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Improving quality awareness within an organization starts with management. Your employees might not know what your quality standards are or might not fully understand how quality affects the company’s financial bottom line. Increase quality awareness by educating your employees and by implementing policies that motivate compliance.
Explain the company’s quality objectives, detailing the responsibilities of individual employees. For example, draft a policy that lays out what you expect from each of your employees and how you will measure compliance. Include clear consequences for consistently low quality work. For instance, initial verbal warnings might be followed with a suspension or firing if an employee repeatedly ignores quality standards.
Meeting regularly helps keep quality issues front and center, according to the book Total Quality Management by Poornima M. Charantimath. For example, have managers meet with employees to discuss ongoing quality issues. This allows managers to promote quality awareness and also allows employees to provide important feedback such as notifying management of brewing problems.
Explain the Consequences
Your employees might not understand the consequences of poor quality work, according to the book Environmental and Quality Systems Integration by William C. Culley. Explain how low quality standards can threaten the company and their jobs. For example, a bakery owner might drive home the importance of high quality by explaining how low-quality products will hurt the bakery’s reputation in the local community. As a result, business would slow and layoffs would become necessary. Equally, your employees might not understand how high-quality work improves the company’s prospects and thus their own. For example, an auto-repair shop owner might explain that high-quality work will increase customer retention, which will lead to job security.
To promote quality awareness, set up a rewards system that aligns employee incentives with the company’s quality goals. For example, a bakery owner might create an “Employee of the Month” prize to reward the worker who most closely follows quality protocols, such as keeping equipment clean and following recipes to the letter. An auto-repair shop owner could give bonuses to employees whose quality work brings customers in time and again. The key is to give your employees some extra incentive to comply with your quality standards.
Stan Mack is a business writer specializing in finance, business ethics and human resources. His work has appeared in the online editions of the "Houston Chronicle" and "USA Today," among other outlets. Mack studied philosophy and economics at the University of Memphis.