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Risk Communication is essential to a good risk culture

Posted By Administration, 15 May 2013
Updated: 13 May 2013

Risk culture is one of the key subjects in the Risk Management discipline today and there are many opinions on how a strong risk culture can be achieved. These views can range from "endorsements of risk management from senior management” to "inclusion of risk tasks as part of each staff’s performance measurements”.

An angle that could be explored further is how the entrenchment of a good risk culture can be driven through tactically astute internal communication interventions. A starting point is partnering with the Internal Communication team and getting their commitment to help promote Risk Management activities.

This should be followed by including risk specific communication initiatives in the annual risk plan. These are specific risk activities undertaken to promote risk management. They need to be varied in their approach and have to use different platforms to make sure that the risk management message is clear, specific, repeatable and consistent. The initiatives must also use different communication channels to ensure that each stakeholder can be reached.

It is said that the most effective form of communication is ‘face to face’ communication. It therefore follows that the plan should include face to face sessions for the risk team to interact with the rest of the business, particularly at the ‘lower levels’ of staff. These sessions must give an outline of risk management and set clear expectations of how each staff member can play a role in risk management.

In addition to the face to face sessions, other interventions could be a series of profile articles about individuals in the risk function. The profile articles will raise confidence by highlighting the background, skills and experience of the team and also indicate the focus area of each risk specialist or risk champion. Most importantly, the articles must also highlight ways that risk issues are to be raised and addressed.

Furthermore, the risk team should have its own communication program that specifies topics and articles that will be published in the internal publications throughout the year. By having a range of awareness and education published risk articles, the Risk Management team will ensure there is ongoing communication with staff. The articles must also highlight successes and achievements made through the risk management interventions.

Another effective communication tool that may be used is including a slide on the risk process in CEO or COO’s annual roadshows or presentations to staff. Including a risk element into staff road shows help to keep the subject remain top of mind. These platforms are led by senior management of the company, which demonstrate buy in and support of risk management by the key figures in the organisation.

Depending on IT policies and budget other interventions that may support risk process could be promotions such as having standard wallpapers that will show on each staff member’s computer at specified intervals and for specific periods. This could also be followed up with other collateral such as posters, book markers and mouse pads that promote risk management. Social media platforms are also highly utilised, therefore using these media to interact with staff may prove effective.

A culture is generally described as ideas or ways of behavior by a group of people or a team. By having a deliberate and proactive risk communication process it helps create the desired ‘behaviours’ in line with the desired risk culture of the organisation. Risk communication will help promote awareness and education, whilst ensuring that successes and achievements are acknowledged to ensure that good risk practices become a norm.

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