10 Tips on How To Prepare Employees for ISO Audit

March 16, 2012

What every employee should know during an ISO 9000 registration or follow-up audit. Below are ten tips on how to prepare employees for an ISO audit:

1. Every employee should know the Quality Policy (at a minimum in their own words).

  • Example Quality Policy: “We are committed to the continual improvement of our processes to ensure that we provide our customers with solutions that add value.”

2.   Every employee should know the Quality Objectives and how they relate to them in their work.

  • Example Quality Objectives will include measures of performance and may be related to customer requirements; financial/production/safety/environmental goals; increase efficiency and effectiveness, and enhance personal & professional development.

3. Ensure that employees can demonstrate how they fit into the organization in which they work? Ensure that employees know and can explain how they have been trained or qualified to perform their job tasks?

  • Examples include going over Job Description, Training Requirements and Records, Contribution to Quality Objective(s) and a process he/she follows and supporting records demonstrating compliance.

4. Contact and ensure all personnel are trained on the appropriate processes for that job function. Many processes are defined in procedures or work instructions.  However, employees should also know other job related process that may not be called out in a documented procedure (i.e. how receive work, how to manage, how to fund a project, how to write a proposal, etc.). Note: Some processes do not need formal documentation, because all employees who perform the function are competent on that process.

“Follow Your Procedures!”                “Say What You Do, Do What You Say!”

5. Verify that appropriate records are being maintained as called out by the procedures and records lists.  For example, most procedure have a section titled "Records", these "Records" should be maintained every time that process occurs and should be available for the audit.

6. Make sure all forms are controlled and all forms/records of work activities are properly completed. Make sure all blanks are filled in, with proper signatures and dated, and can be retrieved quickly if an employee needs to use them or show them to an auditor.

7. Ensure that Nonconformances and Corrective and Preventive Action processes are being performed and records are current. For more details refer to the Quality Manual, Nonconformance, or Corrective and Preventive Action procedures.

8. Do not show an auditor any classified information!  The auditors are typically not cleared at any level.  Therefore, you must keep all your discussions with them at the unclassified level.  Also, you cannot take the auditors in any classified area.

9. Document and Record Control typically have the most findings. Verify that you are working to correct revisions of documents and records follow the requirements defined in document and record control procedures:

·      Check to make sure your Document and Record List are accurate.

·      Make sure you have access to appropriate documentation and records.

·      Verify documents have been properly reviewed, approved, and followed.

·      Make sure no obsolete documents are in use.

·      Make sure all external documents effecting processes are controlled.

10. To ensure a successful audit, here are some Audit Do’s and Don’ts:


·      Make a positive first impression

·      Remain courteous, prompt and professional

·      Clean up your work area

·      Eliminate or minimize distractions (phones, pagers, etc)

·      Know where to find documents and records you need for your job

·      Be brief in response

·      Keep your management and supervisors involved

·      Listen attentively to questions; When in doubt, ask for clarification of the question. Still in doubt? Say:  “I don’t know.  Let me find out or contact someone who knows.”


·       Bluff

·      Argue

·      Ramble

·      Criticize

·      Use acronyms

·      Allow distractions to the audit

·      Keep obsolete documents and records

·      Take short cuts with procedures

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