Auditaholics and Surveyaholics Anonymous

BIC - April 2020
By: Shawn M. Galloway
Printable Version

Is your organization less effective because of an unmanageable number of audits or surveys? If your company is showing signs of becoming an "auditaholic" or "surveyaholic," contact your local physician to see if Strategri is right for you. Side effects could include less paperwork; fewer meetings; less confusion and fatigue; more discretionary time; clearer focus; enjoyment of your profession; better teamwork; increases in productivity, product or service quality; and safety improvements.

But seriously, what is the strategy here? What is the focus? How can a company be truly successful in any area of business or internal operations without alignment on a single, strategic agenda?

Let's begin the first meeting of Auditaholics and Surveyaholics Anonymous: "Hi, my name is Michael. My company is in the business of manufacturing products for both private and government organizations. We are audited by different entities at least monthly, with each audit taking almost two weeks to prepare for. Private customers have different, competing requirements, and so do government agencies. The time we spend on audits compromises our ability to innovate and even check on our own internal processes. We are fatigued by audits."

"Hi, my name is Mary. My site is routinely audited by two different government agencies. Recently, one agency required a 'no smoking' sign to be placed 50 feet from a specific process area. A month later, another agency came in and stated our site was out of compliance because the sign needed to be placed at the 100-foot mark. So we moved it, thinking more was better and would serve the requirement of both. When the previous agency came back and audited again, it was found that our site was out of compliance because the compliance standard is 50 feet and should not be marked at 100 feet."

"Hi, I'm Thomas. My company administers surveys to its population multiple times each year to hear the voices of employees from multiple areas of the business. Survey statements focus on HR, EHS, diversity, leadership, engagement, safety, culture, employee concerns and employer of choice. Do you see the overlap? Most recently, one department was sending out a survey to gain insights on the perception of another department, which also sends out surveys to gain insights on how it's perceived. Moreover, rather than thanking people for participation, or at least outlining a summary of the findings and what actions will be taken, if any, to respond to the surveys, more focused surveys are then created to gain more detailed insights on why people responded in the manner they did. All of this steers different programs and initiatives away from the business and, just like the surveys, there are redundancies and conflicting messages, which all require resources to be applied. We are in a constant state of confusion. What are the priorities?"

All of this reflects the need for improved communication through collaboration, alignment a concise strategy that includes all aspects of the business. All factors need to be considered within one strategy rather than multiple competing ones. There is nothing wrong with audits, policies or surveys as long as they identify what you don't know or didn't think of, or where you are working against your plans or strategy. Is your company addicted to audits and surveys? Are they of value and creating the perception of value? If not, it's time to revisit their worth.

Shawn M. Galloway is the CEO of ProAct Safety and co-author of several bestselling books. As an award-winning consultant, adviser, leadership coach and keynote speaker, he has helped hundreds of organizations within every major industry to improve safety strategy, culture, leadership and engagement. He is also the host of the highly acclaimed weekly podcast series Safety Culture Excellence®.
For more information, call (936) 273-8700 or email

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