Group Managing Director, ESA Risk

Author Bio ▼

Mike specialises in corporate security and fraud investigations, risk management, global business intelligence and forensic technology. He has over 30 years’ experience in advising law firms, financial institutions, companies and investors on operational and strategic affairs spanning more than 25 countries.Mike Wright is a member of the Association of British Investigators, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, the Fraud Advisory Panel, the World Association of Detectives and the International Compliance Association.A UK Ambassador for the World Association of Detectives and a past board member of the Association of British Investigators, he has presented at international events and seminars, including on corporate fraud investigations.Before moving into corporate investigations and risk management in 1990, Mike served in the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME).Full bio here
January 2, 2024


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Risk management strategy: Utilising your workforce

It is well recognised that effective risk management is based on a combination of good leadership and employee engagement.

A positive risk management culture

All businesses should aspire to foster a positive risk management culture within their organisation, as part of risk management strategy. The issue is how do you go about creating a positive culture? There is no single solution, but there are a number of key factors that contribute towards achieving the right outcome.

Organisations with a positive culture are characterised by a process of open communication and sharing information within an environment of mutual trust that enables issues to be discussed thoroughly in order to serve the best interests of the company.

Put simply, risk management works best when employees are empowered to speak up and take action when they believe there is something they need to raise.

Employees – an asset or a liability?

Your own employees can put your organisation at risk in many ways, as security threats are not always external. The greatest risks often come from within an organisation. Even well meaning employees can unintentionally open an unsolicited email and with the click of a link jeopardise the security of the company’s IT system.

In an era of increasing technological complexity, the threats of hacking and cyber crime, the cost of adverse incidents and ever-greater regulatory scrutiny, the effective management of employee risk can reduce the overall risk faced by an organisation. If well managed, it can provide the business with a competitive edge.

Practical steps

There is no perfect solution, but you can follow some practical steps to instilling the right culture and strategy for risk management within your enterprise:

  • Explain the risks faced by the business to your employees and the benefits of sound risk management so that it is understood by all staff.
  • Take time to explain the idea behind any risk management initiative in straightforward terms-tell them why a companywide commitment is important.
  • Allow employees to feel safe to voice any concerns about anything that could go wrong and encourage them to come forward when they see something could be done better.
  • Develop training programmes for each part of the business – consult employees on the particular risks each set of employees is likely to face and the control measures they are expected to follow to mitigate such risk.
  • Recognise good behaviours and reward them. Spell out that bad behaviours will have consequences.
  • Encourage feedback from employees and allow sufficient time for any changes in practice to be implemented.
  • Lead from the front and by example by being seen to act when risks are reported.

Utilising your workforce as part of your risk management strategy

Your employees are at the core of your business; daily operations, customer interactions, online interactions, decision making – the list of where your workforce can make the difference is almost endless. They play an integral part in the running, reputation and, fundamentally, the success of a company. It is therefore vital that the unique knowledge that employees have of their work is effectively harnessed and exploited as part of your risk management strategy and framework.

Taking the time to engage your workforce to help create a positive risk management culture will challenge them to develop new and better ways of working and deliver measurable rewards in terms of greater productivity and profitability.

This article was originally published on ESA Risk. If you require advice on risk management strategy contact the author Mike Wright, Risk Management and Investigations Consultant at [email protected] or +44 (0)843 515 8686.

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