A great way to start creating a more high-functioning audit department is to focus on upleveling key characteristics across your team. We’ve listed six characteristics that are deeply interrelated, and you’ll find that making progress on one tends to have ripple effects to others.
Being forthright and authentic in your communication — about, for instance, how pay aligns with the industry or other topics people tend to avoid — can inspire team members by showing that the leadership is looking out for their best interests.
An important element of our team’s transformation came from making the transparent decision to raise the bar as a department. Setting clear expectations for quality of work will help retain valuable employees who already hold themselves to a high standard, and who may grow frustrated when they consistently contribute more than others.
Be approachable, authentic, and honest — and this doesn’t just apply to the head of audit. This applies to how team members lead on projects, with people development, and when audit takes on a leadership role within the business in anticipating and safeguarding against organizational risk.
Empowering someone’s growth requires that a leader understand what makes a person tick — what excites them and where they want to go. By investing the time to learn about each individual’s interests and goals, you’ll be able to identify engaging projects that will help your team members develop their full potential.
This goes hand in hand with professional development — if your team doesn’t have any interesting audits coming up, you’ve got a problem! Challenging projects are often linked with providing more value to the business, so search out opportunities for internal audit to engage with strategic initiatives.
To increase collaboration, we made it a yearly goal with measurable outcomes that drives our team’s performance review and pay. Along with creating a better-functioning department, investing in collaboration also provides excellent leadership development experience to prepare auditors to work with many different types of personalities across the organization.
These characteristics aren’t something to set and forget. You’ve got to continually assess whether your team has the characteristics to hold itself accountable to a higher standard, and if some are lacking, develop an enhancement plan to cultivate them.
Audit team transformation won’t take place overnight. You’ll need to evaluate how much transformation your team needs, and put a plan in place to raise the bar for team standards. By expanding your pipeline, upleveling current talent, facilitating departmental agility, developing interesting value-add assurance projects, and targeting key team characteristics, you’ll work toward building a department of high performers who are excelling in their careers, in the team, and are adding value to the organization. When you assemble a diverse team of skilled members and grow their talent to be valuable for the overall business, you’ll be in a strong position to win the talent war!