Developing a Positive Quality Culture

Essential Ingredients to Achieve Quality Goals

Developing a positive quality culture is an indispensable ingredient in achieving an organization’s mission and objectives. Management must have a handle on the current culture, in order to encourage employees to embrace the company’s quality strategy and make it successful.

 

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Larger organizations often perform assessments of the current quality culture, which has proven highly beneficial. However, smaller organizations typically do not have the resources, time or expertise to perform this type of appraisal. Our experience with small organizations in the human tissue and medical device industries has led us to develop tools in assessing the quality culture and identifying opportunities to assist management in the development of a constructive quality culture.

Five Management Behaviors in Fostering a Quality Culture

  1. Management must create and maintain an awareness of quality. Develop a system of metrics to measure quality performance and report to all levels of management, and all employees on the current quality results.
  2. Management must demonstrate leadership in quality. Cheerleading is a beginning, but management must take part in quality initiatives, be members of quality teams, do strategic planning for quality, provide resources for quality, and generally be visible and involved in implementing quality goals.
  3. Management must encourage self-development and empowerment. Management must design jobs for self-control, select and train employees for jobs, organize work using approaches for self-development, such as self-directed teams, and encourage personal commitment for quality.
  4. Management must ensure that the organization provides opportunities for employee participation to inspire action. The forms of participation are almost endless--employees can serve on a quality council, be process owners, take part in a product or process design review, or make presentations on quality.
  5. Management must ensure that the organization provides appropriate recognition and rewards. Public acknowledgment and reword for exceptional performances on quality play an essential role in maintaining a culture of quality. Rewards such as salary increases, bonuses and promotions are tangible benefits for quality performance.