Many companies, especially smaller ones, minimize in-house training to cut costs. But the current business environment - with its hard-to-predict changes, external threats, and regulatory demands - is causing some owners to rethink this strategy. A strong training program can not only help you attract and retain quality talent, but can also help you reduce operational risk.
Today's companies face many challenges beyond simply turning a profit. Many industries are highly regulated, and just about every type of business has become, in some sense, technology-dependent. This has brought a renewed emphasis on risk management.
One of the keys to managing operational risk is well-trained personnel at all levels. After all, no matter how carefully a business designs its policies, procedures, and controls, they're only as reliable as the employees entrusted to implement them.
Examples to consider
Here are just a couple of operational risks that can be reduced with good training:
- Compliance. As mentioned, many businesses are now more heavily regulated. Though this may change with the incoming presidential administration, it's hard to say when or how any deregulatory measures may occur. Failure to comply with federal, state, or local regulations can expose your company to penalties ranging from monetary fines, to rescission of loans or other contracts, to criminal liability. Train your employees to avoid breaking the rules and to spot compliance threats when they arise.
- Cybersecurity. As your reliance on technology and automation continues to increase, so does your risk of cyber attacks. Although the techniques cybercriminals use are becoming more sophisticated, many businesses also remain vulnerable to simple tactics, such as email phishing. Phishing involves sending emails to employees or customers that appear to be from a legitimate source. By tricking recipients into clicking on links that install malware, cybercriminals can gain access to company assets or customers' sensitive personal information. Teach your staff how to deal with suspicious emails and other technology-related threats, and keep your firewalls strong and up to date.
On the lookout
It's not enough to be aware of risks to your business at the ownership or management level. You've got to train your employees to be on the lookout, too. We do this as a part of our onboarding process, and have annual updates on new threats and how our Firm and employees should be addressing them.