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7.4.1 Communication - General
Organizations need to develop and implement a process (i.e., communication strategy) to determine which matters to communicate whilst taking into account its compliance obligations and the quality (reliability and consistency) of the communicated information.
Communications may relate to the organization’s ongoing compliance to various obligations, milestone achievements, or sustainable resourcing. You should seek evidence to confirm that your organization has identified the necessary internal and external communications that are required for the operation of the management.
You should confirm how the organization has determined:
- What it needs to communicate;
- When it will communicate;
- With whom it will communicate;
- How it will communicate.
The key to successful implementation is often through the involvement of all people within the organization; let everyone in the company know that you have started to introduce a new management system by holding basic awareness sessions for all employees. Make sure you retain records of attendance as this action will contribute towards satisfying the clause.
Communication is the key; communicate goals, plans, progress and milestones. Listen first then ask for feedback. Lack of communication seems to be one of the main root causes for errors in business. Keep people informed of the progress of the project; e.g. what’s been done, what’s to be done next and how the project is progressing against the plan.
Make this process transparent and visible to all concerned; for example, place progress charts on the walls and notice boards. Employees that are not part of the implementation team may not be hearing as much about what is going on with the project and may think the project has faded away. Communicate its progress via newsletters, bulletin boards or meetings.
Your organisation needs to ensure that procedures to control internal and external communications and interfaces are in place. Particular care needs to be taken when dealing with communications from external parties, which might well include enforcement authorities, lawyers/solicitors, insurance companies, etc. In many parts of the world there is an increasing trend towards litigation resulting from injuries received in the workplace, so the need to manage the communication process is critical.
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