HNI Wisconsin President
People risk management is a team sport. One cheerleader or even a few executives never will make or sustain an impact on corporate culture. The result you’re after will not take place after one meeting when “we have a new culture” (or a new brand, new process, or new anything) is announced. Managing the people side of risk will take years and will never end. Change has to be felt on an ongoing basis.
Employees must see how they fit, feel like they are heard, and learn what gets implemented and why. Managers must communicate and collaborate on stability of infrastructure. The culture must support any change we throw at it. All members of the organization must know the rules of the game and why what they do is important. Now, everyone can be held accountable for the ultimate mission, vision, and profit. Any bad actors must be given the opportunity to change in short order, or they must be removed from the team.
Instigating change is the first hurdle, but sustaining organizational change is an ongoing challenge. Managers must communicate and be on the same page. One crack in this plan could cause cultural pullback, undermining years of progress.
Some companies benchmark and develop valuable data through the use of employee engagement or culture surveys. This is an easy way to take the temperature of the organization at all levels and to make tweaks for continuous improvement. I challenge you to be transparent with the data gathered and perhaps display it in a prominent area, highlighting strengths and weaknesses.
Failure to keep an eye on people risk will lead to costly trouble and potential crisis in an organization. This is as important as any other risk, business issue, or problem — and in most cases, more important. When done right, people risk management can be a sustainable source of growth for your business.