The Risk Institute Highlights Six Emerging Priorities for Risk Professionals
"Empowering all associates to identify and mitigate unsafe work practices", as this article from Risk Management Magazine and The Risk Institute notes, is critical in "an environment where employees thrive." That said, HR, EHS, Loss Control advisors and other managers of workplace risks need to view risk exposures such as workplace violence, cyber breaches and sexual harassment as areas similarly ripe for, as the article notes, a "renewed focus on education, planning and developing proactive measures to respond effectively." In addition to safe work environments, areas highlighted by The Risk Institute as emerging priorities include climate change, aging infrastructure, cannabis legalization, distracted driving and cyber risk management (the subject of a future blog post.)
Building and maintaining a safe workplace requires proactive communication with (and from) employees, a challenge for those whose focus is on training and post-incident reporting
The virtuous circle of incident prevention and mitigation that begins with awareness is too often hampered by outdated communication methods that create inadvertent barriers to proactive communication. Relying on phone hotlines, paper forms and departmental email addresses (that lack both guidance on what details to share or anonymity) are methods that have not kept up with how today's digital native workforce prefers to communicate. This reduces the frequency at which today's workforce can be expected to proactively share observations that are effective in helping mitigate unsafe environments and work practices.
Enabling timely and actionable reporting from employees is obviously of critical importance in workplaces where behavior-based safety efforts are the subject of renewed focus. At the same time, CROs, Loss Control advisors and C-suite executives who have a strategic imperative to implement integrated risk management approach have an opportunity to double down on the value of the capture of leading indicators of risk. More to the point, we see a clear and obvious opportunity to improve ROI on risk awareness and safety initiatives by expanding the focus and definition of "near misses" beyond the traditional, siloed purview of EHS apps, near miss apps and loss control software.
The increasing frequency and severity of claims resulting from workplace harassment, workplace violence, fraud, data/IP protection and cyber security incidents should be waking underwriters and brokers to consider the advantage of an integrated risk management approach to proactive workforce communication. As the above article notes, "organizations paying attention to leading indicators rather than lagging ones, (need to understand) that every dollar of loss mitigated is a dollar to profit and the bottom line." Improving the ROI on employee awareness and engagement efforts (i.e. retaining revenue) by creating a single, multi-issue (department) portal via which staff can share workplace concerns and observations should be a core consideration of those with an optic that favors breaking down silos in favor of more integrated, efficient approaches to risk mitigation. This is especially true for medium sized businesses (and smaller, highly regulated businesses) where the time, effort and cost spent addressing these issues can be made more effective and has a more direct impact on the bottom line.
Improving the timeliness and efficacy of workforce engagement with #risktech solutions that support behavior-based safety initiatives and extend the reach of Loss Control advisors also present a significant opportunity for underwriters and brokers to differentiate themselves, adding new value by uncovering and capturing unique, actionable data streams (e.g. workplace risk intelligence) that feeds more effective P&C, D&O and EPLI calculations. Likewise, it sets the stage for more efficient, ongoing delivery of loss control audits by validating existing issues and more quickly identifying emerging risk exposures to the benefit of producers, underwriters and insureds.
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