Risk Management: Cracking the Code for a C-Suite Connection
The risk manager is very often the hub that manages everything around various aspects of a company’s workers’ compensation program, but they are only as effective as the understanding and support that they can gain from the C-Suite. This session at the 2015 California Workers’ Compensation & Risk Conference highlighted how to communicate and change the perceptions of C-Suite decision makers.
- Michael Simmons, Director, Risk Management at Riverside Community College District
- Ron Gray, Director of Risk Management at AccentCare Inc.
A risk manager’s job description often includes words like “predict” and “forecast”. Over the years, the role has developed to include functions like safety, insurance, claims, security and, even, finance. Doing this job effectively depends on the amount of tools, resources and support that a risk manager has available to them – most of which are provided by the C-Suite.
The C-Suite often has problems relating to risk management for several reasons:
- Not all risks can be quantified, but the results still directly impact the bottom line.
- Results are difficult to forecast.
- It is hard to calibrate risk function to the organization’s appetite.
- Data provided does not always easily add up.
- Safety is an unquantifiable investment.
- It requires proof of value proposition.
Tactics to help change C-Suite perception:
- Set goals to demystify risk management and demonstrate value.
- Commit to your own risk management education and networking with peers.
- Investigate all available tools and keep an open mind.
- Think “risk management integration” and remain objective.
- Populate your program with proven experts in claims, legal, etc.
- Be credible and resist the temptation to offer quick fixes.
- Prepare for failures. Do not assume the fix that you selected will work.
- Extend your strengths and acknowledge your weaknesses.
- Say “yes” when needed, but do not sacrifice ethics.
- Keep your emotions under wraps.
Strategies to gain C-Suite respect:
- Manage your own claims and staff/resource to manage them effectively.
- Develop detailed, accurate reporting for risk activities.
- Check and double check all reports for accuracy. Mistakes hurt your efforts.
- Never blame others.
- Establish a routine communication channel with the C-Suite.
- Stay relevant. Never let up on reporting your results.
- Be the one identifying problems and solutions.
- Make the CFO’s career a priority in your career.
- Educate yourself. Become the expert.
- Speak the language. Understand what CFOs respond to.
- Manage expectations as to what can or cannot be done.