Many financial organizations today have a well-developed risk management program, either as a corporate commitment to due diligence or as an adherence to a regulatory requirement. Most of these programs contain similar elements, such as risk identification, categorization, prioritization, and risk mitigation. While compliant companies include these elements in their risk programs, successful companies recognize the need for training that teaches not just the policy, but also the interpersonal skills that enable employees to effectively practice risk management.
Without the interpersonal skills element to the training, all the information presented to the employees can fall flat. By including critical thinking, communication, and relationship skills in the curriculum, trainers help the employees cement the new knowledge and help the organization maintain performance and profit.
Including internal communication skills in your risk management training contributes to a common awareness of the actual risk practices being implemented across the organization. While the risk policy identifies distinct ideas and processes to manage the program, most likely there are adjustments being made in the various functions and departments to allow them to meet their performance requirements. Training people across functions and levels of responsibility to recognize and honestly discuss these practices will allow them to identify and mitigate organizational limitations and inefficiencies in both practice and policy as they relate to risk.
A second interpersonal skill that can add value to your risk training is critical thinking. Developing the critical thinking skills enables individuals to consider the complications and interconnections of the policies, processes, and products affected by your risk program. These interconnections can add a layer of complexity that may not be evident until the system or organization is viewed as a whole rather than by its individual elements. Once there is a clear understanding of how single actions or components impact the system, adjustments can be made to the risk program to address these challenges.
The examination of connections cannot be reduced to merely the elements of a program, process, or product, but must also consider the connections of departments, functions, and individuals in the organization. For instance, do people work in silos or are they aware of the responsibilities and challenges that others face with regard to risk? While adherence to the policy must always be a leading factor in managing risk, how is it practiced with minimal impact on production? Are there adjustments that can be made to the risk program to better align responsibilities and requirements? How are those adjustments then managed to ensure compliance while acknowledging performance concerns?
As you can see, a risk policy is not an unchanging document that is crisp and clear, but rather a program that can introduce its own set of challenges. These are challenges that a well-planned training program can address by not just presenting the policy but also training staff on the interpersonal skills of critical thinking, communications, and relationship building. Training in these skills will greatly contribute to the compliance of your risk program, while aiding in safety, quality, production, and profit.