It is probably fair to say that when you mention audits to agency staff members, there will be a slight (or major) expression of fear. After all, who wants to get audited? Very honestly, more people than one might think.
Having been involved in a couple of E&O claims in my former insurance life (at both the agency and company side including time managing a wholesale operation), I can attest that it is not the most pleasant experience in the world. If you are looking to lose weight, this will do it. Throughout the life of the E&O litigation, you will probably be saying “I would do anything to make this sure this does not happen again”. This is actually where the value of auditing comes in.
A big part of the auditing process is designed to verify to what degree the agency staff is following agency protocol and process. If a problem is identified, this presents the opportunity to get it “fixed” so that it does not happen again. Possibly there is a need for another round of training (or maybe a first round of training) or possibly there was a misunderstanding on exactly how a process was to be performed. Either one, I can assure you that any “pain” you feel regarding an audit finding is going to be a lot less compared to if an E&O claim develops. The key is that once the audit finding is known, if there is a problem, there needs to be a commitment to get it fixed so that future audits go smoothly.
The various staff members that are performing the procedures in accordance with the agency expectations want to get audited because the audits will speak well on their behalf. And as audit results get built into individual performance reviews, the positive audit findings may just earn that employee some additional dollars.
One of the keys is that as the audits are done, it is extremely important that the results be communicated not only to the department / agency in total but also down to the specific employees that were audited. This is a great time to reward and thank the solid performers for their efforts but to also let the employees whose results were not at the proper level what their results were and what needs to be done to fix them. Failure to communicate the results to the individual employees will leave them believing that they “must have done well because if they didn’t, someone would have said something”.
The auditing / review process is extremely important but it will be even more beneficial if everyone truly sees the value of it, in total and for them personally. At the end of the day, “auditing” is really not a dirty word.