You’ve had the consultant in. You’ve spoken with a few mates who have been down this track before you. You’ve got nice folders with coloured tabs to keep the documentation in. You have a meeting once a month (which probably doubles as Friday afternoon drinks). The certificate has been framed and sits nice and straight in reception.
System in control, right? Not so fast, cowboy!
Unlike the teacher you had when you were 6 years old, auditors aren’t impressed with the snappy folder and other glossy paraphernalia. Auditors are a cunning bunch - well-practiced in the dark arts - and they have ways of knowing. Think Sherlock with less mad hair.
The first clue they’ll spot as to the health of your compliance system is that little number right beside the word “Version”.
If it says “1”, the auditor hears alarm bells ringing. Big, loud alarm bells.
“Version 1” tells the auditor that no-one around here is thinking very hard about things. That no-one really cares about improving the system. Or that they don’t know how to improve the system. Or, worse still, that they just can’t be bothered.
It tells the auditor that there is little compliance love.
Compliance love is the hallmark of well-functioning systems. It’s when everyone in the organisation willingly and happily plays a part in meeting the organisation’s compliance requirements.
Compliance love means that the system has a heartbeat. It means the system adds value to the organisation. It means the system has been changing and (gasp!) improving.
Feel the love by looking upon your documentation as a living thing. Demonstrate the love by updating your documentation regularly. Make “Version 1” a thing of the past.
Sure you’ll make your auditor a happy chappy/chappette but much more importantly, your system will hum with life and start to deliver some real value to the business.