Human Resources & Competence Procedure Explained (ISO 9001)

The Human resources and competence procedure deals with organizational roles, responsibilities, authorities, people, competency, and awareness. Competency and understanding cannot be emphasized enough and go hand in hand as a vital part of the HR section in the ISO 9001 management system.

As a quality management system, ISO 9001 is the most well-integrated system available to help your company effectively manage quality control. ISO 9001 clauses 5.3, 7.1.2, 7.2 and 7.3 help the company record and measure how effectively quality is managed and considers the value of the personnel making it happen. Let’s look at these clauses in more detail.


Human Resources Roles and Responsibilities

Clause 5.3 — organizational Roles, Responsibilities, and Authorities

Before any recruitment in your company, there needs to be a clear definition of job roles. Detailed job descriptions need to be set out, and this needs to be linked with the business process.

While a salesperson might only require one year's experience, a line manager might need five years' experience to run his division successfully. With every new appointment in a company, there will be a 3 to 4 months probation period. Usually, there will be a senior personnel member overseeing the new member for that period.

The responsibilities Of Top Management

ISO 9001 requires that all top management should assign the relevant roles, authorities, and responsibilities for;

  • To preserve the company’s Quality Management System during any changes and
  • To determine opportunities for dimprovement.

Clause 7.1.2 — People

No company can function without people. ISO 9001 clause 7.1.2 expects a company to determine and appoint the appropriate staff required to execute the Quality Management System, control its processes effectively & delivery quality goods and/or services to customer satisfaction.

Competence spyglass

Clause 7.2 — Competence

In your company’s QMS, you should check that it makes provision for addressing competency and review if it is effective. Previously in ISO 9001:2008, the clause closely resembles clause 7.2 is Human Resources clause 6.2.1 and Competency Training and Awareness.

The determination of competence in a company is critical. Your company should develop, establish and document a process to assess existing personnel competence. Those should be checked against the current trends in the sector.

Clause 7.3 — Awareness

As a new requirement under ISO 9001, awareness is defined as follows “awareness is reached when people understand their responsibilities as well as how their actions can contribute to achieving the organization's objectives." It is comparable to clause 6.2.2 Competence training & awareness in the 2008 version but is now standalone.

You need to find evidence that this requirement is applied throughout the company. Ensure that personnel who work on behalf of the company and could affect the conformity of the Quality Management System are made aware of their responsibilities and duties.

What Do Personnel Need To Be Aware Of Under Clause 7.3?

  • The quality policy and its objectives as a whole
  • Quality objectives relevant to their role
  • The individual contribution to the effectiveness of the company’s QMS
  • The benefits of the individual's contribution to the performance of the QMS
  • As a new requirement – the implications of nonconformity to the QMS


How to Implement the Procedure

Step 1 - Define Roles And Responsibilities

Primarily you should draft an organizational chart and create job descriptions that satisfy the following requirements;

  • Clearly define the roles, responsibilities, and appointed authorities.
  • Communicate those responsibilities, roles, and authorities throughout the company.
  • Ensure the requirements are communicated, and that customer priority is understood.
  • Set out the responsibility for reporting, monitoring, measurement, any nonconformity, and taking corrective action.
  • Objective evidence to verify the implementation could include the following examples;
  • The communication of all roles, responsibilities, and authority
  • The resources to fulfill all roles and responsibilities have adequate processes and procedures.
  • The awareness of expectations is fully demonstrated at all levels within the company.
  • Ensure that all reporting on operations through inspections and audits is done.
  • Ensure the reporting of performance and nonconformity is done through business meetings and KPI reviews.
  • ISO 9001 dictates that you need evidence that your personnel have been informed of their Quality Management System authorities and responsibilities and that they understand the context of its overall function and purpose


Step 2 - Recruitment and Selection

  • Allocate the correct personnel to achieve the desired outcome.
  • Include screening, recruitment, and training of personnel.
  • Determine the size of the team needed and appoint personnel accordingly.
  • Senior management should determine the needed resources to initiate and maintain it.
  • This should align with the jobs/orders/processes you have to fulfill in any event, such as a holiday or sick leave, and ensure you have the necessary replacements.

Step 3 - Competence & Training

  • Determine the skills needed by a personnel member to be competent in the work they will be performing within the QMS
  • Determine the effect their competence level will have on the QMS
  • Ensure the appointed person is competent in the task based on education, skill, training, and previous experience.
  • If there are any gaps in their competence, address how those gaps might be filled by training and devise an training schedule and action plan to execute them.
  • Use a skills matrix to determine the competence levels.
  • Training records are a good way of determining competence through evidence.


Step 4 - Awareness of QMS Policy

Focus on communicating the QMS policy and ensure that all personnel fully understands it. There should be a clear comprehension of consequences arising through nonconformity and deviation away from the QMS policy.

Awareness training does not have to involve a long classroom-style format. Procedures for implementing the training can include:

  • Using short but concise training segments contained in videos followed by hand-on sessions that can address the critical elements of the QMS.
  • Reinforcement of environmental awareness methods can include a notice on physical bulletin boards, electronic bulletin boards, informal meetings, and newsletters.

Keep training records for competency reviews. Company QMS policies should always be clearly explained and captured in the training documents.

Company Quality Policy Training - Example Form

Quality Policy Training Attended

Yes / No

Read And Understood

Sufficient / Insufficient

Understand The Company Processes In Which They Are Involved

Sufficient / Insufficient

Understand Their Impact In The Company

Yes / No

Understand The Positive Effect They Can Have On The Company

Yes / No

Understand The Negative Effect They Can Have On The Company

Yes / No

ISO 9001 deals with the significance of human resources management within the company structure. Human resources are the company's driving force, and it's expected to ensure its performance as it relates to the company and the objectives and goals.

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Author: Richard Keen
Updated: 27th August 2021

Richard Keen

Richard Keen

Richard is our Compliance Director, responsible for content & product development.
But most importantly he is ISO's biggest fanboy and a true evangelist of the standards.
Learn more about Richard

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Human Resources & Competence Procedure

The purpose of this procedure is to define your organization’s process for employing and empowering human resources by identifying and roles, responsibilities and authorities, identifying training needs, providing opportunities for attaining competencies, assessing the effectiveness of training, and for planning, reporting and retaining associated training files and records. 15-pages, MS Word.

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