Audit Teams - We have trouble keeping auditors



I was just back from a company meeting our president set up to review our auditing program. I wanted to get some feed back as to what others do out there in the ISO world.

First, we have trouble keeping auditors, we set up a team based on volunteerism, and then have trouble keeping them. How are teams established, and how are they kept interested/involved ? One idea was to replace the word "volunteer" ....ideas?
Also it was suggested to replace the words "Internal auditor" ......ideas ?
Do companies have there QA dept responsible for Internal Audits, or do all departments have representitives involved in the audit process? We are currently looking at having each dept assign 1 person for a 2 or 3 year term. (IS this a good idea?)

Second, it was discussed that for auditors, more recongition should occur,(certificates, lunches, days off)....What are other companies doing in this area??

I thank you for your feedback.
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lou hannigan

Dear Bryan,

Why don't you ask the internal auditors their reasons for leaving the fold?



Al Dyer

One main point to drive home to internal auditors is that they are not auditing people (co-workers) but are auditing processes that the company has put in place.

Once internal auditors realize this, it can be reinforced that improving the process can make the job easier for everybody.

On the other topic you brought up, I have seen a system where the Management Representative worked for top honcho of the company. The M.R. controlled the I.A. system (scheduling, C.A. etc...) but did not perform the actual audits. The Reps main responsibility was to ensure that audit results were fair, compliant, effective, and reported to management for review.

A long way to say that I.A. does not need to rest with Q.A. (and (IMO) probably shouldn't)


Doug Stimson

We get some volunteers, some "appointed auditors". Most new salaried employees are automatically picked; helps them learn other areas of business. They are required to serve for at least one year. We also audit in 2 person teams which seems to work well. Have lunches with VP/Plant Manager twice a year. At a former company audit team participation was part of performance review. Newsletter recognition. Give themopportunity to act as guides during Registrar audits.

Aaron Lupo

Ok this is the way our company handles it, now mind you I am not saying this is the best way but it seems to work right now. Our QA Department (namely me) is responsible for the internal audits. I have asked for "volunteers" who would like to learn how to audit, and surprisingly 10-11 people signed up. I had a two day training session for whoever was intrested and also require them to complete audits with me until I feel they demonstrate they can do it. I also have them audit in teams so they do not have to feel overwhelmed (plus the more eyes you have looking the sooner we can find and fix things that are wrong). Another thing I tell our internal auditors is that they can put this on their resume so what can it hurt (what you might possibly make yourself more valuable in the job market.)

I also do audits with a registrar and have seen it done many ways, you have to decide what is best for your company, and to tell you truth this will change from time to time. I wouldn't force or pressure people into auditing, this will just make them hate it and not do a good job.

Remember you can tell them once they are trained they can audit QA!!! That usually makes them happy.

barb butrym

Quite Involved in Discussions
one reason internal auditors "leave" is the same reason they are chosen...the auditor traits tend to make people 'shine'...... they are do-ers and often grow into new positions and take on more responsibilities and teh auditing gets left behind. it is an excellent stepping stone.


For those replys, your input is well taken, and thank you.

AL, your comment of auditing the system and not the people is the exact comment I had made during our meeting. I had asked our trainer to key on this during his training times.

Barb, good point. Stepping stone. Our auditors tend to leave because they feel its extra work, (how may people volunteer for extra work).

Others, Im sure there is more that can be shared. What are the experiences of other companies out there? Forming teams, and keeping teams together ?

David Mullins

A smattering of inputs:

1. new internal auditors are usually targeted, I frequently use supervisor level people as they learn a lot from what they see in other areas, get ideas for their own area, etc. Plus these people have some level of authority within the business and are more likely to get co-operation.

2. internal auditors need appropriate training in the expectations of your auditing system (generic courses are of little value in this area).

3. internal auditors need incentive, support, learn the right approach, understand the system.

4. internal auditors who prepare their own checklists generally don’t have the experience to prepare the right questions.

5. pre-prepared checklists are typically not understood by auditors to start with – support – but it makes their life a lot easier.

6. I keep a quality record of “authorized” internal auditors. Don’t get hung up on debating names and word-smithing terms. This is a total waste of time. (This is usually the time that those managers who seldom support the system suddenly get fired up and drag the meaningless debate out)

7. QA (by whatever name) should run the program. Audits and corrective (yes and preventive and improvement) actions provide the backbone of feedback to management on the state of health/compliance of the QMS. Would you really want production people stuffing this up (not that they would do it on purpose – it is just a low priority for them).

8. An equitable balance of reps from different areas/departments is nice, to preventively diffuse doubters and finger-pointers, but at the end of the day you get whomever you can.

9. Process improvements from auditing is DANGEROUS. Internal auditors often don’t have intimate knowledge of the area, and are perceived to be interfering if they propose improvements – telling them to suck eggs. The primary focus (I believe), particularly for inexperienced auditors is COMPLIANCE – where are the gaps?

10. The Quality Manager should meet with auditors on a regular basis (maybe 6 monthly) to review practices, fine tune approaches, revise schedules, air concerns, etc.




In my previous life, supervisors were used as auditors and it was a failure. Lack of interest and management still wanted maximum output from production. They were not allowed ample time to perform their desktop audits because deliveries came first. I ended up classifying them as alternates, but essentially, they were excused.

barb butrym

Quite Involved in Discussions
the least taxing to the company and the people is an audit day or two each quarter. Team up, plan, perform and report all in that one day. Include coffee breaks and catered lunch. Have all forms user friendly and available as well as copies of all main procedures and QA manual..and of course CA and past audits. If you plan carefully, it is a pleasant experience and is done and over. If possible include other site auditors (cross audit. Scheduled and well planned it all goes smoothly...sometimes a hired consultant with the team adds value in facilitating.
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