AVOIDING PITFALLS

Effective communication key to risk management

Ultimate goal is to provide meaningful, relevant and accurate information.

In Summary
  • Communication may not resolve all risk variances between parties but may lead to a better understanding of those risk variances.
  • Further, communication should facilitate more consensus and support by all involved parties for the risk management option(s) being proposed.
Open shared office in Westlands
Open shared office in Westlands
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In every organisation, the most important goal is to meet its objectives while at the same time reduce or prevent risks by taking into account social, cultural, ethical, political, and legal matters that may impact on organizations objectives. Today, organisations aiming to achieve goals and targets must take into consideration the issue of risk management.

Accordingly, risk management is the process of identifying, probing and responding to the risks an organisation faces and or is exposed to at a given time. Risk management, therefore, is a rigorous and continuous process and the outcomes of this process inform decisions within an organisation in an attempt to reduce or eliminate risks that affect the achievement of an organisation's objectives. The overall goals being to prevent losses, avoid threats and exploit opportunities presented by risks.

From the foregoing, risk management is a very critical process of every organisation. Today, most organisations have established departments/sections whose sole objective is to manage the risks an organisation is exposed to and inform management on critical decision to be made. This, therefore, hinges the importance of risk management within organisations today.

However, for risk management to be effective, communication plays a very critical role. Rather, communication plays a critical role in mitigating risks that an organisation is exposed to. Indeed, effective risk communication is a precondition for proper risk management and assessment. Thus, communication helps build and encourage transparency and confidence in the risk mitigation process and encourages broader understanding and acceptance of risk management decisions within an organisation.

Those involved in risk management within an organisation can be considered as communicators or better put as risk communicators at some point in the procedure. Consequently, risk assessors and or risk managers and other participants within the risk management process all need risk communication skills.

It is important to understand that communication in risk management is a two-way process that involves sharing information amongst risk managers (internal) and sharing information between risk managers and external stakeholders (external).

It is important to understand that communication in risk management is a two-way process that involves sharing information amongst risk managers (internal) and sharing information between risk managers and external stakeholders (external).

When planning for communication in risk management a vital step is to determine what your goal is? What is the risk assessment strategy? Or what are the outcomes of a risk assessment? Who needs to participate? What kind of communication should take place during the risk analysis procedure?

Therefore, effective communication in risk management should achieve a number of goals including; encouraging awareness and understanding of issues under deliberation during the risk analysis process, promotes transparency while formulating risk management recommendations and provide a sound foundation for understanding the risk management decisions proposed among other aspects.

However, risk managers need to understand that communication in risk management is not public education nor is it public relations but a tool for that enhances risk management and risk assessment within and organisation. Undeniably, when communication is effective, it contributes to the transparency of the risk analysis procedure and also encourages a better understanding and reception of the risk management decisions.

Finally, effective communication of information and opinions on risks within an organisation is an essential and integral component of risk management. The ultimate goal of communication in risk management is to provide meaningful, relevant and accurate information, in clear and understandable ways targeted to a definite audience.

It is important to note that communication may not resolve all risk variances between parties but may lead to a better understanding of those risk variances. It may also lead to more extensively understood and acknowledged risk management decisions. Effective communication should build and maintain trust and self-assurance between risk managers and within an organisation.

Further, communication should facilitate more consensus and support by all involved parties for the risk management option(s) being proposed.

Communication specialist and certified public relations analyst