Inspectors and auditors are unfortunately, not very welcome because of the perception that they are intruding into the normal functioning of the organization or department and that they are there to find fault in the department’s work. Compliance inspections, however, require the cooperation of the departments involved either before, during or after the inspection.
An adversarial environment doesn’t instill confidence and doesn’t incentivize cooperation. Fostering a collaborative environment helps those being audited to feel that you are indeed, there to help and that you are on their side.
Here are a few tips on how to do, just that.
Make You and Me, a We
Change your language ever so slightly, to use the collective pronoun. Saying “We can do ‘x’ to make ourselves compliant.” will help the team bring down their walls and accept that you are there to help as compared to saying “You can do ‘x’ to make yourself compliant.”
Offer Alternative Solutions from Experience
When an issue is detected and a CAPA initiated or required, share your observations on how the issue can be effectively tackled based on your previous experience in dealing with similar issues at other audits. Sharing your experience with the team will help them
Advise Rather than Instruct
Offer corrective or preventive action to be taken as pieces of advice instead of as instructions. “Doing ‘x’ will help rectify the issue” and “You have to or must do ‘y’ “ may not seem to have much of a difference, but the subtle changes between the tone in the two statements can leave the auditee feeling defensive or receptive to feedback.
Let an auditee tag along when possible
It may take more time to have someone from the department tag along while you conduct your audit, but this will help them understand that you are there to work with them, not against them and are actively trying to involve them in the auditing process.
Conduct an Open Meeting with the Auditee
Try to conduct an open meeting shedding more light on the main objective, scope and purpose of your visit. Try to state and stress on the fact that the most important aspect of your audit is not to detect the non-conformists but rather to help develop and improve their capabilities and systems.
Bonus Tip: Avoid Filing Non-Critical Findings as Critical Findings
It may be tempting to file an issue as a critical issue to bring it to the notice of the administration and get it sorted out faster, but trying to solve issues within the department on the floor may be more productive and will help build trust, besides being faster.
Do you have a tip? Is there something you do, that you think significantly helps your audits?
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