Thursday, March 6, 2008

Talking about competency at the ISO9000 conference

So have just got back from presenting at the ISO9000 conference in Orlando. What a great event. The really interesting thing was although most of the presentation titles at the event did not focus on competencies, many were referencing them in the content of the presentations, typically I saw one of 2 things over and over:

- how the hell do you know your employees are competent!
- how do auditors and quality professionals in general get a handle on competency in our profession

Most notable for me was Jack West's paper on getting serious about auditing (track 8). He did a fantastic job of talking not just about systems and processes, but making the connection between these and the correct development and measurement of competencies to ensure that systems actually work as we intend.

I was a little nervous about my presentation on "Employee Competency: Audit Non-Compliance and the Bottom Line". I thought I was going out on a limb when I challenged the audience (mostly of auditors) to confirm to me if they REALLY challenged organizations measurement of competency (clause 6.2.2 for those technically minded people). The response after the presentation was universally "no". In fact the sentiment was that if they did push too hard, likely no organization would escape that part of the audit intact. Obviously a real issue for the industry.

If anybody is interested the presentation is below: