What goes in criterion 8?

29 July 2013

Ever since the EFQM Excellence Model was first issued in 1992, people have looked at criterion 8 and thought "what do we put in there?"

During my years as an assessor, I've seen many "innovative interpretations" taken, from pictures of employees donating blood to survey results gathered by a poor individual, standing outside their office on a rainy afternoon asking anyone who'll stop "what do you think of...?"

The problem is people start in the wrong place.  They start by reading criterion 8.  You don't do this with the other result areas; there you start with the strategic plan and the management scorecard.  The trouble is, in most cases, there is little here to go on regarding society.  Financials - check.  Customers - check. Processes - check.  People - sort of.  Society - erm...

And that's the heart of the problem.  If corporate responsibilities aren't articulated and integrated in the strategy, you'll always struggle to find relevant results for criterion 8.

During the financial downturn, starting for most in 2009, we saw a number of organisations cutting budgets for their CSR activities.  They were often seen as "something else we do".  However, a number of organisations not only maintained budgets in this area, they increased them.  CSR wasn't "something else they did", it was what they did.  It was an integral part of their strategy.

So, if you're still struggling with the question of what to put in criterion 8, my advice is to start with the strategy.  Who are the key people in society who you want to influence OR who can influence you?  What do they expect from you?  What do they think of you?  Start here and the way forward becomes much clearer...

The EFQM User Guide on What goes in criterion 8 is available in the Knowledge Base (for EFQM Members only).


Chetan Rao (not verified)

I fully agree to what is said above. If it is a strategy, if it is by plan then we really need not think what to write in Criterion 8, otherwise we keep thinking what to find and what to add in it. Nice explanation given.

One small correction in spelling which i noticed:...In the last but one line..it should be" Who are the key people in society". It should not be "they"..Kindly correct

Hala Disi (not verified)

Very true! Some organizations adopted the EFQM model without understanding that you start by identifying the desired "results" and then build the "enablers " to achieve that results. I think CSR is one of the important aspects in organization strategy that reflects if the organization is truly excellent or "pretend" being excellent !

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