With 19,000 People in 40 Countries, This Risk Manager Made Crisis Preparedness Her Mission
How do you make sure that 19,000 people in 40 different countries are ready to react effectively to a catastrophic event?
This is the task in front of Elizabeth Queen, the vice president of risk management at Wolters Kluwer, the software services group. Queen does more than face the challenge; she embraces it.
The successful roll-out of the Dutch multinational’s Incident Management Capabilities program has earned this vice president of risk management a Risk All Star award in 2018.
Queen travels around the world to set up quick-reaction teams at each location, to explain standard procedures to be followed during a crisis and to define the roles to be played by assigned staff members if an event takes place.
A global mass communications tool has been set up to enable employees at local offices to immediately contact divisional managers and the corporate headquarters in times of emergency, and the whole structure is overseen by a military-style incident command system.
“One of our guiding principles is that, when there is a crisis, no one stands alone nor acts alone,” said Queen, a lawyer by background, who led the enterprise risk management function at an insurance company before she signed on with Wolters Kluwer.
As the incident management structure is implemented, strong emphasis is put on training to ensure that everyone is on their toes when necessity arises.
A section on incident management has been added to the mandatory annual compliance training, and war-room simulations of terrorist incidents, cyber attacks, data breaches and other events are organized to show how mutual trust is essential for effective reaction.
“We put people in a pressure cooker situation and make it as realistic as possible,” Queen said.
“There has been a huge demand for training in our company.
“Everyone who has taken the training comes out feeling stronger and wanting more.”
The introduction of the incident management system is in the second year of a three-year plan, but it has already been put to test.
It was triggered, for example, during the hurricane season in 2017, when several employees in the U.S. had to be evacuated from their homes and temporarily relocated to other areas.
“Our incident management capability really helped us to act quickly for them,” she said.
“One of our guiding principles is that, when there is a crisis, no one stands alone nor acts alone.” — Elizabeth Queen, vice president of risk management, Wolters Kluwer
“The feedback was positive, and we received thank-you notes for reaching out to people who lived in affected areas just to ask them if they were OK.”
Which brings us to one of the greatest benefits of investing in such a program: People acknowledge when companies show real care for them.
Queen and her team understand that what they’re achieving is just good business, and it demonstrates to clients that they can count on the firm to be on their side no matter what happens.
“Side-by-side with our customers, our work at Wolters Kluwer helps protect people’s health, prosperity, safety and legal rights,” Queen said.
“Our incident management program empowers us to deliver deep impact when it matters most.” &