Risk data includes information regarding risks, claims, incidents, losses, and mitigation strategies in an organization. While risk data is important to the success of the organization as a whole, it can sometimes be difficult to stress its importance to employees who don’t realize the impact it has on decision-making, processes, and financial savings. (If they need extra convincing, show them our blog post on 10 Reasons Risk Management Matters for All Employees!)
When staff have multiple tasks to complete, submitting data to the risk department may not take priority, which can limit the effectiveness of the organization.
How can risk managers and other staff members overcome issues when communicating risk data? The answer is simple: with technology. Let’s tackle each of the challenges and illustrate their technology-based solution.
6 Challenges in Communicating Risk Data
1. Lack of defined process
One of the most common challenges in communicating risk data is not having a standardized and effective process in place. When a claim or incident occurs, employees are not sure about the best way to submit relevant information to the risk team.
In this scenario, they will likely turn to the method that is most convenient in the moment, regardless of how this impacts risk managers. Even worse, an employee may be unable to submit information or willingly decide not to if the process is too difficult.
On a high-level, risk data can create communication challenges across the organization. Employees know that it is important to analyze data about claims, losses, and trends, but who should be responsible for owning and acting on this data?
The lack of a standardized process creates two key issues that will be discussed in the following sections: time-consuming processes and redundant tasks that frustrate employees.
Solution: Use technology to create a defined process
Technology-based communication processes are easy to standardize. When something goes wrong in the organization, an employee will know exactly what is required to report the incident to the risk team. The process may go something like this:
The employee accesses a data submission web portal from their computer, tablet, or cellphone.
The employee fills in all relevant details including the names and contact information of all parties, a description of what happened, and any relevant images or documentation. Mandatory fields and drop-down menus will prompt the employee and ensure nothing is missed.
The employee submits the form and data is instantly sent to the risk team and uploaded into the risk system for further action.
From the system, the risk team can quickly share data and reports with executives or other team members as necessary.
With this process, there is no more confusion among employees on what to do when an incident occurs.
2. Time intensive processes
Without an effective process, risk communication is time-consuming for staff. The risk team may have to compile data from multiple sources, while those submitting data may have to fill out complex forms or contact multiple people.
For example, say three incidents occur in a day and one employee is responsible for reporting them. The first is a simple slip and fall, so the employee composes an email to the risk team with relevant information. However, he forgets a crucial piece of information; soon he is following up and sending another email, retyping previously stated data in a different format.
The second incident occurs while the employee is in the middle of another task, so he decides to call the risk team directly. However, no one answers the phone, and the employee is forced to leave a message.
The final incident is more serious, and the risk team requires him to fill out a paper form. He must leave his work station to retrieve the form, fill it out, and bring it to the risk team.
Each of these reporting methods is more time-consuming than necessary; even more so as the employee must spend a moment deciding how to submit the information.
Without an efficient method of data entry, claim and incident data is not immediately entered into the system. This makes it difficult for other members of the organization to make decisions. Executives rely on data and reports from the risk team to help them with strategic and operational decisions. When this information cannot be received in a timely manner, the whole organization may suffer.
Solution: Elimination of time intensive processes
The process described above saves time for both the risk team and other employees. The form only takes a few moments to complete with almost no follow-up required. After doing so a few times, it will become second nature to staff. Internally, risk employees will no longer have to copy and paste, rekey, or manually compile data.
3. Redundant tasks
In addition to being time-consuming, redundant risk communication processes are frustrating. Depending on an employee’s role, they may have to submit tens if not hundreds of claims per month.
These staff members may feel as though their valuable time is spent performing repetitive manual tasks that could easily be automated. Employees want to feel empowered in their jobs, and removing difficult communication processes is one way to accomplish this.
Solution: Using technology to eliminate redundant tasks
No one enjoys performing manual tasks when there are much better alternatives available. Empowering employees by removing frustrating tasks such as data submission and organization not only improves workplace morale, it also frees up time that can be spent on value-added activities. Automation is the answer to most inefficiency problems.
4. Asymmetrical data
Arguably one of the biggest issues in the risk (and insurance) industry is asymmetrical data. This problem occurs when the same data set is hosted in multiple systems or locations and a change in one is not reflected in the other.
For example, consider the challenges that could arise if an organization uses two systems to track risk data: one for the risk team to manage claims and incidents, and one for staff to report them. If these two systems aren’t connected, neither party will know if the data has been changed in the other system without manually checking.
The result is two different data sets and if the out-of-date or incorrect version is used, there will be errors in risk reporting and decision making.
Solution: Build symmetrical data
With stronger technology, all of an organization’s systems can interact and communicate with each other. The moment a change is made in one system, this is reflected in all other systems. Employees can be confident they are using and making decisions based on the most accurate, up-to-date information.
5. Lack of remote access
A further inconvenience for staff is that, depending on the process and/or the incident, they may not be able to submit risk data from the field.
For example, an employee may be so busy responding to an incident and its aftermath that they don’t have time to retrieve, fill in, and deliver a lengthy paper form. Incident details may be missing or incorrect when it is eventually reported.
The employee may also get caught up in other tasks and forget to submit the incident details altogether. Not only does this impact the integrity of organizational data, it may result in the employee being reprimanded — a consequence that could have been avoided with better communication.
Solution: Enable remote access
Some technology systems can be securely accessed from anywhere — at home, in the field, or from a client’s office — with a laptop, tablet, or cellphone. This allows employees to eliminate the inconvenience of having to wait to submit information or complete a task. As soon as an incident occurs, data can go directly to the system, while maintaining organizational security.
6. Communicating the right data
Finally, there may be a disconnect between the information and terminology risk managers require and staff members are able to supply. This can be confusing or irritating to employees who are forced to spend time repeatedly providing data in different formats.
For example, an employee may report that there was a fall in a particular store and later have to speak with a risk employee to give more information about the cause and specific location of the incident.
In addition, there needs to be agreement on who will receive and use what types of data. What is the overall purpose of risk data in the organization?
Solution: Technology that illustrates what matters
With data systems that enable quick submission with easy to understand fields, employees and risk teams will always be on the same page.
With technology, the difficulties staff experience with risk and incident data are all but eliminated. This reduces frustration and eases the process for both sides. The result? Straightforward efficient processes, higher data integrity, and more productive and satisfied staff.
ClearRisk’s claims, incident, and risk management system solves all of the problems described above and more. Our online data submission webform and easy-to-use system allows all employees to contribute to risk management without extra time or effort.
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