Harinder Kishore, General Manager, DLF Homes Services Private Limited and Manoj K Agarwal, Founder & Managing Director, Manoj K Agarwal Consultant Partner chat with each other about their experiences with mystery audits and fire safety.
Making audits essential
Kishore: There may be a lot of SOPs and protocols in place, but monitoring and auditing is the most important task. You need to have weekly or monthly audits of every aspect, whether it is the basic housekeeping, a security compliance audit or an engineering audit or anything else. When we talk about delivering quality, we have to schedule an audit, follow the audit and follow up on the audit.
Agarwal: When I was working with shopping malls, we had a very detailed calendar for mystery audits. The auditor was a mystery, so nobody knew who the shopper was. The report used to come confidentially. Across the six malls I was heading, I used to get differing reports on performance and quality.
In that company, apart from me, even my CEO had a certain weightage for mystery audit scores in their KRA, on which increments were based. Obviously, in the CEO’s case, it was not a major component, but as you went down the different tiers of the organisation, the weightage used to increase.
Audits are key to being able to align the internal staff and deliver across an organisation.
Kishore: This is a very important subject, and a top priority when it comes to compliance and fire safety. Some years ago, we had a consultant who spent a lot of time with us to streamline fire and safety compliances for us, spending 3-4 months in each unit. They set the standard for how audits at every step should be a way of life when we put processes in place.
Every team member has to go through that process of training and follow it throughout. The cross section audit happens weekly, nearly everyday. Whosoever is associated with DLF also goes through that process and training and they deliver according to the norms that have been set.
Agarwal: When the incident is happening or something small has happened, in spite of training, confusion can ensue. Sensitisation practice drills for fire safety is essential, so that more people are always geared up to respond.