Ten tips to raise your risk function’s profile across the business

3 min read
Jun 1, 2022

A risk team can implement as many programmes and initiatives as they want to drive better practice, but these won’t be successful without genuine buy-in and support from the wider organisation, many of whom probably haven’t been exposed to the practice of enterprise risk management before.

Download now [Meeting Summary]: Building a risk maturity roadmap

With this in mind, how can you raise awareness of the importance of the risk function across your business? Do employees even know what your risk function does, and does not, do?

Some key questions to consider in your internal communications include:

  • Are we demonstrating how the risk function can tangibly benefit the business?
  • What methods and tools do we apply to communicate risk management to the business?

Recently, a group of Risk Leadership Network members gathered for a meeting to benchmark and share methods for raising the risk function’s profile.

The discussion highlighted practical ways to launch and maintain a successful internal marketing campaign that ultimately empowers employees to understand and benefit from applying a risk lens to business decision-making.

Based on the insights of risk leaders across the network, here are 10 tips to help you boost the reputation of your risk function and elevate risk management at your company:

1. Give people something to identify with – Using an image or analogy that non-risk people can recognise, when communicating the role and responsibilities of the risk team, will help employees to understand the advisory role the risk team plays within the organisation. While the risk team provides guidance, the business and risk owners still have to make the final decision. Images used by our members include lighthouses and race car events.

2. Keep people’s needs in mind – If you are presenting on risk internally, you have to make this specific to the individual team or department you’re presenting to. This means considering their particular interests and articulating how risk management and the risk function can support them to reach their business objectives.

3. Be aware of relationships – Some teams within the wider risk function will work better than others with certain parts of the business, so take advantage of this; for example, if a team works well with compliance, have compliance colleagues deliver certain key messages rather than risk or audit.

4. Develop consistency – It’s important to keep messaging consistent, which you can achieve by recording who from the risk team communicates with certain individuals and teams across the business. Many member organisations ensure the chief risk officer or head of risk is the sole person to interact with the board while other team members have other allocated responsibilities.

5. Listen to feedback – It’s not enough to work in a silo, so make sure you are canvassing the business, both top-down and bottom-up, to find out how you can support employees better.

6. Explain the journey – There’s always room to improve risk management practice, which is an important point to relay to people around the business when engaging with them. Risks and opportunities’ management is a journey, and while mistakes will be made, everyone needs to work together to drive improvement in the long run.

7. Set up events – One of the more active forms of engagement that’s worked for members is to hold in-person events – a form of risk workshops – within divisions to demonstrate the value of risk. This will provide you with an opportunity to show what you do in the business, who you are and it helps foster stronger working relationships.

8. Push for a digital portal – An employee portal can encourage people throughout the business to be more self-sufficient in terms of risk management, giving them access to risk information to help inform their business decision-making. However, you will need to monitor how much people use the portal and help employees to make the most out of it (check out our latest piece on key risk indicators here).

9. Keep improving – In order to create value for the business, the risk team has to regularly upskill and develop their capabilities. This is especially important when it comes to staying ahead of emerging trends.

10. Use technology – AI tools are just one way of collecting relevant risk information that will be useful for the rest of the business. By giving more useful information to the business, the profile of risk and what it offers will also rise.

To find out more about the different strategies members are using to raise the profile of risk – and to get involved in this kind of knowledge-sharing taking place across the network – learn more about membership here.

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