How to deal with resistance from auditee(s)

L

lk2012

#1
hi Covers,
I'm looking for your insight on a spot of bother that came up in our recent internal TS audit.

One of our internal auditors (the lead one, with most experience) was doing an internal audit on Training. The auditee, the HR Manager, turned out to be extremely uncooperative to the point of resistance. They refused to give any information on status of the area on pretence that it is confidential. They refused to take any responsibility for the area and even started challenging the validity of TS against legal requirements. Most questions were answered with 'it's going to be looked at in the next 18months'.
The auditor, nevertheless, soldiered on with their plan and produced a report which was very vague in wording and mentioned the 18 month plan (just said 'there is a plan to review the area within the next 18 months'. Details of the plan were not shared with the auditor.)
No non-conformance was identified to prevent any further tension in the company.

My concern in the Quality area is that the external (re-certification) TS audit is in about 6 months and our company may get into lots of trouble. Unfortunately, the HR Manager does not seem be worried about TS in the slightest.

Have you ever encountered an audit situation like this? What did you do?
I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Lil
 
Elsmar Forum Sponsor
#2
Yes, go back to the planning process and determine why this process was chosen! Then, look to see how much planning with the auditee was undertaken and what discussions took place about the scope of the audit etc. Why WAS training chosen? Is it a broken process? Or has it changed? Why would the HR mgr resist? I'm guessing it's more about the approach to audits which has been taken...
 

Illek

Involved In Discussions
#3
I have had encountered resistance with an auditee before. They would not respond to emails and gave indirect one word answers. There are other internal auditors who refuse to audit the area this person was in because of their attitude. In the end I took no answer as an answer. I reported exactly what was left unanswered and reported it in the audit. I told the person auditing that beforehand too and had my manager review the audit. Their manager got wind and discussed them to be more cooperative. Didn't help much. They still resisted on the next audit. Hoping I don't have to audit them again but if I do I will report anything unanswered as a refusal to answer. :mad:
 

Randy

Super Moderator
#4
Let everyone see what happens during the external CB audit when the CB auditor walks out unable to finish the training/competency piece of the audit...That'll be a hoot! I've done it, I've just gone in to the MR and whoever the head of the organization is and said I can't recommend continued certification because of lack of objective evidence for......, and I went back to the hotel and called my office.

If people want to play silly power games, good for 'em. I can laugh at silly all day long.

By the way, you've got to make sure that the information sought is valid and doesn't cross the legal line, in a case like this one only work relevant information about education, training and experience and competency is appropriate...Nothing personal like SSN or family, health, medical, financial or that kind of stuff.
 

ScottK

Not out of the crisis
Staff member
Super Moderator
#5
I think we need to know more about the HR organization to judge.
In my company there is little in HR that is auditable in the scope of most QMS standards because training is handled by QA, not HR, and that's where most auditors go.
So really the only thing the HR manager gets hit for is job descriptions and the performance review process (and the records there are confidential, but the SOP is open to discussion). Once in a while an auditor will ask about initial competency (i.e. why you hired this person for this job).

Most other tasks HR does are not relevant to a QMS audit.
 
P

PaulJSmith

#6
Assuming that the line of questioning was indeed within the scope of the standard, it's safe to say that your HR Manager is being uncooperative because they can. That manager surely answers to someone ... someone who is not impressing upon them the importance of auditing the system. If you don't have support from the very top down, your organization is facing big challenges. If your QM cannot reason with them, then you're probably going to have to step on some toes and go above them to find someone to whom they will listen.

... or, as Randy suggested, take your chances with the CB.
 

Sidney Vianna

Post Responsibly
Staff member
Admin
#7
I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Lil
It is simple: without evidence to support if the process(es)/system is in conformance with requirements and effective, the auditor should have simply concluded that the audit was NOT performed and report back to the internal audit program manager.

An audit requires cooperation from the oddities auditees. Failure to cooperate leads to an incomplete audit, which in itself is a nonconformity.

But, more concerning than this, is that the organization top management would allow for this kind of behavior to exist, assuming the HR manager was provided with the explanations of the purpose for the internal audit.
 

Golfman25

Trusted Information Resource
#8
The HR rep has some valid concerns regarding employee privacy and such. Unfortunately, instead of working to accommodate those concerns, the rep resisted. I think your QMS people need to get together with HR and make sure your requirement, TS requirements, and HR requirements are all aligned. There is a chance you are farther than necessary.

I had a situation where we outsourced product to a facility which helped handicapped people. So training records where a real problem because individual identification could compromise HIPPA and privacy concerns. You just have figure out work arounds in these situations.
 
#9
There's a saying which (roughly) goes; "when you point an accusing finger at someone, you point three back at yourself." My guess is you are copying the CB process you were taught in LA course which is the wrong process because it doesn't involve management in planning. Change the audit planning process before you throw the. HR person under a bus.
 

Englishman Abroad

Involved In Discussions
#10
AndyN is correct,

For internal auditing, you need to ensure top management buy in to the audit process.

If necessary you should explain to top management and all process owners that the internal audit is there to help everyone in the organisation improve, and to prepare for the external audit.

(The "prepare for the external audit" - is not the key part from a quality point of view, but in my organisation helps promote acceptance of the internal audit process (it is the sugar coating on the medicine you must swallow)).

In general I suggest you promote the internal audit as a improvement/training/verification of conformity event and perhaps you will get more acceptance.

If a particular auditee does not participate in the audit then that is as mentioned above a non conformity in itself (TS 8.2.2.4 internal audits).

Indeed, required Competency v. actual competency and links with mandatory/safety training is something that ISO TS external auditors will want to verify.

However distributing Internal Non conformities that the HR manager does not accept, and therefore will not answer, will only generate an external non conformity about the management of non conformities.

So my suggestion is take ensure top management approval of the internal audit process, and then slowly explain to the HR manager about the process approach, and about the requirements in TS relating to competency and motivation, and then perform the audit.

You could take the opportunity and educate all the process owners in ISO TS?
 
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