An effective risk management strategy is central to an organization’s business plan and managing its daily operations. There are numerous risks – internally and externally – that exist within a company and across a supply chain. Workplace accidents, data breaches, unsafe employee behavior, compromised production and service, natural disasters and economic turmoil are a handful of risks corporate leadership must constantly be aware of and prepared for. By taking the steps to identify and mitigate risks and their consequences before they happen, organizations can improve decision-making through greater awareness, visibility and preparation – also referred to as proactive risk management.

The opposite of this – reactive risk management – uses a firefighting approach. The reaction comes into play only once an accident happens, or when problems are identified after the fact. In this case, reactive measures are typically taken to avoid similar events in the future, but there’s not much that can be done to alleviate the damage of the events that have already occurred and impacted a company’s reputation, productivity and bottom line.

Failing to implement or invest in a proactive risk management strategy leaves companies vulnerable to a multitude of organizational risk factors that can go awry. Here are a few things to consider when building a successful proactive risk management strategy into a company’s infrastructure:

1. It takes time

Proactive risk management isn’t just an initiative; it’s a discipline that organizations must prioritize and implement across operations. It won’t be defined in a day – it’s a fluid process that will eventually become an interwoven part of the risk and safety culture. Organizations must also be flexible with the ability to make changes in process and procedures when necessary.

2. It takes careful oversight and communication

Organizations must have complete clarity on the breadth of risks they face and should understand all potential threats and opportunities to implement appropriate mitigation measures. Ensuring effective communication between all stakeholders – and across all functions – is critical to success.

3. It requires the right technology and tools

A lack of relevant tools and techniques and/or the inability to capture meaningful risk-related data will make it difficult for any company to preemptively manage and monitor risks.

Mobile device usage policies that take a proactive approach to the safety of employees and the productivity of companies are a critical part of risk management. Attacking the root of the problem is key to combating workplace distractions that can increase risk factors. From potentially fatal accidents on the road, factory floor or at the construction site to an employee leaking highly sensitive information from a board meeting, the risks created through improper mobile device use in the workplace should not be taken lightly. In fact, 48% of employees admit to using their devices while driving or operating machinery, and 68% of employees say their mobile device usage distracts them from doing their most important work.

Many of today’s company-wide device management policies involve things like in-car cameras, telematics solutions, and/or employee training programs. These tactics have their place, but they rely heavily on employees’ adherence to the policies and are completely reactive, leaving significant gaps in ineffectiveness. Contextual mobile device management, or CMDM, differs from other MDM solutions in that it proactively manages employees’ devise usage on the job according to contextual zones that indicate high-risk locations or tasks. Through a management console and an app on the employee’s mobile device, CMDM technology can automatically convert to management mode when an employee enters a high-risk zone, such as operating a fleet vehicle or stepping foot onto a construction site – causing distracting capabilities on the employee’s device to become temporarily unavailable so they can safely focus on the task at hand. With CMDM, employers can rest easy knowing risks aren’t just being addressed, they’re being avoided.

Company culture and strong training protocol play a big role in employee behavior and willingness to adhere to safety policies, but even the most trustworthy employees can slip up. Some aspects of risk management require solutions more absolute than the human layer, and with today’s mobile-minded workforce, it’s critical to go the extra mile with intelligent, contextual management.

Effective risk management requires a proactive, forward-thinking approach to circumvent mishaps and costly expenses down the line. To meet changing business needs and regulations, as well as to ensure sustainability and greater valuation, companies are making important moves in their risk strategies. Implementing the right tools and technologies to prepare for emerging risks and enforce company-wide behaviors before they occur has become a critical component in this process.

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