How Can Enterprise Risk Management Leaders Respond to the COVID-19? 

The outbreak of COVID-19 might be a deep impact on the economy and businesses around the world. However, this is also paving ways for companies to come together and share their information about the different kinds of potential risks caused by the pandemic. Today, business leaders are concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on their companies, seeking ways to alleviate these risks. In this uncertain situation, executives need to bring all departments together to create a well-rounded plan.

Enterprise risk management (ERM) can be effective in the current synopsis as it refers to assess risks in order to detect threats to a company’s financial well-being and opportunities. ERM is a business strategy intends to prepare companies for any unpredicted risks that may disrupt an organization’s operations and objectives. It can assist business executives by informing and guiding them through the intricate task of managing uncertainties triggered by COVID-19.

As many executives are grappled with the ongoing crisis and its impacts that are constantly evolving, embracing the ERM initiative can help them navigate the time effectively. In its latest survey, Gartner reveals that a majority of enterprise risk leaders are analyzing the impact of COVID-19 on organizational operations and controls.

The study, which surveyed 900 audit and risk leaders, divulged that just 4 percent of respondents say updating the board is a primary focus during the pandemic. On the other side, 21 percent responded that executing the audit plan is a top priority. These teams should provide senior leaders with insights on the risks driven by the pandemic and recommend some action steps to address them, the report noted.

The survey further revealed that leaders are focusing on evaluating the impact of the pandemic on organizational operations and controls, and revising and executing the company audit plan. In this context, 15 percent of respondents said they were assessing workforce needs and challenges, while updating the audit plan and assessing the impact on the business were other top priorities with 15 percent each.

According to the survey, enterprise risk management leaders are taking several measures to tackle the crisis. They are reconsidering risk assessments to account for changes in risks such as supply chain and cybersecurity to execute remotely. They are also working with senior management to ensure cost optimization decisions account for risk and potential impact, as well as keeping constant communication with the board and management about specific risk-based insights surrounding near-term COVID-19 impact.

Moreover, the pandemic has brought several opportunities, assisting in building an organization’s culture and leadership. Despite being overwhelmed during the crisis, business leaders must look for opportunities to demonstrate leadership and compassion to advance the efforts to transform the business culture. Thus, without strategic and upper-level support, any kind of risk will create obstructions for businesses in their efforts to deploy necessary measures and the credibility that can help communicate critical information and instruction to employees.