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Risk Culture – Why employees should be encouraged to speak up

It’s remarkable how, in so many cases when things go badly wrong within an organisation, someone somewhere knew that it was going to happen.

That is why it is important that organisations encourage a culture in which employees feel they can highlight problems to their bosses, according to Alan Stenhouse, who runs Scottish business AST Risk Consultancy & Training Services Ltd.

Alan, who acknowledges that all organisations have to take a degree of risk in order to grow, says that the key to getting the process right is a culture in which everyone fully understands the level of risk that is acceptable and where everyone has, and proactively takes, responsibility for managing risk.

He said: “The key to managing risk effectively is collective responsibility throughout the organisation. It is not enough for a manager to say ‘this is the way we are going to do it and that is final’.  Indeed, many of the best suggestions for a more effective way of doing things come from those who do the job on a daily basis.

“Yes, there needs to an element of control on the part of management but, similarly, there has to be a culture in which employees feel they can speak up if they see something wrong and not be discriminated against for doing so.

“The responsibility must stretch to everyone within an organisation with incentives available to employees so that inappropriate risks, behaviours and working practices are detected and dealt with long before potentially costly mistakes are made.

“Those organisations that have an open culture and manage the risks well stand to achieve great benefits. The key is a culture in which everyone seeks to learn from mistakes and there are plenty of examples in which that did not exist and organisations took unnecessary risks which could have been avoided.”

How would you describe the risk culture in your organisation? Does this need to change to provide a greater chance of success?  Do you encourage your people to speak up? Don’t delay, contact AST Risk Consultancy & Training Services for support now.

Alan can be contacted at Web: E mail: Tel: 07969-050393