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What is enterprise risk management (ERM)?

Dr. Heather Buker Jan 05, 2023

Enterprise risk management (ERM) is the process of identifying, assessing, and managing risks that may impact an organization. It is a systematic and structured approach to managing the various risks that organizations face on a daily basis, including financial risks, operational risks, compliance risks, and strategic risks.

ERM involves identifying potential risks and analyzing their likelihood and potential impact on the organization. It also involves developing strategies to mitigate or manage those risks and implementing processes and systems to monitor and control them. The goal of ERM is to help organizations achieve their objectives by proactively managing risks and ensuring that they are prepared to handle unexpected events.

ERM is an ongoing process that involves all levels of an organization, from the board of directors to individual employees. It is important for organizations to have a robust ERM process in place to help ensure that they are able to effectively identify, assess, and manage risks, and to make informed decisions about how to allocate resources and manage risk exposures.

Why is enterprise risk management important?

Enterprise risk management is important because it helps organizations protect against potential threats and opportunities, and ensure that they are able to achieve their objectives. By identifying and managing risks, organizations can minimize the likelihood of negative events occurring, and reduce the impact of those that do occur.

There are several reasons why enterprise risk management is important:

  1. Protecting assets: ERM helps organizations protect their assets, including physical assets, financial assets, and intangible assets such as reputation and brand.
  2. Maintaining compliance: ERM helps organizations comply with laws, regulations, and other requirements, which can help prevent costly fines and legal actions.
  3. Supporting decision-making: ERM provides organizations with the information they need to make informed decisions about how to allocate resources and manage risk exposures.
  4. Improving efficiency: ERM can help organizations identify and eliminate inefficiencies, streamline processes, and reduce costs.
  5. Enhancing reputation: By effectively managing risks, organizations can improve their reputation and build trust with stakeholders.

What are the components of enterprise risk management?

The components of enterprise risk management work together to create a structured and systematic approach to identifying, assessing, and managing risks within an organization. The components of ERM include:

  1. Risk identification: The process of identifying potential risks that could impact the organization. This includes identifying the source of the risk, the likelihood of the risk occurring, and the potential impact of the risk.
  2. Risk assessment: The process of evaluating the likelihood and impact of identified risks. This includes analyzing the potential consequences of the risk and determining the level of risk the organization is willing to accept.
  3. Risk control: The process of implementing measures to reduce the likelihood of identified risks occurring, or to mitigate their impact if they do occur. This may include implementing controls such as policies and procedures, training, or installing systems to monitor and control risks.
  4. Risk communication: The process of communicating risk information to all relevant stakeholders, including employees, management, the board of directors, and external parties such as customers and regulators.
  5. Risk monitoring and review: The process of regularly reviewing and monitoring the effectiveness of risk controls, and updating the risk management plan as needed. This includes reviewing risks on an ongoing basis and making adjustments to the risk management plan as needed.

How to implement an enterprise risk management program?

Below are the important steps in implementing an enterprise risk management program.

  1. Before implementing any risk management practices, it is important for a company to establish its risk philosophy, which involves identifying its attitude towards risk and developing a strategy for managing risks. This should involve discussions between management and a thorough analysis of the company's overall risk profile.
  2. After establishing the company's risk philosophy, the next step is to create an action plan to protect its assets and ensure the organization's future success. This plan should be developed based on the results of a risk assessment, which involves evaluating the likelihood and potential impact of identified risks.
  3. ERM involves considering a wide range of potential risks that a company may encounter. This includes thinking creatively and considering even unlikely scenarios. It is important for a company to think through as many potential challenges as possible, and to have a plan in place for how to respond (or not respond) to them in the event they occur.
  4. Clearly communicate priorities for risk management. A company may identify certain high-priority risks that are critical to mitigate in order to ensure the continued success of the organization. These priorities should be clearly communicated to all relevant stakeholders and understood as risks that should be avoided at all costs. Alternatively, a company may also wish to communicate plans for how to respond if these events were to occur.
  5. Designate specific responsibilities for implementing the risk management action plan. Once the plan has been developed, it is important to identify specific employees who will be responsible for carrying out various elements of the plan. This may involve assigning tasks to specific positions to ensure continuity in the event that employees leave the company. Assigning responsibilities in this way not only ensures that all aspects of the plan are being addressed but also holds individuals accountable for managing risks within their areas of responsibility.
  6. Ensure that risk management practices are flexible and adaptable. As a company and its risks evolve, it is important to design ERM practices that can change and adapt. A company may face different risks at different times, and it is important to be able to continue implementing the current risk management plan while also preparing for potential future risks.
  7. Utilize technology to facilitate risk management. Digital platforms and other technological tools can be helpful in managing many of a company's risks. These platforms may allow a company to host, summarize, and track risks, and can also be used to implement internal controls or gather data on the effectiveness of the company's risk management practices.
  8. Maintain ongoing monitoring of risk management practices. After implementing ERM practices, it is important for a company to ensure that they are being followed and adhered to. This includes tracking progress toward goals, verifying that identified risks are being properly mitigated, and ensuring that employees are performing their tasks as expected.
  9. Utilize metrics to measure the effectiveness of risk management practices. As part of ongoing monitoring, a company should develop a set of specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) metrics to quantitatively assess whether it is meeting its risk management targets. These metrics can help hold the company accountable for achieving its objectives.

Enterprise risk management with 6clicks

ERM is a complex process that requires significant time and effort. 6clicks provides automated Enterprise Risk Management and helps you manage risk registers, monitor key risk indicators, and improve collaboration on risk management activities. From ready-to-use content to automated audits and assessments, the 6clicks platform has all the resources you need in one place. 

Book a demo with us and get started with 6clicks to see how the platform revolutionizes risk management with intelligent automation.

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