AS 9100 aerospace quality management systems enable organizations a framework for using a process-based approach to meeting customer requirements. AS 9100 in clause 5.1.1h requires the leadership to show their commitment to the system by “engaging, directing, and supporting persons to contribute to the effectiveness of the quality management system.” Further clause 7.3 asks organizations to ensure that those working under their control are aware of their contributions to the effectiveness of the system, to product safety, product conformity and the need for ethical behavior. Many organizations struggle to get employee buy-in to the system. Some organizations reward best teams and performers but how do we get intrinsic involvement and buy-in from all. This article discusses some steps that companies can take to encourage intrinsic employee involvement in the system.

Setting Challenging Objectives

AS 9100 asks organizations to set objectives at relevant functions, levels and processes. When setting objectives, QMII encourages organizations to set objectives for each process/procedure. These can further be broken down into smaller goals for individual process team members. The objectives must flow from the policy so in doing their work to achieve the goals it is clear to the employee on how they impact the customer. The objectives when too easy do not encourage improvement or motivate the workforce. When too challenging affect morale as the goals/objectives are never reached. Review the objectives at periodic intervals to monitor progress and readjust as necessary.

Management Involvement

The workforce is more willing to pitch in when they see the leader pitching in. This must be something they do often rather than once in a while. The workforce must get representation at meetings on quality. This may be in the form of their suggestions for improvement being presented to the management at the management review and then receiving feedback on their suggestions rather than never knowing what happened. Management may choose to present to the workforce on a monthly or quarterly basis on the state of the system so the workforce knows where the organization stands and where it is heading. The workforce must feel like the part of a team and a valued team member. Only then will they willingly contribute.

Customer Focus

Often each worker may not know who the end customer is or get to see the end product in use and how the product benefits customers and their business and further end users. Organizations must make known to the users who the end customer is, share positive feedback received from customers, accolades received by the company and perhaps even arrange to see the end product in use.

Personal Development

Investing in personnel is a great way for an organization to show the workforce that they care. That you are willing to invest in them because they invest so much in what they do. Consider AS 9100 training for your workforce. It will also better help them understand why they do what they do. QMII offers a number of different training formats for AS 9100, including an overview, internal auditor and lead auditor format.