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Internal Audits and Employee engagement

How can I encourage employee participation when conducting Internal Audits? Employees either are afraid of saying the wrong thing or simply don't care to participate. What can I do to make them feel at ease and see the value of Internal Audits? TIA


Super Moderator
Super Moderator
What do you currently say or do to put them at ease?

What do you do while they're talking?

How are audit results communicated (and responded) to?


Involved In Discussions
There were some good suggestions on this thread:
Internal Auditing Inspiration - Getting volunteers to perform internal audits.

It's something that I struggle with, too! Especially in a company where an employee does not feel confident enough to be able to ask the questions they think are important. Supporting auditors is something that Lead Auditors can do to try and encourage and promote the process. It's difficult! I wish you all the best, and if I find something that works well I'll be more than happy to share it!


Staff member
Super Moderator
What is management's attitude towards internal audits? If they see it as something that just needs to be checked off then it's unlikely employees will be too engaged. Worse, if findings are used punitively, ain't nobody gonna' talk. If, however, management sees it as a means to find issues and make improvements, there's hope. If that's the case, can they should be promoting the internal audits, encouraging people to be open, and commending folks for pointing out issues / potential issues / improvement opportunities.


Quite Involved in Discussions
What can I do to make them feel at ease and see the value of Internal Audits?
What is the value of the internal audits? How can you phrase that so the employee sees and experiences that value?

What are the repercussions of findings of nonconformances, etc.? Has there been a history of punitive actions, etc.? Or, have nonconformances historically led to improved working conditions for employees?

John Broomfield

Staff member
Super Moderator
Employees should already know that the system is meant to help them to understand and fulfill requirements. Do they understand what the system is?

Leaders (by rank and influence) should already have explained (to existing and incoming employees) what the system is and why it is important to customers, the business and themselves. They may not yet have been trained to do this.

Top management set and explain the objectives for the internal audit program so everyone understands that volunteer auditors are trained to seek evidence of how well the system helps them to understand and fulfill requirements.

The audits are planned and announced in advance with each audit’s objective so representatives of the system (managers, supervisors and employees) are available to show the auditor how well the system works.

Auditors chat with these reps to put them at their ease and to encourage them to discuss the system including what works well and less than well.

Auditors take notes openly so the reps can see and make any necessary corrections to them so they are true.

This discussion about the system will reveal any needed improvements to the rep and these are noted as system nonconformities where the system has failed to fulfill requirements.

Ultimately top management is responsible for the system and how well it works. You may be asked to help with any necessary corrective action.

Note the importance of awareness, understanding, leadership and the “no blame” approach outside of audit. Without these employees may be fearful.

John C. Abnet

What can I do to make them feel at ease and see the value of Internal Audits?
Good day @ginarr ;
You've already received some wise council. Allow me to add another thought if I may. When I train internal auditors (many other organizations do as well), much of the emphasis includes interpersonal relationships. It starts with making sure we select (vet) the correct people to be internal auditors. Not everyone is suited for it. Once auditors are selected, refreshing them and emphasizing on the interpersonal skills will help, if done properly.

One of those interpersonal skills is the art of LISTENING. While some specific questions may indeed need to be asked, I emphasize the art of listening. As Stephen Covey's habit number 5 states..."seek first to understand, then to be understood.

e.g. Ask an associate...

1- Will you teach me about your job? How did you learn all this stuff? How do you know what to do? (let them brag)
2- What's the biggest hindrance to your job? (that gets them talking every time !)
3- What are your options when something goes wrong?
4- Do you have any options available if you have an idea and want to change the way things are done?

These type of questions allow people to talk and vent and even brag about their knowledge. Stand quiet and let them talk. Be sincerely interested in what they have to say no matter what is said or how they say it. They will generally LEAD you to the next question (if any).

Hope this helps.

Be well.
When creating an internal audit team, is it necessary for all personnel selected to be certified in internal auditing? Would we need to bring someone in to train or how can we go about it?
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