3.1 Using the quality system in strategic management

Auditointiryhmän arvio

Haaga-Helia’s quality policy is defined and openly available. It is supported by a quality system that is based on a cycle of continuous improvement along with the stages Plan-Do-Check-Learn&Develop-Communicate. The quality system has specified steering elements, processes, indicators and feedback systems. Strategic objectives have been set for each core duty and there are different development forums to support joint quality work and continuous development. 

Based on the interviews, Haaga-Helia’s staff is familiar with Haaga-Helia’s strategy as well as with the link between the strategy and the goals of their own work. Especially teaching staff was well aware of Haaga-Helia’s strategic goals and its connection to everyday work in the institution. The interviewees brought up that as working life changes, teaching and the Haaga-Helia’s  yearly strategic plan change with it.

Haaga-Helia is a strategy driven organization

Haaga-Helia’s strategy is public and the yearly action plans are available to everyone at Haaga-Helia. It became clear to the audit team that Haaga-Helia is a strategy driven organization and that its management is strongly committed to the quality system and its enhancement.  The information produced by the quality system is also utilized in the development of operations in an appropriate manner.

Haaga-Helia’s strategy and its finances are at the core of managing the organization. In addition to the 5-year rolling strategy, Haaga-Helia makes a yearly action plan for each organisation, responsibility area, group and staff member. The audit team wondered whether this frequent cycle is making the process heavy to run, but according to the interviewed managers, the yearly action plans give the organization a possibility to react in an agile manner if some of the measured indicators show that the results are not according to the plan. The management representatives also told that a new tool has been introduced allowing them to set quarterly goals and to do follow up on the yearly action plan. This new strategic tool not only supports the follow up but also allows to follow action plans and goals of other responsibility areas and see what they have undertaken to achieve these goals. The audit team views it as a positive thing that the organization is looking for new tools and ways to enhance its follow-up systems.

According to the interviewees, the staff participates actively in the preparation of the strategy, the strategy map, the action plan and the financial plan. The audit team considers that the staff’s performance and development discussions both on a group-specific and a personal level are an important part of the quality system. The interviewed staff members estimated that the processes related to quality management are transparent.

Yet, according to the personnel survey of 2021, 19 percent of the respondents were unsatisfied with their teams’ opportunities to influence the development of operations. This concern did not come up in the interviews, but as Haaga-Helia’s quality system relies on feedback, e.g., from the staff, it is important to measure and observe this indicator in the future as well. 

Haaga-Helia develops its operations based on feedback

The interviews and the self-assessment material gave the audit team the impression that continuous feedback from students, staff, companies, and external stakeholders plays an important role in Haaga-Helia’s quality system development. Haaga-Helia’s target is to reach a 50 % response rate on student feedback. Currently the rate is 30 – 40 %, and thus, there is still room for improvement. The graduand feedback percentage is almost 100 %, which suggests that Haaga-Helia should be capable of enhancing its feedback processes with other groups as well.

The staff members described in the interviews that it is possible to give feedback in different forms and at any time. The audit team sees that Haaga-Helia has succeeded in creating a positive culture when it comes to giving feedback and new ideas to improve the performance of the institution. However, in the interviews, more interaction with companies and external stakeholders was mentioned as an enhancement target. The audit team join this view that Haaga-Helia should enhance its systematic feedback procedures especially concerning feedback from companies and external stakeholders.