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Employee Competence in ISO 9001:2015

01 Aug 2023

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This blog refers to ISO 9001:2015 Clause 7.2 “Competence” and is specifically relevant to organizations seeking to implement or update to the latest ISO 9001:2015 version -.

At the heart of creating Excellence in People is building a high-performance culture. That’s why various global excellence models such as EFQM and Malcolm Baldrige Excellence frameworks and even global quality awards such as Deming Prize have given due focus on “People”. ISO 9001:2015 is no different and recognises the importance of people by emphasising their “competence”.

In today’s economy, many organizations are experiencing high employee turnover which increases the operational challenges for organizations in terms of effectiveness and efficiencies..

People run organizations therefore they are indispensable necessities! However, it is equally important that they are competent (to do their job), aware (about Organizational priorities) and should be able to communicate (with each other). This is what the authors of ISO 9001 have always emphasised and have clearly stated in the latest version of the international standard under the following clauses:

7.1.2: People
7.2: Competence
7.3: Awareness
7.4: Communication

Although the requirement stated in version 2015 is almost the same as what was required in version 2008; the revised version clarifies to apply these requirements to all personnel under the organizations control if they “affect” the organization’s management system performance. Which means it also includes contract workers and any other personnel undertaking outsourced work. Along with that ISO 9001:2015 requires records be retained as evidence of competence. So, what is required? Well, we’d say KEEP IT SIMPLE! And, follow P-D-C-A!


Determine what competencies are needed in line with the stated job functions. Then, you prepare a detailed Job Description (JD) with the responsibility and authority associated with that particular job function and the necessary skills associated with the natural abilities and talents needed to perform the job role efficiently.

Determine if any additional competencies will also be required in due course of time.

Then you may also include the succession planning and create a delegation matrix or competency matrix or skills matrix for various job roles hence the relevant Employee Competence determination for the new successor or delegate.

These needed skills to be further evaluated and linked to a detailed qualification matrix in order to identify the skill gaps and thereafter bridge those gaps through various training programs.

It is advisable to perform a Pre-Training evaluation to determine the expected level of proficiency from the desired training program and then compare it with a Post-Training evaluation to measure the effectiveness of the training.

Then identify the resources within the organization to support bridging the identified skill gaps. It will not only prove cost effective to you but also boost employee morale by recognising and utilising their knowledge and give them an opportunity to further develop. Nothing helps an individual more than to be given responsibility and know they are trusted!


Ensure that the training programs are delivered as plan. Ensure the necessary resources, type of training programs, such as in-house or open-house training programs, are carefully chosen and executed.

Then, focus on On-Job-Trainings (OJT) to ensure effectiveness.

Also try to introduce some Mentorship programs. It will also help you reduce training costs by way of one-on-one interaction.

Evaluate the effectiveness of actions taken on the required competency of individuals including the contract and outsourced labour.

Monitor the effectiveness level of the Training Plan and ensure timely management intervention/review to support wherever training is lagging.

The Post training feedback reports, tests and interviews are major part of the plan and their records are to be retained as version 2015 specifically requires such information is retained.


Any areas that fall below the required performance level must be addressed.

Hence, effective action will be required wherever the gap between actual performance and required performance remains unbridged. This may include:Re-Training with a focus on specific areas.

Reassignment to a different position where substandard skill is ether not needed or matches with the existing level. Sometimes redefining the position, itself may be the solution by excluding the skill or further outsourcing can also be considered.

It will be helpful if an efficiency check is performed after a reasonable time has gone by to prove whether the actions taken were really effective. And, if not then simply repeat a PDCA!Hence, the dynamics of employee turnover calls for an effective way of managing the Organizational competency development program.Get control of your organizational competence risk by using the Qualityze EQMS solution! The Qualityze’s Training Management Software offers an integrated closed-loop-system for managing Employee Competence within your Organization to ensure effective compliance.

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