Gaining our ISO9001 certificate
by Sandie Scrase, Operations Director
Receiving our ISO9001 certificate in March 2015 was the end of the beginning of our quality journey.
This journey started in 2011 when Genius Within first delivered strategy coaching. Our head office was our kitchen table, we had 6 associates and 1 major customer. All orders were managed by 1 person using a simple spreadsheet. Keeping track of customers, clients, associates, invoices etc was simple because our company was small.
Over the next 3 years we improved our processes – making our clients’ experience more supportive and our customer relationships more defined. We increased to 60 associates, 3 administrators and outgrew the kitchen – although we did take the table with us. Things got harder for one person and a spreadsheet to track.
As these changes occurred we began to make our processes more defined and started to document them making them easier to communicate to new (and existing) associates.
We now have handbooks that introduce associates and employees to Genius Within, our values and standards. They describe the coaching process, the forms that need to be signed and the reports that need to be written. They facilitate the smooth running of our business and ensure our clients receive a high quality service. Our services levels are defined so that clients are contacted within less than a week of being referred to us. Our procedures ensure the client decides what areas for improvement they cover in their coaching sessions. We produce session reports to summarise the developmental tasks developed and act as reminders of the strategies to be implemented.
We decided in July 2014 to work towards ISO9001 certification. It gave us a framework against which to build our quality system, ensuring all aspects of business were covered. Over the next 8 months we filled in the gaps – defining management reviews to look at what is working well, what is not working well and what we would like to have happen; implementing audit schedules to check that the processes we have are being followed and are effective; defining our service levels and monitoring to make sure they are achieved.
Receiving our certificate is not the end of the quality journey. It shows our customers and colleagues that we have set and met high standards for the services that we deliver.
But as company we do not stand still.
We are continually gathering data about the services we provide. Are our customers happy? Has our coaching made a difference to our clients? Have they improved in the areas that were causing concern? Have new associates brought new ideas that could improve the services that we provide?
An ISO9001 certificate shows that not only do we have processes to define the way that we work, but also that we are committed to improving them continuously.