Being audited – pass or fail time

It has been awfully quiet here as the holiday camp has been closed since new year, thus very few tourists about and quite honestly, no one has any money after Xmas. But pay day is around the corner and the holiday camp re-opened today for their first adult weekend. Fingers crossed footfall increases and trade picks up. I really hate being bored at work.

In the meantime, the company has got us all self-auditing our stock rooms, offices and cash desks to ensure we have the right paperwork, correct files and everything everywhere is labelled. It’s all a bit anal to be honest; as an example, when actioning the list for my office, it states that the notices on my wall should all be pinned with a drawing pin in each corner. Yes, it explicitly states that! Which is fine except that I now have to go buy a hammer so that I can actually get drawing pins in my wall because thumb power just isn’t doing it.

On top of all this, the first waves of financial audits have happened. Two weeks ago, our auditor arrived at 9.02am to do my first one as a new manager. Deep joy. I had an inkling that it was going to happen as I had been off the previous two days after falling outside our house in the unlit street, twisting my ankle and tearing some soft tissue in the process. My boss had been in contact both days to ascertain when I was going to be back at work which was unlike her. The auditor walked in, introduced herself and asked how my ankle was. In fact every manager I spoke to that week asked how my ankle was. I was beginning to think it had gone out on a company newsletter!

Every company audits their businesses in their own unique ways so it was an interesting experience for me to discover exactly what she would be looking at and marking me on.  The old traffic light system of pass, fail and somewhere in between has been phased out; now it is either pass or fail and to pass you have to get 80% or over.  No store has ever got 100% and I think I know why – sneaking in new audit procedures without informing store managers. A bit underhanded me thinks.

I strongly suspected we would fail because when I had taken over, the paperwork was a mess and procedures were not being adhered to. As a former administrator, I’m quite big on procedures, they exist for a reason – accountability – except when they are just plain silly. However, auditors are a rather anal bunch, sticklers for exactness, with (it seems) little latitude for 99.5% correctness in procedure.

The upshot is that I failed on lots of little things, none which were occurring regularly, they were for the most part random one-off mistakes even though it was clear I did know the procedure and had otherwise been doing it. The devil is in the details! She was though very pleased with my 70% as a first audit for a new manager who started very close to xmas. Considering that managers who have worked for the company for 10+years failed with considerably lower marks than me.

I am not unhappy with my result, more annoyed that these things were missed. Not all mistakes were mine in origin, some were staff who, all having worked there much longer than me, should have known better. But my job as manager is to take overall responsibility for every action in store and of course to ensure my staff are doing their jobs correctly. They do, however, have to take ownership of their own actions.

Our next audit will be in 3-5 months time I think, a check as to whether I have improved or am still failing on certain things which will result in a reprimand from higher up the food chain.  Watch this space.

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