Risk management is about looking around corners. It is the process of identifying, evaluating, and prioritizing potential risks to your organization. Risks are opportunities for profit or loss. They can have net positive or negative impact on your organization, depending on how you manage them. Risks can originate from financial uncertainty, legal liabilities, or strategic planning missteps, among other sources.
Managing risk is about deciding how, and with what resources, to minimize the adverse effects of risk or maximize the opportunities. As a leader, you manage risk constantly, and probably without knowing you are doing so. Motivation for risk management differs from one organization to another. Common reasons include saving resources such as property and assets, upholding brand reputation, protecting people and the environment, and complying with legal requirements.
In this article we review four risk management trends that are important for capacity building organizations to consider this year.
Leadership commitment to cybersecurity
Data privacy and cybersecurity concerns are at an all-time high. On a global scale, implementation of the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is increasingly enforced year-over-year since its inception in 2018. And cybersecurity threats have been on the rise, too, many of which originate from employees via phishing attacks.
To combat these risks, organizations need a top-down commitment to increasing cybersecurity savvy. According to the Gartner 2021 Board of Directors Survey, by 2025, 40 percent of boards will have a dedicated cybersecurity committee overseen by a qualified board member, up from less than 10 percent today. Is your leadership team prepared to mitigate data protection and cybersecurity risks with greater governing oversight?
Remote work support
Along with data security considerations, a fresh look at remote work procedures is needed this year. Even as some employees gradually return to a physical office, many remain fully virtual. This means at least part of your organization is accessing and sending sensitive information via the Cloud. For some companies, endpoint protection services will transition to Cloud-delivered services, if they have not already. And organizations must ensure policies for disaster recovery and backup are compatible for a remote environment.
Additional risks for a remote workforce include opportunities for real estate savings or loss. And leaders must consider the mental health risks employees face as they process the life-changing transitions they have experienced during the past 18 months. How will your organization support people who are coping with mental distress and learning how to work productively in a physically and socially isolated environment?
In the midst of Pride Month, organizations are showcasing their diverse, equitable, and inclusive values. This renewed commitment to DEI was borne from 2020’s Black Lives Matter movement, one of the largest civil protests in the history of the United States. Leaders have the choice to transform organizational culture for greater transparency and social responsibility. Taking advantage of such opportunity is paramount at this time in history. And the risk of not doing so is even greater.
Public opinion and talent attraction hinge on your adoption of new policies and procedures that promote DEI. How are your practices ensuring equitable hiring, development, and promotion of underrepresented people? Does your agency provide forums for employees to engage in candid dialogue about these issues, and affinity groups for support?
Last year, organizations quickly transformed workforce training. Organizations converted in-person learning to virtual and cut many “nice-to-have” development programs, too. Now companies are re-examining their learning and development portfolios to determine which programs will remain virtual, which will return to classroom environments, and which will permanently remain on the shelf.
Leaders must analyze the risks involved in reducing training emphasis and resources. As unemployment numbers shrink and employees look to make career moves, development opportunities are becoming an increasing priority for top talent. Resist pushing professional development into a corner this year; instead, reimagine a blended experience that meets the needs of your workforce in our new normal.
Choosing a risk management partner
With these trends in mind, how are you minimizing risk and maximizing opportunity this year? Brighter Strategies partners with many mission-minded agencies like yours to help leaders see around corners. We provide internal evaluations to ensure your organization is managing risk systemically. Through workforce planning, workflow mapping, and analysis tools we can suggest system and process improvements and develop plans for performance and change management, job design, DEI assessments, and team development. Learn more about how to partner with Brighter Strategies to better manage your organization’s risk.