Compliance Conversations: How does a policy support your objectives?

Posted by Craig Thornton

This is part of a series of compliance conversations about how you best manage your QHSE management systems and their associated processes.

In this video, QHSE Consultants from around the world, discuss how a policy supports your organisation's objectives.

Check out the video here:


Video Transcription

How Does a Policy Support the Organisations Objectives?


Nicholas, SRM, South Africa

If you think of building a building, in the olden days, they used to build a building by utilising what was called a cornerstone. Think of your policy as the cornerstone. It is set right at the corner of your building, and everything that is built subsequent to that corner is built off and aligned with that cornerstone.

In essence, you will make certain commitments in your quality policy into achieving applicable requirements and meeting legal obligations and other obligations, etc.

If you make those statements within your policy, as you build your building, or as you build your QMS and build your business, you have to align with those commitments that you make in your policy.

That helps you to align both the policy statement commitments with the objectives as you grow your organisation.


John, Many Caps, New Zealand

The idea of a policy is to set the direction.

If the policy is working right, it sets the direction, and all of your objectives should flow from that policy in line with the direction that it is sending you.


Laurie, Total Management & Training, Australia

It provides the framework for the objectives and the two interact.

The actual policy defines the general requirement that we're going to achieve, and then the objectives actually put some meat on to that, to make something that's measurable.

That's how your interaction occurs between the policy and your objectives


Sean, Kaizen, New Zealand

The policy needs to set an overview of the end goal of what the company wants to achieve:

  • The commitments of the company,
  • The statement lays out the commitment of the top management and the company overall.

The objectives need to be:

  • Linked to those policies
  • Needs to be relevant to those policies
  • Support the policies of the company.

Essentially, the policy needs to support and provide a guide around the framework of those objectives, and the objectives also need to be aligned with the policies.


Michael, Momentum Safety and Ergonomics, Australia

The policy sets the standard for an individual company.

It helps a company and top management within that company, say what they think should be happening in regards to a particular item.

If we're talking about the quality policy, obviously, it's saying:

‘This is the standard of quality that we're going to get to.’

It will set some basic objectives within that, and a little bit as to how we're going to achieve that.

The policy itself won't get into the minutiae, but it will give a good standard that the company should adhere to thereafter.


Ben, Total Management & Training, Australia

I always say that a policy is, especially as an employee, or worker if I need to make a call or a decision on something, I'd fall back on those policies to guide me in where I'm going.

Obviously, if those policies are directing me in what I must do as the worker or the employee, they should really align with the organisation's objectives; Where do we want to be into the future? The policy should guide the business in that direction at any time.


Andrew, IRM Systems, Australia

I actually think the policy is the single most important document in your whole management system. It articulates a vision from senior management in what we're trying to achieve across all levels of the organisation.

Done really well it can be quite transformative for your management system, whether it's the environment, quality, whatever it might be.

I’ll give you a recent example:

An international consulting organisation I’ve done some work within Australia (this was under their environmental system) had some pretty impressive performance from their Australian senior management and management team, and they had some pretty impressive commitment as well.

Late last year, they had a new global CEO came in and clearly articulated right across the organisation, ‘This is our very high-level commitment to environmental sustainability.’

That’s why I say it’s the most important document in your system. Because that clearly sets, across the whole organisation, that this is on an equal footing, and something we must deliver on at all levels.

Because if we go down to our line management levels, or our service delivery, production manager levels, those kinds of people will always feel a lot of pressure. They know they get hired and fired on their production delivery results. But this is giving, quality, environment, safety an equal footing at that table.

They know, and in that organisation, it's no surprise. There's no Australian manager trying to dismiss or get around what they have to do, the Australian environmental manager has never had such a presence at the senior management table because they want to know what's going on, and what can they do.

Second example:

One of the Japanese motoring companies I had the pleasure of working within Australia, again it’s the environmental policy in this case, but it's equally with their quality policy.

It comes right from their very top person in Japan, the President, and it's like a heartfelt statement.

Now, again, for our production service delivery level managers, even our operators, it's more than just the words on the page. It carries a very strong message that yes, this is non-negotiable. This is something we're doing at all levels, and that's the result they get.


  1. Look at your policy as being the 'cornerstone' of your business
  2. The policy defines the general requirement the organisation is going to achieve and the objectives add to that to make something that's measurable
  3. The policy provides support and guidance around the framework of the objectives
  4. Objectives, Targets and Plans - Use this form to create a plan for objectives and targets
  5. Compliance conversation - What is the purpose of a policy?
  6. Clause 6.2 - Objectives, Targets and Plans


Tags: Quality Management, Management System, ISO, Compliance, Risk Management, Customer Satisfaction, QMS, integrated qhse manual, ISO45001, ISO Certification, process approach, Compliance Conversations