Are your employees #RiskReady?

A conversation on risk: part two

We find out from McLaren Honda how their employees impact on their risk approach. What is required from employees to not only manage risk but to make the most of it?


You cannot employ managers and decision-makers who are going to be risk averse. In lots of cases, the risk of omission is worse than the sin of commission. Taking no decision can be catastrophic. 


This is a live issue in professional services. We need professionals on our legal team who, while they must be able to identify the key risks, also must bring real value and offer creative solutions to work through those risks to advance clients’ commercial goals. Clients do not need an advisor who paralyses the business so that opportunities are missed.

It’s not about assessing risk from a negative basis. It’s about aligning your risk with your objectives – Mark Barnett


If you can embrace the risk that creates an opportunity that you can benefit from, then obviously the rewards are good. If you can spot an opportunity that other teams may have deemed too risky, or their preparation was such that they never spotted it—and you have, and you take advantage of it—then obviously that leads to a better result, and everybody loves that. It’s all positive if you get it right. It’s not about assessing risk from a negative basis. It’s about aligning your risk with your objectives.


I would add that the culture of the business is also critical and a key driver of the approach that our professionals take to our clients and their risks. Interestingly, as the business model evolves for professional service firms, we need to examine how to manage the workforce and maintain our culture. By way of example, I met with a client recently, which is a leading global technology and consulting business, and discussed the issue of disaggregation of its workforce. There are now so many people working remotely and that changes how employees interact. This creates a challenge to ensure that the culture and the values of an organisation remain top of mind.

There are now so many people working remotely and that changes how employees interact – Jane Caskey


We are actively trying to do something about diversity. We don’t have a gender bias: our market throws a gender bias at us. It is a very male environment, but increasingly less so. Graduate intake now is 40 per cent female. Across the business we are sub ten per cent females, which is tragic. But we find that our recruitment closely follows the UK demographic: the graduates coming out of sciences and engineering are increasingly on 40% and getting up to 50% females, so our intake will follow that. We already have 23 different nationalities in our engineering group.


There are lots of people with Masters’ degrees and PhDs. What you want to do is broaden the base. In my group, for example, you want some mathematicians, you want some engineering, you want physics, some software; what you want is a collaborative base of people who can share different ideas, and that really sets you apart.

If I’m working with some people who have been in Formula 1 for a very long time they have a different perspective, because things were different. For one thing, they had a very small group of people involved.

You can always learn from experience. It’s amazing how, because the regulations always change, something that used to happen perhaps in Formula 1 15 years ago will invariably come back at some point…but that’s the same way in life, isn’t it.


Part one: I am #RiskReady. Are you?

Part three: Is speed the biggest risk?

Part four: You cannot cover all the risks, can you?

Part five: Compliance and regulation

Part six: Social media