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Continuous risk management learning is about leveraging and building on existing knowledge and capacity to achieve the desired cultural shift to a risk-smart workforce and operating environment.
To achieve the desired cultural shift to a risk-smart workforce, organizations must embrace opportunity, innovation, and responsible risk taking, while striving to achieve corporate objectives. To do this, organizations will need to encourage learning and focus on building risk management capacity, while concentrating on increasing risk management awareness, knowledge, and skills—at the individual, team, and organizational levels—and strengthening processes (i.e. the development and use of risk management tools).
Continuous learning is fundamental to integrated risk management performance. Every day, individuals and organizations are finding new ways to manage risk effectively. Organizations need to monitor and learn from situations where risk management has become a decision-making tool.
Based on the capacity assessment developed for the corporate risk profile, the next step is to establish an implementation plan for closing gaps in the capacity needed to manage both current and anticipated organizational risk. The techniques for doing this include building concepts and practices into training plans and learning programs, sharing best practices in a variety of ways, and incorporating incentives in reward systems.
For effective skills development, learning needs to be linked to strategy. Organizations can build learning plans into their risk management processes and practices and employee agreements. Departments and agencies can leverage or capitalize on learning opportunities that contribute to increasing the knowledge base and skill set of employees and the effectiveness of processes. Options to consider include training offered by CCMD, Training and Development Canada, other departments, and outside consultants; conference participation; membership in associations or institutes; processes and tools used by other departments; and employee deployments to develop skills and knowledge.
Departments and agencies may also wish to develop organization- or subject-specific in-house courses, learning venues, processes, and tools to address specific organizational needs or focus on approaches and priorities. One source of pertinent advice, tools, techniques, and related resources is the CCMD publication, A Foundation for Developing Risk Management Learning Strategies in the Public Service (2001).
In terms of sharing best practices, departments and agencies can explore mechanisms for encouraging risk management learning. For example, individuals in your organization are likely to have and be willing to share ideas about understanding and managing risk. Organizations can use existing vehicles or establish new mechanisms to communicate, share, and facilitate access to such knowledge. Effective processes and means to share best practices might include your organization's risk management working group, the intranet/Internet, learning events, information sessions, a newsletter, and publications to share specific lessons learned about risk management or integrated risk management.
Celebrating success stories and significant contributions is another way to share information and lessons learned. Organizations can encourage and reward sharing and promote risk management learning by documenting and communicating lessons learned, case studies, and best practices within the department. To extend learning beyond departmental boundaries, this knowledge can be communicated to the broader community; similarly, making time to learn from the experience of others is also an important part of continuous learning.
Management can also model desired behaviour in terms of continuous risk management learning. To demonstrate that knowledge, new ideas, new relationships, and experimentation are valued, include a range of perspectives in Decision-making, such as the views of stakeholders and citizens. Actively seeking input and feedback as a basis for further action sends a similar message.
Finally, continuous risk management learning means assessing the effectiveness of selected management actions and approaches and adjusting them as required, based on whether they are contributing to the organization's expected or desired results.
Departments are clearly starting to recognize the benefits of sharing practices. Mechanisms are being developed to facilitate the movement of knowledge and experience to minimize duplication of effort. The extent to which departments are creating an environment to support continuous risk management learning can be seen in learning plans, priorities for risk management training, the systematic evaluation of risk management activities, and the feedback and sharing of results for continuous improvement. Several departments promote learning throughout their organizations and share lessons learned with the broader community. For example:
In addition to departmental efforts, TBS is contributing to continuous risk management learning. For example:
The TBS Risk Management Directorate (RMD) has established a Web site and an IRMF Implementation Council to facilitate the sharing of risk management information broadly across the Public Service. RMD has organized and will continue to organize and participate in learning events and venues that contribute to building risk management awareness, knowledge, and capacity.
RMD and the TBS Comptrollership Modernization Directorate (CMD) have worked collaboratively with CCMD and Training and Development Canada to develop risk management learning products (courses, workshops, e-learning, armchair sessions).
CMD has also established a Web site to facilitate sharing of departmental practices on comptrollership modernization, including risk management. In addition, as part of its social marketing initiative, CMD has published testimonials on leading practices on risk management.