How an Online Risk Survey Strengthens and Can Even Save Your Company

Conducting an online risk survey is a low-cost and highly effective way to identify and assess business risks. In our highly competitive and fast changing economy, business executives and Board members should consider conducting an online risk mitigation survey annually. What you will learn can save your business significant money, avoid a hit to your companys reputation and strengthen your sustainability. It may also save your company from bankruptcy or failure due to a catastrophic incident.

Many businesses have little or no resources focusing on identifying and assessing the risks facing them. Of those companies that do have a risk assessment program, or at least some emphasis on risk management, a significant number focus on a small number of the obvious risks including the typical insurable risks.

In reality, most businesses either are not aware of or are ignoring a wide range of risks that can significantly hurt their bottom line, reputation, and the health and well being of their employees, customers and community. A robust approach to identifying, assessing, managing and mitigating risk should include the ongoing assessment of a broad list of at least 50 75 potential types of risks. The approach should also include the assessment of both the potential impact and likelihood of occurrence of each risk type.

The best approach is to gather information from managers and other key employees at all levels of the organization. Some companies also gather input about risk from their Board members. An online risk management survey is the fastest and best way to gather information, insight and suggestions about risks from many people. To that end, each question should include a comments fiels. Comments enable responders to say why they believe specific types of risks are or are not likely to occur and why their impact is potentially high or low. Responders can also make suggestions about what can be done to mitigate risks.

Unlike many other types of employee surveys which should guarantee that responses are anonymous, responders to an online risk survey should not be anonymous. It is important to be able to follow up with responders to get additional information and to clarify their answers where needed.

The starting point is to design a comprehensive online risk mitigation survey. It is beneficial to use a survey company with significant knowledge and experience in this area. They will save you time and provide useful reports without the need to spend days using Excel to create your own useful reports.

Give people enough time to send in their responses. Three to four weeks is typically an appropriate response period. Make sure to include enough of the right people as participants in the survey. Include all managers and supervisors in your organization and other employees that are in key positions with the knowledge about customers, suppliers, business processes, contracts and regulations, and other risk-related points.

It is important to thoroughly and objectively analyze the responses, including the ratings and comments. This is another area in which an experienced survey company can add significant value.

The final steps include to creating an action plan to manage and mitigate the key risks, communicating the assessment and implementation plan with all appropriate people and then focusing on effective implementation. Implementation may require financial and other resources, and it will definitely require strong visible support from your companys senior management.

Given the fast-changing pace of most businesses, it is useful to conduct online risk reduction surveys annually to track progress and trends, and to identify new risks that surfaced in the past year.

Howard Deutsch is the CEO of Quantisoft, a full service survey company. Contact Howard Deutsch at (609) 409-9945 or hdeutsch @ quantisoftdotcom
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