Risk Management’s Sweet Spot
Mars Inc. is one of the biggest and most successful confectioners in the world.
But when Christopher de Wolfe, global director of risk management, took over the corporate risk management (CRM) group at the start of this year, risk management was often the last thing on people’s minds.
Sites would only reach out with questions or issues immediately before insurance deadlines, or in many cases, after the event. The result was more time and energy spent on getting people to comply with the basics.
de Wolfe, who was with Aon prior to moving to the U.S. with Mars risk management, realized that he needed to educate his company on the integral role of risk management.
“The CRM group had a lot to offer but was severely underutilized, which led to high insurance premiums, a high risk profile, and a significantly reduced resiliency and recovery capability,” he said.
Reflecting on how Mars as a business became a major success, de Wolfe decided that he needed to market and promote his own department in the same way.
Partnering with Lootok, a risk management consultancy firm, he developed a strategy to engage with the employees in a fun yet educational way.
He devised a 5- to 10-year plan, broken into 12- to 18-month strategies and individual project plans by mapping out all of the products and services that risk management offers.
He conducted a perception survey and drew up a program based on the ABCs of risk management.
“The ABCs allowed people to understand that risk management not only provides insurance, but it also ensures that the business continues,” said de Wolfe.
“Once this message was communicated, people became a lot more interested in what we do.”
de Wolfe used Mars’ marketing materials to develop a distinct brand for the risk management program.
“We created a logo, posters, stickers, catch phrases and other swag that created a fun, engaging, consistent, recognizable and highly visible face for the program,” he said. “By using games and activities instead of interviews and PowerPoint presentations, we were able to collect the data we needed, and keep people engaged and interested.”
“The cost of maintaining the program has decreased substantially per site, which allows us to focus on growing the program.” — Christopher de Wolfe, global director of risk management, Mars Inc.
The results of the program have been outstanding, said de Wolfe.
“The cost of maintaining the program has decreased substantially per site, which allows us to focus on growing the program.
“Crucially, though, associates now involve us much earlier in the risk management process and contact us to let us know their risks, request help managing impending events, and help strategize ways to improve overall resiliency at their sites.”
Sean Murphy, CEO and founder of Lootok, said of de Wolfe: “I’ve known Chris for 10 years and what differentiates him is that he treats his program as a business.
“He had a good program before but he wasn’t satisfied with it so he completely revamped it and is now reaping the benefits.” &