Does Quality Matter?
Newman Stewart is currently working towards BS EN ISO 9001:2015, having achieved accreditation against the equivalent standard previously. If achieved, it shows our clients that we are committed to a superior level of service. Whilst working through the due diligence involved in defining and implementing our QMS (Quality Management System), I came across this interesting debate on the CQI Forum.
Why Achieve Accreditation?
It really got me thinking about why companies like Newman Stewart spend so much of their resources on achieving such accolades. Achieving the standard isn’t something you can take lightly. We have been preparing for it for some time now, working with a specialist external consultant to ensure our policies and procedures are in place and understood by all employees, in time for an upcoming audit.
The reason we are running the gauntlet is that we are ever conscious of the constant attention on quality that is needed to preserve our integrity and strong values, which in turn, differentiate us from other executive search firms. We are committed to excel in the recruitment of executive, management and other skilled professionals on behalf of our clients. But is it worth it and does it drive business performance?
Standing out from the crowd
I tend to agree with one forum member who says that it depends on whether the policy suits the context of the organization. Also, does the policy include wild claims about exceptional customer service that are a) unachievable, b) unrealistic and c) not demonstrated through employees behaviours.
Any services business lives and dies by its reputation. As a high end executive search firm who often headhunts high earning candidates for business critical roles, a certain level of service is not only expected, but essential if we are going to maintain any sort of reputation with our clients and candidates. If we started headhunting a candidate from a client in order to win business with another company in the same industry for example, we wouldn’t have a business for very long. There are certain codes of practice we have to live by to be credible, and by having a QMS in place, we hope it demonstrates just how seriously we take this responsibility.
The proof is in the pudding
We are in the process of communicating our quality policies and procedures to our employees in order to gain their buy in. We hope that by working for Newman Stewart, they already know the high standards expected of them, but by making quality policies visible and demonstrating the importance from the top down, a QMS really does become meaningful.
If the objectives of the QMS can be proven, for example through NPS scores, client retention rates, service levels, reviews and so on, then quality becomes embedded in a company’s DNA. That’s why we think quality matters.
As one professional on the forum commented “having common guidelines and aspirations for quality provides a clue to the values and behaviours expected of all employees.” If business processes meet quality objectives, and employees values and behaviours live up to those standards, then that has to drive business performance in a company such as ours.
Visit BSI’s website for more information on Quality Standard 9001