By Robin Paggi, HR Expert, Vensure
In the workplace, risks may vary depending on industry, corporate governance, and task or role-based duties. Each industry and business may take a slightly different approach, but generally speaking, risk management typically follows these necessary steps:
- This phase addresses business objectives that are clearly defined and recognized by all stakeholders and determines the appropriate strategy to mitigate risks. This is frequently outlined in a risk management plan. Further, your risk management plan should include training, checklists, and questionnaires to identify as many existing and potential risks as possible. Each risk should then be recorded (including details, such as the cause and effect of such risk) and categorized to ensure prompt and adequate action is taken to remediate the issue should the risk arise.
- This phase addresses the level of attention and action needed, measured through qualitative (i.e., characteristics of risks) or quantitative (arithmetic approach to simulate potential outcomes from the threat) methods. Qualitative methods may include analyzing risk probabilities and possible outcomes to prioritize variations of risks. Quantitative methods might consist of sensitivity analyses or decision trees to unmask essential risk factors and outline a response plan.
- This is where your risk management plan should come into play. Controlling the risk entails response planning, including the three A’s: appropriate, achievable, and affordable. There are several different ways to respond to a threat. For example, a response may transfer or reduce the risk. So if a cyber-attack occurred, the answer may be to deflect the response to a third-party cybersecurity provider. In this phase, it is also essential to monitor and report your risk management plan’s effectiveness for the next step.
- As with any business or set of guidelines, frequent auditing of effectiveness is vital to continued efforts to improve the system or process. Risk, especially in a business context, is constantly changing, so the strategy and response should adapt to new and potential risk exposures.
The best way to address risks is to understand the current threats, identify potential risks, and mitigate the risks to prevent injury or illness. Here are some common office workplace risks.
Slips, trips, and falls. These injuries can be caused by various things, such as spills, wet floors, exposed cords, uneven ground, loose rugs, and disorderly areas. To prevent these types of injuries:
- Immediately clean up spills and other things that may cause a slipping hazard. Make sure to post warning signs to prevent further injury or falls.
- Clear congested areas of boxes or other objects that may block or confine a walkway.
- Cords should be adequately secured and clear of walkways.
Workplace violence. This is often a subject many do not like to discuss, but every employer can prepare for it. Workplace violence is divided into four major categories based on the individual’s relationship to the workplace:
- Individual is employed
- Individual is a client or customer of the business’s service(s) or product(s)
- Individual is not an employee but is involved with an employee
- Individual has no relation and strictly possesses criminal intent
To assist employers with preparing for a worst-case scenario, it is essential to assess potential risks, such as public-facing roles, workplace conflicts, domestic violence, disgruntled employees (both former and current), positions dealing with money or valuable items, and high crime areas. Employers should look into available resources, strategize prevention and response plans, and ensuring appropriate policies and procedures are adopted.
Social issues and politics. Social injustice, equality, civil rights, and harassment are becoming hot topics in the workplace. Employers must have strategies and best practices for addressing workplace politics. In today’s atmosphere, employees expect their employers to address social issues. However, many companies may argue that there is a fine line between social issues and business. 52% of employees expect their employers to address social problems, even if not vital to their business. To help indirectly address social issues and workplace politics, companies may look to diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. Incorporating a diversity and inclusion committee can help mitigate risks and help address employee issues more effectively.
Risk management remains a continuous and continuously evolving process for any organization, meaning the process cannot remain static. It’s imperative leaders reassess and position their risk management process as an indispensable and useful management tool for ultimate business success.
Robin Paggi brings years of experience as a human resource practitioner and trainer with VensureHR. Robin provide clients with advice and training based upon her real-world experiences. Robin’s area of expertise is in training, and she creates and delivers workshops on topics such as harassment, communication, teambuilding, supervisory skills, and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.