Audit Training

I often teach internal and lead auditor courses. I hear so many stories from my participants - the good, the bad, and the ugly. I hear good and bad stories about how coworkers handled themselves in an audit, about the overall audit experience or about the auditor themselves. What are the best audit training tips you want to share? Comment below. Thanks!

6 Replies
When there's an audit where I work, we have front room(s), a back room, hosts, doc pullers, reviewers, back room lead, etc.! What we never do is a dry run. Take a request from a previous audit or just make one up. Then run it through the process. I always ask to do this, we never do, and then we're surprised when things don't go smoothly. I'd like to see a series of sessions where everyone rotates jobs. That way everyone gets a better understanding of exactly what is going on where (has an opportunity to ask questions) and has a better chance of deciding if a different role is one they would want to expand their skill set into. Nothing beats real world experience.
Fear is the number one word I hear whenever the word Audit is mentioned... it doesn't matter what kind. I have found that this fear--real or perceived--impacts on how receptive and cooperative people within an organization will be towards the auditor(s) and the audit process. Therefore, my best training tip for alleviating fear is to teach the use of the 4P's for Change Communication:
1. Purpose (Why we have to do this)
2. Picture (What it will look and feel like when it is done)
3. Plan (Step by step, how it will be carried out)
4. Part (What part you can, and need to do to help with this process)

Hope this helps!

@Yvonne Howze: good observation. In one organization I informed the factory management team that our ISO-900X certification included the obligation to perform routine process audits. Speaking of fear: the leaders got all up in arms over the prospect (including one individual personally attacking my integrity and competence, I kid you not).

The upshot was that we rolled out some simple process compliance audits. I handled it as I was taught - treating the people being audited like the competent and honest people they are. When there was a finding I asked why they did things this way instead of that. No surprise, most of the reasons had to do with management imposing decisions whose impacts they didn't grasp.

Once we started responding to those issues, and the processes started to improve (kinda the reason for doing an audit), front line workers actually sought me out, requesting that I come and audit their areas.

Oh, and by the way I am NOT certified as an ASQ Auditor, I was just doing very basic audits.

@Miriam Boucher:
When there's an audit where I work, we have front room(s), a back room, hosts, doc pullers, reviewers, back room lead, etc.! What we never do is a dry run. Take a request from a previous audit or just make one up. Then run it through the process. I always ask to do this, we never do, and then we're surprised when things don't go smoothly. I'd like to see a series of sessions where everyone rotates jobs. That way everyone gets a better understanding of exactly what is going on where (has an opportunity to ask questions) and has a better chance of deciding if a different role is one they would want to expand their skill set into. Nothing beats real world experience.

Teamwork and collaboration go a long way for sure. You are right, Nothing beats real world experience. thank you for sharing.

@Yvonne Howze:
Fear is the number one word I hear whenever the word Audit is mentioned... it doesn't matter what kind. I have found that this fear--real or perceived--impacts on how receptive and cooperative people within an organization will be towards the auditor(s) and the audit process. Therefore, my best training tip for alleviating fear is to teach the use of the 4P's for Change Communication:
1. Purpose (Why we have to do this)
2. Picture (What it will look and feel like when it is done)
3. Plan (Step by step, how it will be carried out)
4. Part (What part you can, and need to do to help with this process)

Hope this helps!

I really enjoy your idea of the 4Ps, thanks so much!

Ruth Ola
5 Posts

@Susan Gorveatte Fear of making mistakes that will cause the company to lose the ISO 9001 certification usually make audit to be scary to employees.
We had to do a company-wide refresher training to reestablish the purpose of our QMS and why ISO 9001 certification. We clearly stated that the purpose of audit and nonconformance log is for us to identify opportunities for improvement. We are not creating HALL of SHAME. We just what to know what is compared to what it should have been. it is like earned valued in project management “Planned versus Actual”.
We took it a step further to discuss audit as a topic on our QMS training when we do onboarding for new employees.

There are still few employees that will still need help to understand the purpose but more than 90% of our employees get it and they are okay with participating in audit without being afraid.