Marianne Steiner-Gygli, you are the head of the state specialist agency ‘Addiction Prevention Aargau’ in Aarau, Switzerland. How important is quality development for you and your organization?
Since 2008 we have been working with the EFQM model. EFQM views quality development as an interaction between people, processes and outcomes. People work in processes and obtain results for other people!
Quality development has a very high priority in our office. It permeates all areas of work and encourages customer feedback. It is an on-going, lively topic in everyday life.
What are you doing specifically to assure and develop quality in your projects? What role does quint-essenz play?
We work with measurable, meaningful - and for us as employees - interesting, challenging and attractive objectives in all areas. This means that there are annual objectives for the unit as a whole, for specific, areas of work, for projects, for target groups and for employees’ personal development.
The objectives and the underlying processes are in accordance with the desired key results, which are: to provide guidance and information for our customers and to initiate long-term prevention processes in organizations and communities.
I always keep these key results in mind and my management tools (meetings, retreats, knowledge management, training, appraisal interviews, etc.) are all designed to achieve this. Quality has become a normal part of our work and a matter of course.
Knowledge management plays an important role. Obviously, it is presented on paper, but it is actually a way of collaboration and mutual feedback, a flow and connection of what is going on in our minds. It supports quality assurance and development.
When we developed our own project tools we based them on quint-essenz. They are used in relation to project processes. The project management tool from quint-essenz is a bit too cumbersome for us and clicking through everything takes too much time. It takes a great deal of time to arrange things in the way we need them. But all our services have policies and procedures that are based on the fundamentals of quint-essenz. Thus, we have incorporated quint-essenz into EFQM and aligned our efforts with it.
In what way is quality improvement worth the effort? What are the benefits for your organization and your projects?
Quality development is challenging and stimulating. It leads to dynamic and interesting ideas and offers options for solutions. We learn and are motivated by the process. The development of quality requires real effort, but the benefits ultimately facilitate everyday working life. We are always working towards key results. Whatever is not geared towards key results makes no sense. The effort was great at first, but it is worth it, if, as a result, quality becomes a natural part of everyday work and if it helps to improve and consolidate certain aspects.
What would you recommend to other agencies that are responsible for disease prevention and health promotion in respect of quality development?
A quality development system should be installed and implemented in a way in which teams will willingly join in. The tools of quality management should be as easy to explain and analyse as possible. Most importantly, it seems to me that quality must become a non-negotiable aspects of daily working life, and something that spurs ambition, which leads to debates, disputes, and joy and pride in one's own performance and achievements as a team.