Anyone out there like to go sky diving or bungee jumping? Neither are for me but I will try my hand at horseriding. Why do we like to do some things and not others? It has a lot to do with our appetite for risk. Sky diving is just too risky for me and after the last three months being in a crowd of people feels the same. As communicators are we risk takers or risk averse?
Being an effective communicator means you are a problem solver and alongside that you have to be prepared to take a few risks. This should not be as worrying as it may seem because there are many ways you can manage those risks. I have spent a lot of time this week talking about risk management, the processes needed and how they relate to communicators.
The starting point always has to be the risk register that every organisation should have. Often communicators are not connected to the risk management processes that exist across the business. It means that they are not aware of the concerns and therefore can’t do the required planning, and they are not able to include reputational risks that they may be aware of or managing.
Communicators have a unique position in the business where they can see how it operates and what it does, as well as understanding the external environment and importantly people’s views. Understanding risk and risk management should be part of the work of every communicator and every communication team.
It is going to become even more important as businesses start to reopen and move forward in the next couple of weeks. Covid-19 is still here and can still become a problem. There is talk of local lockdowns, employees may be asked to self-isolate, and there is a duty of care to ensure workplaces are as safe as possible. There are suddenly a lot more risks we face on a daily basis.
Now is the time for communicators to review the risks that they are managing or are aware of. Look at what are a priority. Identify what the issue is, what the possible impact could be, and what mitigation or action is needed to manage it. Then keep them under review on a regular basis. All this needs to be done from the communication perspective.
It is simple but vital to the communication effort. The world feels a bit more risky now, and businesses are facing increased risks so communicators need to step in now.
If you need any help or advice on how to approach risk management for your business get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org