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What is Workplace Risk Intelligence?

Updated: Mar 4, 2020

Like vehicle telematics, IoT sensors & wearables, non-technical "observables” shared by the workforce can uncover emerging risk and opportunity, unlocking value throughout the insurance and risk management value chain.

A Word On Workforce (dis)-Engagement

We conducted a survey about staff reporting of workplace concerns and found that over 40% of staff observed a risk-related concern in the workplace in the last year, but chose not to report it to management. 33% of the workforce chose not to report multiple concerns! Obviously, this is a problem for all managers of risk (think safety, security, cyber security, fraud intelligence...the list goes on.) The list of managers of risk concerned about "finding out too late" also includes the C-suite and Board of Directors, who rightly see investment in loss control/risk engineering as an opportunity to retain revenue, reduce or eliminate costly incidents. Let's face it, it's also because they are worried about protecting their personal and brand reputation.

The Value Proposition: Uncover Hidden Opportunity & Risk Throughout The Insurance Lands

  • Carriers: Increase underwriting profits by providing policy holders with a tool that can uncover unique insights via a “Human Sensor Network.” Approached correctly, timely, actionable workplace risk intelligence helps bridge the gap between enterprise-wide risk control activities and underwriting by engaging the “eyes and ears” of the workforce on a wide variety of potentially costly exposures. Uncovering and effectively capturing non-technical observations of the workforce has compounding benefits:

  • Brokers and Agents: Our Integrated Risk Management approach to proactive staff engagement covers multiple issues and policy areas. Able to maximize input from your staff on a wide range of issues, our proprietary technology combines machine learning and expertise with investigations and intelligence gathering to create guided interviews that result in more actionable reporting.

  • Employers: Reduce the time to discovery of developing exposures, highlight leading indicators of process controls weaknesses and mitigate potential incidents and/or claims. By making it easier for staff to share actionable observations on a greater variety of policy exposures we unlock latent value in the form of workplace risk intelligence that mitigates primary and follow-on costs.

Unlocking The Value Of The "Eyes And Ears" Of The Workforce, aka the "Human Sensor Network"

As experts in investigations and intelligence gathering, we know that a proactive, risk-aware workforce is a valuable, often under-appreciated source of insight on a wide range of workplace risks. Traditionally, however, managers of risk have relied on a small staff of professionals to gather information during occasional audits, while writing reactive incident reports or via the occasional email or hotline report. This reactive approach assumes that the few trained security guards, safety professionals, etc are most (if not the only) capable and reliable sources of information on workplace issues and incidents. This is a false assumption. The general workforce can in fact serve as a powerful crowdsourcing mechanism (read risk intelligence network), if encouraged to be proactive and enabled to share objective, actionable concerns. As any experienced investigator knows, post-incident investigations often reveal that there were several people who had some information that could have mitigated or prevented an incident, if only they had chosen to speak up in a timely fashion. (A frustrating reality which often changes the scope of investigations mid-stream, causing more work and more business interruptions). Further, intelligence officers, expert at eliciting contextual detail, know that by asking the right questions, at the right time, in the right order, you often unlock unique insight into issues that generic, cumbersome forms or heavy-handed interrogators often miss. This problem has been addressed in part in the realm of EHS software, but we have found that current approaches to workforce engagement regarding safety risk still falls short of unlocking the true value of an omni-channel, enterprise-wide approach to risk mitigation. New, more integrated and intelligent solutions are available for those who share the goal of improving the ROI of risk mitigation, increasing the efficiency of audits, reducing the time cost of investigations and minimizing the frequency/severity of incidents tied to existing or emerging policy exposures. The success of an integrated, workplace risk engagement tool, however, requires that managers of various risks, especially at small and medium-sized firms, reach beyond their silo and take an enterprise-wide, team approach to activating the eyes and ears of the workforce.

How Do We Increase Reporting From The Workforce In Order To Help Increase The Accuracy Of Underwriting And The ROI of Risk Management activities?

Well, like ATMs have done for banks and check-in kiosks have done for airlines, at NWFC™ our approach is to guide staff who choose to share a concern through an online or app-based interview that is accessible, intuitive and meaningful. I know what your are thinking - the myriad of issues mangers of risk address is much more complex than selecting a seat on an airplane. Point taken, and this is why Neighborhood Watch for Corporations uses a proprietary conversation management technology that combines decades of subject matter expertise and algorithms (including machine learning) in order to digitize expert interviews. With this approach, we are able to guide users through an initial report of their concern, tailored to their issue by experts in that field. In effect, this approach mimics an initial report taken by a security guard, safety professional or ethics officer. No extra questions or guessing at what is important to write in a text box is required for the user, whose disclosure and satisfaction increases when using an automated, app-based interview. With this unique approach we are able to augment the expertise of professionals and uncover the valuable, often missed contextual details that drive efficiency in investigations, remediation and root cause analysis.

FYI: Your Expensive Dashboard Is Starving For Fuel if Your Not Communicating On Terms The Staff Prefers

Timely, actionable insights gathered via proactive staff observations, aka “workplace risk intelligence,” supports the efficient mitigation of a variety of workplace risks, beyond the near miss reporting (and other safety app-related issues) on which Loss Control professionals have understandably focused for years. By focusing just on safety, loss and risk control professionals and underwriters are missing the opportunity to unlock even more leading indicators of risks that are similarly important (and costly in terms of morale, reputation and budget). Consider for a moment the increasing cost of incidents relevant to D&O and EPLI policy exposures such as fraud, cyber breaches and sexual harassment.

Many workplaces still rely either on a single hotline (often labeled for Ethics, Safety or Human Resources) or, in larger organizations, there exists a multitude of hotlines, email addresses and forms, each serving as a "reporting method" for a single department (...which also serves to confuse or make it harder for staff to find the right channel.) This mixture of either generic, cumbersome methods or a mishmash of 86 ways to reach someone who might be the right person to take action on a concern effectively creates a barrier (dare I say excuse) for the often mildly-motivated staff member who is deliberating the often difficult decision to "speak up." In fact, relying on siloed, outdated methods of workforce risk engagement actually increased your exposures. To the point, if we want to get ahead (and stay ahead) of workplace risk we have to recognize it's not all about us, the mangers of risk. As stewards of safety, security, risk and ethics in an increasingly digital-native workplace, if we expect staff to engage with us we must do it on terms the staff prefers. The recent over-emphasis on features of the case management system (while important) has led many to forget that, between training/awareness programming and case management, is a critical and undervalued step - providing staff a convenient and meaningful method via which to share their voice. Without the right "fuel" (read more timely, actionable, context-rich reports), any expensive dashboard is going to starve for the data that makes it effective. By increasing engagement via intelligent workforce communication methods, we effectively augment and extend the reach of safety, security, ethics, compliance, HR, cyber, quality assurance and fraud personnel (etc), allowing them to focus on their most important, complex tasks.

Ready for a demo? Have specific questions about how we can support your mission to mitigate or prevent specific workplace incidents? Click here to schedule a quick chat today!

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