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What relationship do employees have with risk management, if any?

As risk managers and business continuity management (BCM) practitioners, we obviously see and understand the importance of the programs we help facilitate. But what about employees who are otherwise outside of the BCM/risk management realm? Realistically, how do these employees view the initiatives we help implement?

Continuing in our series of questions supporting our upcoming “Building a BCM Brand” webinar, we posed the question to a group of BCM and risk management professionals on LinkedIn. Here are a few of their responses:

For employees at large, i.e. those “outside the realm”, representatives could be involved in the whole process. These representatives would be intelligent, influential workers who represent the different levels of the workforce. Appreciation of risk, and the need for contributions in this concern from all people in an organization, can help make risk management seem a worthwhile endeavor.

Depends on the company and the culture it has built. At some companies such measures are very welcome – they have a culture of risk awareness and behaving with a proactive mindset. At the other extreme are companies that hold little regard for such work, and they see Risk Managers as a pain and nuisance. The mindsets typically start from the top and percolate down.

We could try to foster risk culture by preaching the benefits of the risk self-assessment process, for example. But all these good intentions on the part of risk managers probably don’t accomplish a fraction of what a sudden black swan event will accomplish in terms of better risk planning.

If you think of risk management as management, then this becomes easy to understand and communicate. Think of performance goals and objectives. They are usually referred to in terms of the “upside” of the risk. “If the company achieves X result, and you as employee contribute Y by reducing the downside of these risks and/or helping maximize these upsides, then you will get Z incentive.” Employees will learn their role in risk management pretty quickly if it is tied to compensation.

Ultimately, as one responder aptly put it, “Well, that’s largely up to you, isn’t it?”

If we as BCM and risk management practitioners are unable to demonstrate to employees the importance of our initiatives, how can we expect them to understand and/or respect risk management as a whole? Join our LinkedIn discussion or our upcoming “Building a BCM Brand” webinar to learn more about steps and techniques you can use in helping your employees build a meaningful relationship with BCM.