
There is a difference between on-the-job competency and attributes listed in a job description or solicitation. As I suggested earlier, there might be "requirements" in a job description that aren't related to competency in a meaningful way. Is having a high school diploma a measure of competency in job performance?
Exactly, a high school diploma might have a high correlation to on the job performance. So do all the other job descriptors. So we use those to weed applicants out. But competency is basically how well they can do their assigned job.
 
#33
The OP said their procedures covering competence said that "managers can consider other criteria or referrals and might hire someone without minimum requirements described in the job description".

Sounds to me like they list multiple ways to determine competence, which IMO is perfectly reasonable. How does that not meet the standard's requirements?
Your forgetting the requirement to record that. If what you documented for competency requirements don't match then there is a problem. "managers can consider other criteria or referrals" is fine, but the leaving it undocumented isn't.

It is easy to fix. If job descriptions are what are used to determine competency, REVISE them. The job descriptions belong to the organization and the organization has the authority and ability to revise them. Not doing so is just sloppy record keeping.
 

tony s

Information Seeker
Trusted Information Resource
#34
Our organization has a job description for every position with minimum education and experience background required. Besides, we provide job-related training and keep records of it. Our Human resources procedure says that managers can consider other criteria or referrals and might hire someone without minimum requirements described in the job description. Each year we discuss with our ISO external auditor, and he says that we can not do that.
The OP's issue here is that their procedure allow managers to deviate from the established "minimum requirements" that is based on education and experience. Although the standard requires organization to "determine the necessary competence of person(s).... and ensure that these persons are competent on the basis of appropriate education, training or experience", this doesn't prohibit the organization to exercise discretion for their advantage.

Education, training and experience are the means to acquire the competence necessary for the job function but they don't automatically satisfy the requirements of 7.2. Let me share the following references to help me in explaining my position:

From ISO/TS 9002:2016: "Where employees have a formal certified education (e.g. a university degree) such certification can be used to demonstrate that they have acquired part, or all, of the knowledge required to carry out their work, but not necessarily that they are able to apply that knowledge".
From ISO 10018:2012 Guidelines on people involvement and competence: "Competence requirements are more than academic qualifications, training and experience. They define the results or outcomes to be achieved for a particular job, the performance criteria or standards to be achieved, the evidence required and the method of obtaining it".
 
#35
Your forgetting the requirement to record that. If what you documented for competency requirements don't match then there is a problem. "managers can consider other criteria or referrals" is fine, but the leaving it undocumented isn't.

It is easy to fix. If job descriptions are what are used to determine competency, REVISE them. The job descriptions belong to the organization and the organization has the authority and ability to revise them. Not doing so is just sloppy record keeping.
Agreed to the full...
The OP post suggests that something is shady and the "other criteria or referrals" has got to do something with doing favor to someone rather than competency determination. (appointing a relative, appointing a watchdog with approval authority, ....and such)
Just writing up in the procedure like "managers can consider other criteria or referrals" is something like legalizing any which way is OK. This is not the intent in the standard and certainly not in a documented procedure. The OP must confirm if I am totally wrong.
 
#36
Good afternoon,

Our organization has a job description for every position with minimum education and experience background required. Besides, we provide job-related training and keep records of it. Our Human resources procedure says that managers can consider other criteria or referrals and might hire someone without minimum requirements described in the job description. Each year we discuss with our ISO external auditor, and he says that we can not do that. What is the best way to address this issue? As per my understanding, we are complying with clause 7.2 competence by proving job-related training and addressing in our procedure that managers might consider other criteria. Please suggest the best way to address this issue.
Your auditor is likely correct. The standard is VERY clear on the topic.

7.2 "The organization shall: a) determine the necessary competence of person(s) doing work under its control that effects the performance and effectiveness of the quality management system . . . "

It is a requirement that the organization "determine the necessary competence".

Further it states "d) retain appropriate documented information as evidence of competence".
Let's look at what the OP actually stated. The HR procedure offers an "out" if an otherwise desirable candidate doesn't fit all of the "requirements" stated in the job description. This is only tangentially related to competence. It doesn't mean that the job description is evidence of having determined the "necessary competence."

This is from the 2008 version of 9001, but the changes in the 2015 version are mostly superficial:
The organization must:
a) determine the necessary competence for personnel performing work affecting conformity to product
requirements,
b) where applicable, provide training or take other actions to achieve the necessary competence,
c) evaluate the effectiveness of the actions taken,
d) ensure that its personnel are aware of the relevance and importance of their activities and how they
contribute to the achievement of the quality objectives, and
e) maintain appropriate records of education, training, skills and experience (see 4.2.4)


Given "a" and "b" we can see that it's acceptable, after determining the necessary competence, to provide training (or take other actions) to achieve it. This means, at least by implication, that it's acceptable to hire people who might not have the necessary competence and then give them an opportunity to achieve it. The idea of allowing for a rational decision to forego certain "requirements" (not competencies, mind you) makes perfect sense and is done all the time. Furthermore, the listing of attributes given in job descriptions and solicitations is often ambiguous. Just for fun, I pulled up a solicitation for a quality engineer position on LinkedIn and found this:

Quality Engineer I Job Requirements:

Bachelors of Science in Engineering or related STEM field(s)
3+ years within a Manufacturing Environment
Experience operating and manipulating a QMS (Quality Management System)
Experience with Statistical Process control
Minimum six sigma green belt preferred
Experience in implementing a quality management system is a plus
Ability to work well with all levels of personnel throughout the facility.
On-call for Quality related production issues.

(My emphasis)
What does "operating and manipulating a QMS" mean? What extent of experience with SPC is necessary in order to be considered competent? Why are attributes identified as "preferred" and "a plus" listed as requirements?

There is no valid reason that (a) the qualifications of any candidate shouldn't be fluid except in cases where a minimum level of education and training is legally necessary and (b) candidates lacking one or more of the stated "requirements" shouldn't be hired and then trained to achieve the necessary competence.
 
#39
It figures, ISO takes 9 pages to explain determining competence, and I wonder if has really clarified much.
LOL I read through it because we have an auditor that loves to try and argue this with us every single year and it really just convoluted the whole thing even more. "Not every activity needs to be supported by documented information" but also "provide documented information".
 

Tagin

Trusted Information Resource
#40
'Competency' is one of those situations where there is a vast territory being spanned - from competency to stack boxes to competency to safely handle radioactive uranium to competency to manage a global enterprise. This makes it impossible to pin down 'competence' to some singularly prescriptive definition.

As structured, I think 7.2 can be best addressed in a PDCA format:
  • PLAN: 7.2a -"determine the necessary competence ..."
  • DO: 7.2b - "ensure that these persons are competent on the basis of appropriate education, training, or experience; " and first part of 7.2c - "where applicable, take actions to acquire the necessary competence"
  • CHECK (2nd half of 7.2c): "...evaluate the effectiveness of the actions taken;"
  • ACT (implied in 7.2c): Take action as needed

So, a simplistic example might be:
  • PLAN - "We list the necessary competencies in our job description"
  • DO - "We hire or transfer people in accordance with the competencies of the job description, and, as needed on an individual basis, the manager is responsible for providing mentoring and guidance to train the person to the appropriate competency. Training records are created and signed when the person has demonstrated competence to the manager's satisfaction."
  • CHECK - "Competence effectiveness is monitored by quarterly review of nonconformances with causes related to personnel competency, by complaints to HR and/or management related to personnel competency, and by management reviews (9.3.2c & d)."
  • ACT - "When a person's competency is found to be lacking, management will take steps to address this; possible actions include but are not limited to: remedial training, transfer to another job role, or termination."
  • Retained information: training records, nonconformance records, quarterly N/C review notes, management review records.

I do think that as part of PLAN, that RBT should be incorporated, perhaps explicitly in some cases. As the audit guidance doc says:
Auditors should understand the context of the organization and the changes that could affect competence needs, as well as the potential impact of lack of competence. Auditors should evaluate how risk-based thinking is applied to the determination and update of risks related to competence.
For example, in a warehouse environment with forklifts, adequate training to forklift safety and policies is critical to preventing injuries or deaths. A retail clerk lacking competency may annoy or anger customers so that they don't return; that is a risk, but is is lesser than the forklist operator risk.
 
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