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Who Should be Involved in Setting Objectives

In this video series, Peter Rogers from Mango Global discusses: "Who should be involved in setting objectives for your management system?" We have gathered compliance consultants from around the world to give you some helpful advice to ensure that your objectives are effective for your organisation .

This is the second of a four video series of compliance conversations around objectives. The question we answer in this conversation is Check out the video here:

Chris, FQM, United Kingdom

I have these conversations regularly with some of our clients.

I believe a far out objective, i.e. five-year or 10-year objective should be very much set at a strategic high level.

However, it's important that these objectives take a pyramid effect, and that they are driven down through the organisation. The organisation, therefore has to involve the layers of management, supervisors, and even down into the objectives and goals that might be set on a yearly appraisal for individuals/employees.

They are a strategic high level, but there must be a pyramid effect that the involvement has to be with effectively almost everyone in the organisation. Thus everyone in the organisation understands they are taking steps towards a strategic objective and have their part to play.

Ben, Total Management and Training, Australia

I put this into a couple of different stages:

  1. We look for feedback and consultation from basically all members of the team. The reason I do this is, because you never know where a good idea is going to come from. Members of the team are often at the coalface, they might be senior managers, they could be even directors and owners. The key thing here is to draw out the objectives that are going to be relevant for the company so we can then start to work our way through and try and make a bit of a shortlist.

  2. We look at the list that we have generated and we start to review what is going to be a key objective for this particular period of time keeping in mind capability and capacity.

Once we have defined those particular objectives that we're going to look at, we then go back to the key stakeholders for those particular objectives. And with those key stakeholders, we then nut it out of it forward gives us that sort of buy in or ownership of the people that are going to be stakeholders in those objectives, and then obviously, get their sign off and approval on it.

And that's what we would do then do to ensure that we've got everyone who we need to involve in the setting of that objective.

Gary, QSM Group, Australia

Ideally, the process of setting objectives for your management system should be led by top management, and where appropriate, involve a wider group of people, that's the ideal version.

In a lot of cases, it’s left up to the HSEQ Manager or the Quality Manager, to actually drive that process, and that in itself, tends to contribute to objectives and accountabilities and plans being less effective than they could be.

My advice, is to try and get the top management involved in leading that process, and most importantly, you've got to involve stakeholders from the business who are actually impacted by a particular objective, in contributing to the plans and accountabilities around that.

For example: if there's an objective of improving the efficiency of a particular manufacturing process, then it's a good idea to involve the key stakeholders from that part of the business. This helps ensure that the objectives are relevant and importantly gets the buy-in of the workers that are likely to be most impacted by the objective and the plans to achieve it

Nicholas, SRM, South Africa

I’m the Mango partner for South Africa, so I'm going to be asking from an African perspective and we wrestle around this question often.

I deal a lot with ISO 45001, which is very strong on the emphasis of consultation and participation, and obviously, one of the requirements of the standard is that workers are consulted in policy and objectives.

One of the big questions that arises regularly is what type of value would a lower level or blue-collar worker be able to render in organisational strategic objectives? In answering the question, I might look at the objectives of either strategic or departmental or individual.

I think it's great from a culture perspective and eliciting trust and getting people engaged where you do have workers or their representatives involved in the setting of strategic objectives. I think there is a question that regularly arises when I deal with senior management over the value that workers or their representatives would be able to render in setting strategic objectives because they can be very complex and based on a lot of complex information.

However, the setting of departmental or individual objectives, it's absolutely key that workers and their representatives are involved in the identification and setting up those objectives.

Peter, Mango, New Zealand

It should be at the employee level, but I think it is the role of the management to guide them and to provide them information, not to tell them how it.

Michael, Momentum Safety and Ergonomics

Senior management would be the main group that should be involved. The objective is an objective for the business or the organisation, if they're not involved, it's not going to be an effective standard at all.

Over and above that, of course, you'll want the subject matter experts like the QHSE person, even human resources, and those sorts of people, should be involved in setting these objectives.

When you're really getting to that high level, and your company's really working well, you can start to involve your workers as well. It's not something that I find is routinely done, the workers get told what the objectives are sometimes, but if it's working excellently, then why not ask your workers things like:

  • What do you think we should be trying to strive for in safety?

  • What should our quality objectives be?

So, across the board is ideal, but minimum senior management.

Andrew, IRM Systems, Australia

If we take for example, 'we decided to reduce energy usage by 5%, across three years, across our different sites'.

We're going to need to involve senior management. It's important we have the authorisation and support for that objective.

The energy savings are actually going to be out in the operational areas, and that’s why we need support from the top, to make sure that can be effectively rolled out across those operational areas.

It's also really important to gain the support of site managers, department managers, supervisors and other personnel who will actually be involved in undertaking the actions to support your objectives.

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