Management system objectives for a very different year

Management system objectives 2023
Management system objectives 2023

21 February 2023 - Setting ISO management system objectives for a very different year - taking a new perspective in 2023.

ISO requirements for setting objectives

At the simplest level, an objective is a statement of a desired outcome. Most of us respond to a challenge and perform better when we have a target to aim for. Without having objectives to work towards, an organization - just like a person - may drift aimlessly. The ISO recognises this truism, and all ISO management system standards require organizations to set objectives for the relevant topics (in the common clause structure now used, objectives are the subject of clause 6.2).

To be of real value, there needs to be some structure and discipline around the planning of objectives, and the monitoring of progress towards them. An objective should include a description of who is responsible, what is the target, and when is it planned to be achieved - or the time period over which it is to be measured.

While not explicitly specified by ISO standards, the concept of SMART objectives is a very useful guideline to follow. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timed. We explained the  concept in some detail in a much earlier blog - Set SMART objectives - so there's no need to repeat that here. Although that article was about objectives in the context of a quality management system, the principle  applies equally to other topics.

Objectives ISO clause 6.2
All ISO management system standards have a requirement to set objectives (clause 6.2)

Some very different objectives this year

As we are all only too aware, the last couple of years has been... well, different. The covid pandemic has presented the business world with many new risks - and a few opportunities for some at least. It has accelerated some existing trends and created new ones. Add in the war in Ukraine, other geo-political tensions, concerns about climate change, and the rise of AI (artificial intelligence) and it's far from business as usual.

As is our custom, we recently sat down to plan our own management system objectives for 2023 and have also been working with clients to update theirs. It's very clear that many of us will be setting some different management system objectives to what we may have done in previous years. So, we thought it might be useful to share just a few examples with you. Here goes:

  • Implement flexible workplace arrangements (HR / OHS / Environment / Quality / Information Security).
  • Implement compliance to new Fair Work Act (Australia) (HR / Finance / OHS).
  • Complete a Gap Analysis against ISO 27001:2022 (Information Security).
  • Implement an ESG framework and reporting mechanism (Environment, Sustainability, Governance).
  • Transition ISMS to ISO 27001:2022 (Information Security).
  • Achieve ISO 27001:2022  certification (Information Security).
  • Conduct a Supply chain review (Quality / Information Security / Environment).
  • Conduct a Vehicle fleet review (Environment). Define and implement an employee screening process (HR / Information Security).
  • Establish an employee wellbeing programme (OHS).
  • Establish an employee assistance programme (HR / OHS).
  • Review Privacy controls (Information Security / Quality).
  • Implement an EU / UK GDPR compliance programme ( Information Security / Quality). A similar objective may apply to meeting legislative / regulatory controls in other jurisdictions in which your organization operates or wishes to operate - such as China's  'Measures on Security Assessment on Cross-border Data Transfer' which came into effect in late 2022.
  • Evaluate and report on the potential use of AI (Quality).
  • Introduce IMS software to automate and integrate systems (HR / OHS / Environment / Quality / Information Security).
  • Review / implement outsourcing options to address resource issues (HR / Quality).
  • Review logistics / stock control (Quality).

They illustrate that our management systems need to reflect and adapt to the ever-changing context in which we operate. We hope you found them thought-provoking.

For planning and monitoring management system objectives, Qudos 3 IMS software clients may utilise their unique, sophisticated Objectives module. Contact us for any guidance required.

A smarter way to manage your objectives

So, how are you recording your business objectives right now? A Word document? A spreadsheet?

How about a dedicated objective form in your browser, supported by a secure cloud service? With user-definable options, priority settings and security classifications (compliant with ISO 27001). With automated building of Objective Registers and progress reports. With automated population of one or many Actions plans assigned to the Objective owner or their delegates. With Automated reminders. We could go on, but that would be boastful.

As mentioned at the beginning of this blog, ISO considers objectives to be an important element in management systems, hence their inclusion in all major standards.

We completely agree, and believe that to be really beneficial, objectives should be properly integrated into the management system, with automation to save you time. That's why we have added this powerful and unique model into our flagship IMS software.

If you would like to explore a smarter way to manage your business objectives (for any ISO topic), we would be more than happy to show you more. Contact us today to discuss your needs and arrange a brief demonstration.

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