Why Should You Be Using Surveys To Manage Risk In Your Business?

Whether it’s measuring customer satisfaction or keeping tabs on employee engagement, surveys are great tools for quantifying a host of topics that can be analyzed to improve your business. When it comes to risk management, surveys may not be at the top of your toolkit. Experts recommend using surveys to help assess your level of risk and the probability of risk factors. 

How do you Assess Risk? — In this context, risks are weaknesses that might prevent a business from achieving financial or other goals. A risk assessment is used to identify possible risks and determine the level of impact on the company. This assessment provides the framework for deciding what actions or controls should be taken to mitigate risks. These risks may include everything from natural disasters and global events to security and technological problems. Risk assessments involve identifying potential risks, assessing the potential negative impact of those risks, and determining actionable ways to reduce those risks.

How Do Surveys Fit In? – Surveys can be valuable tools at many stages of risk management. During the initial identification stage, consider employing surveys to get a good understanding of the concerns of your workforce. You will likely find different departments have different concerns. Surveying the teams is the most efficient way of gathering this information across potentially wide sectors of your company. After the initial risk identification, surveys can be useful for assessing risk level among different categories. And finally, once the controls have been enacted, surveys can be employed to measure their effectiveness. Consider asking questions about what factors produce risk as well as how one might avoid, lesson, or eliminate risk from your company. Or, how much harm or impact would the risk cause to your workplace?

What Does a Survey about Risk Look Like? — Your survey should have a mix of question types to get the most actionable data. Each question type has its benefits and drawbacks. Open-ended questions are great at gathering a employees’ wide range of true responses, but these can be difficult to classify for analysis. Yes/no questions result in clear answers but may miss the gray areas that highlight risk. A great middle ground approach is to classify answer choices according to whether risk is at a ‘High probability = It will happen often’, ‘Medium probability = It is likely to happen, but not often’, or ‘Low probability = It is unlikely to happen at all.’ Most effective risk surveys will primarily use the scaled response, with some open-ended and yes/no added for thoroughness.

Once you’ve created your survey, it’s important to observe your workforce who take it. You could gain insight into which questions they spend the most time answering, or if they seem perplexed by specific questions. With this new information, future surveys can be refined.

What do Findings from Risk Management Surveys Suggest for Your Business? — In addition to the internal benefit of risk management surveys, some companies publish their findings publicly to give insight for other businesses. DuPont’s global survey of executives shows widespread trends and best practices. This survey discovered that most CEOs are preoccupied with external risks such as terrorism, trade, and climate change. While these risks are valid, there are few controls that can be implemented to mitigate these risks. Instead, focus would be more effectively spend on the internal risks that can be monitored and prevented. DuPont’s survey found that:

  • Companies should spend time understanding operational risks across their company’s entire value chain.

  • Executives could devote more resources and capabilities to managing risk within their companies.

  • Executives acknowledge there is a substantial organizational disconnect between management and employees regarding risk management.

Their findings suggest a change in organizational culture. By developing a risk mindset, employees will be able to proactively manage risk and prevent negative consequences on a continuing basis. Utilizing surveys incorporates employees into the risk management process, helping bridge this divide.

Risk management is a complex process that will benefit from both employee and management engagement. This means broadening the conversation about risk. Using surveys at various stages of your risk management process can help ensure a comprehensive strategy. By effectively managing risk, you build trust in your company and your business saves money in the long run.

AfterWords is an intelligent customer satisfaction software that delivers the most relevant questions for the most relevant responses. We provide actionable data where you need it the most. To find out more, please contact us.