Tribal business risk management: 5 helps for operations large or small
Whether your tribal business is small, medium or large, you’re well aware of many of the risks involved in day-to-day operations. Risks for construction companies and road crews vary greatly from those found at health clinics, which are markedly different from those at a bar, restaurant, convenience store or other retail outlet. That’s where tribal business risk management comes in: helping you identify, prioritize, plan for or mitigate potential losses for your specific organization.
Sometimes what we find is that owners of small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) assume they can’t afford risk management. The opposite is actually true: business owners can’t afford not to perform a thorough risk assessment to identify and prioritize their risks, take steps to minimize them, and then consider additional coverage to protect the gap(s).
5 reasons your tribal business needs risk management
“Tribal business risk management isn’t just for large casinos or companies that use heavy equipment,” explained Brett Barnsley, Arrowhead’s Tribal Program managing director. “All it takes is a distracted person on their phone on your premises – whether they’re an employee, customer or vendor – and you’ve got a risk.”
Getting started can be intimidating: Just making a list of those risks is enough to send your blood pressure skyrocketing. But let’s look at five areas where your tribal business may need risk management:
1. Employee risks. Risks concerning your employees range from losing key leaders and a high turnover rate, to employee liability, theft and fraud. Also included are workplace injuries, lost productivity, workers’ benefits claims and health care costs.
2. Property risks. These include not only your physical location, but even your signage out front, your inventory and your equipment as discussed below.
3. Technology and equipment risks. Cyber risks such as the latest WannaCry ransomware are on everyone’s minds; you can read our earlier post on cyber threats here. But your technology and equipment risks also include equipment breakdown and replacement, data breaches, downtime from broken equipment or outdated systems, fraud and equipment theft. If your business includes commercial vehicles, a vehicle in the shop or otherwise out of commission may cause your business some loss.
4. Environmental risks (including weather-related). These can range from changes to tribal laws, to weather and natural disasters. Also included here would be risks to growth, whether they’re changes in your community or your competition, or even the rise and fall of gasoline prices, if your business includes delivery or service vehicles.
5. Customer (and vendor) risks. An accident onsite involving a customer or vendor. One of your vehicles involved in an auto accident. An irate customer causing workplace violence. Product recalls. All of these are rolled up under customer risks.
Once you’ve created your list, next to each, note the likelihood of the risk occurring (high, medium, low) and also the impact the occurrence will have (again, high, medium and low). You’ll want to tackle first those you ranked high/high (those that have a high likelihood of occurring plus will have a significant cost), proceeding down the rankings of urgency.
Your next step in tribal business risk management is to jot down beside each risk what steps you’ve already taken to mitigate the occurrence, and then what activities you need to take (again, ranking by priority). You may want to call on your insurance agent to help with these steps. Arrowhead Tribal will soon be rolling out a new risk services platform for our clients, with plenty of tools, how-to’s and one-on-one help available.
5 simple ways tribal business risk management can help
“Regardless of your size, there are key areas where you can minimize your risks, often just by improving workplace safety,” Brett explained. Read more on reducing on-the-job injuries and workplace safety and slips, trips and falls.
1. Keep a clean and clutter-free workplace. Outside, repair cracked sidewalks and clearly mark steps or changes in elevation. Pay particular attention to all entryways. Ensure walking paths inside are free of clutter and trip hazards such as loose or buckling carpet or flooring. Display prominent signage in areas of high traffic, dangerous equipment, elevation changes or other hazards.
2. Provide the right equipment and safety equipment. Maintaining safe machinery and equipment is essential, as is keeping on hand the right safety equipment for the job.
3. Staff properly. “Not only should new hires be oriented to and trained in the tasks and equipment involved in their roles, but businesses should also have sufficient staff to achieve their goals, avoiding excessive overtime, overexertion, and exhaustion,” says an Inc.com article on risk control, citing that employee fatigue is often a significant contributor to incidents.
4. Train, train again. We’ve talked before about safety training and the importance of having a written safety plan. Every new hire should be trained; regular safety training should be part of your tribal company’s DNA.
5. Discuss risks. Schedule regular meetings with your managers to discuss risks. Your supervisors and workers are an excellent source to recognize safety issues and suggest improvements in their everyday work world.