Crisis management is holding up well during the pandemic for 82 per cent of organisations, according to a survey by IRM. One in four said they were ‘very satisfied’ that their plans had worked well, with just over half (57 per cent) saying that problems had not prevented them working more or less to expectations.

Only one third of almost 1,000 risk managers taking part in the survey said that their organisations had not considered such a scenario to be relevant to them. More worryingly, among those that had, one if five said they had taken no action following their analysis of a potential pandemic-like event.

Almost all of risk managers surveyed said they were involved in crisis management.

Fully engaged

“It appears that our community is fully engaged with the pandemic response, with 98% still at work – appropriately distanced – dealing with current issues and preparing for the future.” IRM chair Iain Wright, CRIRM, said. “Good technology, good communications and good leadership have been rightly highlighted as the key positive factors in maintaining operations.”

He said that although there were realistic concerns about the scale of what had happened and what will happen, many reported how their personal and organisational investment in risk management expertise had paid off.

“This situation has opened doors into planning in a way which wasn’t the case only a few months ago,” said one respondent. “We’re really being encouraged to lead on resilience training and business recovery.” Most (94 per cent) agreed that the case for risk management had been strengthened by their pandemic experience.

Impacts and implications

Not surprisingly, the biggest short-term impact has been rapid changes in organisational objectives and ways of working. Many have experienced delays in projects, recruitment and decision-making. A significant number of organisations had also seen a positive repetitional opportunity in their response to the situation.

“For the future we expect to see a sharper focus on resilience and on strategic risk management,” Wright said. “These topics have been around for some time, but this period of crisis will focus attention on ensuring organisations have the people and skills to raise their game to what will be required in ‘the new normal’.”

IRM would like to thank all of those who took the time to contribute to the survey at such a busy time.

Read COVID-19 pandemic: global risk management response