The importance of leadership in ISO certification

6 Jan, 2017

As part of the new ISO 9001:2015 there will no longer be a strong focus on the role of the management representative, instead the assessor will need to see evidence of a dialogue with senior management.

Back in 2015, two of the most popular ISO Standards saw fundamental upgrades to their high level structure, with the BS OHSAS 18001 soon to follow this pattern. All of the 2015 editions have one main element that links them; a renewed focus on leadership.

This has also carried through into the ISO 14001:2015, where knowledge of compliance becomes a requirement upon senior management as opposed to just the Environmental Management representative.

Senior Management is critical to the success of an ISO Management System as implementing any standard requires strong support from the top. Standards need to be fully embedded into the company and culture, and these initiatives tend to succeed when they are supported from the top level.

To ensure commitment to a standard, all employees have to be working towards one system and one common goal. Your chosen standards need to be part of the overall company strategy, integrated into a business’ mission statement, company vision and values, of which are set and embodied from the top.

Evidence shows that ISO standards are more likely to be accepted and received if they are embraced by leaders and projected out to the team. Managers also provide resources, meaning they need to understand compliance and what is needed to achieve your commitments. Leaders need to communicate their importance, bringing everyone together towards one efficient way.

Leaders and managers will now be at the forefront of reviews and certification audits. They will need to demonstrate their knowledge and commitment to auditors as a requirement.

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