Creating a clear line of sight between strategic and personal objectives

Background

Kuressaare Regional Training Centre is accredited by the Ministry of Education and Research to provide initial and continuing vocational training. There are around 1000 students on upper secondary and post-secondary programmes and around 1000 adult students per year.

Kuressaare RTC’s mission is to prepare people to be competitive in the Estonian and international labour market and be capable of living a fulfilling life. Its quality management system has been developed in line with the Estonian national models and focuses on

  • eight principles of Organizational Excellence
  • identifying enablers which lead to good outcomes
  • using all four stages of the quality cycle (plan-do-check-act)
  • the RADAR model which encompasses setting objectives while planning the results (Results); choosing the right strategies (Approaches); implementing plans (Deployment); Assessment and Review.

Kuressaare RTC’s Quality Management System includes

  • producing a strategic plan
  • producing an annual plan of action
  • establishing and meeting internal regulations
  • undertaking an annual self-evaluation
  • keeping excellent records
  • ensuring all provision is covered by the national legislation
  • using an intranet to share information with staff and students
  • working in line with the National Information System of Education
  • completing regular surveys to collect student and stakeholder feedback
  • managing-by-walking-around

Getting to this point

Kuressaare RTC started to use the EFQM principles in its strategic planning in 1997 and each year has seen further developments. The initial task was to compile a quality management handbook, which set up the quality aims and the processes that would be used. All staff were involved in completing a SWOT [strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats facing Kuressaare RTC] to support the production of the strategic plan and action plans. Initially only the planning phase of the cycle was well executed; implementation was partial and depended too much on leadership skills; the evaluation (CHECK) and review phases (ACT) were insufficient and inconsistent.

During the next few years Kuressaare RTC also focused on self-evaluation and entered the national contest for a Quality Award in 2003, 2004 and 2007. At the same time improvements were made to the quality management system in line with the outcomes of self-evaluation and feedback from assessors. This led to a new approach, which included developing quality indicators and targets at the centre and training unit level (i.e. each vocational area). We agreed the quality indicators and target values. In addition a more systematic approach to collecting feedback from students, staff, employers and graduates was introduced.

By 2007 Kuressaare RTC had refined its approach to include a “clear line of sight” from the organisation’s objectives, through departmental objectives to each employee. The strategic plan involved everyone including students and employers. This led to the annual action plan, which set out who was responsible for particular activities. From the annual action plan, each training unit made their own plans and every member of staff was set personal objectives and targets. These personal objectives are evaluated annually by the manager from each vocational unit. After a long process of development, all four stages of the quality cycle are now working and it provides management with a useful tool to oversee quality. As well as the plans Kuressaare RTC also has the results.

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