Managing Risk – Partners& look at why people risk should be at the forefront of your business strategy

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Partners& Phil Barton, CEO

Phil Barton, CEO at Partners& looks at the topic of people risk and asks as a business owner have you considered yours?

Staff shortages, skills shortages, employee health and wellbeing, Brexit, the pandemic – many of the issues challenging the resilience of businesses today relate to people.

It points to a clear fact: if people risk is not at the forefront of your 2022 strategic planning, it should be – and soon!

The great resignation

The obstacles facing business owners seeking to recruit and retain talent are significant and will only grow as “the great resignation” unfolds. What was considered a pandemic phenomenon has endured,

and according to some industry pundits, if you think it will end anytime soon, you’re likely to be disappointed.

As employees reflect on what work they do, where they do it and what purpose they derive from it, employers should be thinking about how to create a workplace where their people feel valued for their contribution and see a future for themselves.

Taking time out to reflect on your people strategy, who you need in your business and how to maximise their potential will help to bring the stability and security you need for your company to perform as you planned.

When was the last time you reviewed what benefits you provide for your people?

Does it reflect their demographic or their lifestyle?

Over and above salaries and wages, the ‘perks’ or ‘fringe benefits’ you provide to employees that go beyond salary or legal requirements are one of the most effective ways to attract and retain the very best talent. Whether that’s a reward and recognition programme, support for their professional development, or private medical insurance that helps them receive diagnosis and treatment more quickly, relevant benefits can act as a differentiator in a competitive market.

Unless you challenge your current thinking, you could be investing in benefits that you feel brings value, but your people regard as worthless – and that’s a risk. By taking the time to reflect and reconsider your options, you could optimise their wellbeing and engagement whilst maximising your business’ performance.

Scenario planning

Putting the mechanisms in place to ensure your business is resilient enough to survive the shock of the death of a major shareholder or the departure of someone on whom your success relies on may seem like common sense.

However, in the cut and thrust of the daily grind, few of us take the time to consider what would happen in the face of such a crisis.

Reflect on how you would continue to maintain revenue, clients, profit, bank facilities, suppliers…I could go on. Unless you work through this level of scenario planning associated with a catastrophic health event for a major shareholder or key person, you and your business could be vulnerable.

“Many of the issues challenging the resilience of businesses today relate to people risk.” – Phil Barton, CEO

Often, that key person is not among your usual suspects. Sure, the people around your top table are critical, and I would urge you to look further. It’s often others whose departure would leave a void in your business that would be difficult and time consuming to fill that present the greater risk to your business continuing to grow.

Consider what impact a designer, a key account director, a developer, engineer or scientist could have. That’s where scenario planning is critical.

Imagine and forecast

If the pandemic has taught us anything it’s that people are at the centre of almost every business. Whilst we might plan for competitor pressures or economic challenges, how often do we effectively focus our attention on the issues relating to the people who make our business stand out from the crowd.

In any strategic review, the issue of people risk should be the first item on the agenda.

For more information, visit

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