Using games to build staff confidence at audit time

Audits are critical for Fonterra to ensure safety and ongoing improvement, but can sometimes be daunting for staff.

The gap exists where Fonterra Operators are unable to communicate and demonstrate the correct processes and controls that are already in place.

The idea for staff to focus on being better prepared for audits sprouted from one of the Fonterra operating units. They had admired some of the other training material Sysdoc had done and asked us to work some magic to help them and their colleagues to feel more confident and be more competent at audit time. How could we refuse?!

There are many different experiences of audit for staff within Fonterra, from a simple question posed by an internal food safety specialist, to something that may feel like a full-blown inquisition from a regulatory body or major overseas customer. Audits are critical for safety and improvement and our objective was to make plant operators feel more prepared, confident and supported at audit time so they could communicate and demonstrate the correct processes and controls that are already in place.

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The Sysdoc team brainstormed ideas and decided to create a game. The Audit-Ready game uses real audit scenarios and questions to practice the positive skills, behaviours and communication techniques that make an audit successful. But there's a twist: you'll also be asked to play in character, as one of the 6 identified auditor types (will your auditor buddy throw you a curve ball question?) or as an employee who tends towards a particular type (are you a chatterbox that covers every topic except the question?). Your colleagues will be watching to see if they can expose your flaws.

But doesn't everyone hate role-play? We've since had feedback that the game is fun once you get into it, maybe even 'the most fun I've ever had at work' as one person put it. And so far, it's achieving learning objectives too. It's now part of the annual training requirements for relevant staff in the pilot branch and is expected to be rolled out nationally.