At PRIMA 2016, a session discussed why it is important that risk managers are among the best marketing and sales professionals. The speakers were Zachary Gifford from California State University and Cindy Parker with Sedgwick.
Programs are only as effective as the willingness of employees to follow them. Risk managers must persuade people to wear safety goggles, wipe up spills on the floor and use proper lifting techniques. Should an accident occur, risk managers must be able to convince employees to report incidents immediately, explain why treatment from a company doctor is preferred and encourage a safe and speedy return to work. Risk managers are also responsible for communicating the results of their programs to executives to ensure their risk management initiatives are properly funded.
They talked about several lessons that help a risk manager better sell their risk management program.
Use your internal and external resources. Government entity colleagues don’t have to worry about trade secrets or competition. Generally these people like to share the successes and lessons learned.
Do not reinvent the wheel. In all likelihood, someone has knowledge or a resource to address the issue you are finding
Communicate with stakeholders. Stakeholders do not like surprises. Market your program by demonstrating why it is important and how is it supporting the organization’s mission.
Communicate with organizational personnel in developing and supporting a “culture of risk management and safety”. Allow the culture to percolate rather than shoving it down people’s throats. Speak equally toward incurable and uninsurable consequences of loss.
Maximize your value added offerings as well as those from your service providers. The best marketing is assisting with a solution. Be the “get to yes” person.
Give equal time to the importance of people and dollars. You cannot just focus on the money.
A positive mental attitude is important in getting people to work with you.
Be a solution to the problem, not a dark rain cloud.
You can’t help your organization if you cannot help yourself. Pacing is important. Work hard, work smart, and learn to chill a bit.