Friday Risk Story Series: S01E05


The workers at the sugarcane farm are planning a protest. For more than three months, they have not been paid their weekend and overtime allowances. They were reliably informed that the money has long been released by their boss Adekunle, but it’s been held back by the farm supervisors.

Adekunle was lucky enough to be the type that shares a close grassroot relationship with almost all his employees. He heard the rumour of nonpayment of allowance but trusted the hands in charge of disbursement. Their years of service didn’t give him a reason to doubt their sincerity and commitment. On the other hand, the workers have not been known to peddle such vain talk.

Having heard this concern multiple times, Adekunle saw the risk of not managing the situation effectively and possible escalation of the crisis. He also identified the possibilities of building a better relationship with his employees at both levels of the divide. He followed up and found that the workers truly have not been paid. Meanwhile, the reason for the delay was due to a delay in resolving a technical issue that has to do with the authorisation of payment.

Adekunle was the first to reach the farm the next day and was on hand to welcome all the farmers to their duty posts. They were all delighted to see him in their kind of uniform and also with tools to work on the farm. When it was time to work, they all did so together, singing and joking as they did due diligence to the tasks at hand.

When it was time for a break, he hosted all the workers to a nice launch. It’s been a long time they all dined in such a relaxed atmosphere with a person of a high profile like Adekunle. He went a step further to address the issues they had in mind. He went on to reward them for the great work they did together on that day so that they can have at least more to give their family when they leave the farm. He also assured them that he will personally see to the resolution of the issue that caused the delayed payments.

When he left the farm after the feast with the workers, he left for the office of the supervisors to chastise them for not being proactive.


Risk Lens:

(Understanding the Story from Risk Management Perspective)

In the scenario above, the ERM function adopted by Adekunle cultivates a transparent and open-ended flow of information throughout his farm establishment, which leads to timely identification of risk tendencies as well as possible practical risk responses.

Adekunle’s ERM function was able to use the enterprise-wide view, to identify the depth and breadth of the potential productivity, organisational culture and reputation impediments. While the payment of allowance issue was a risk that had been on Adekunle’s radar, it had not been given a high priority by the supervisors because they did not expect the risk to have a significant impact and it was counting on their innocence.

When rumours of possible protest reached the ears of Adekunle, it was evident that the risk was starting to be felt on the reputation of the farm establishment. The risk assessment done by Adekunle was able to identify the root cause of the protest and he was proactive in his response. Adekunle then implemented a mitigation strategy to improve the relationship within the farm establishment. He was also, quick to use the opportunity to foster the relationship he had with his workers. Also, the trust between him and his workers at all levels was reaffirmed.

Interestingly, if you have been outstanding like Adekunle in managing situations like this or even a more complex and challenging one, share your feat with the world. Submit entry for the Nigerian Risk Awards, both in Individual and sectorial categories as it applies to your situation. Click on this (link) to submit an application for free, and stand a chance of winning an expense paid trip to Manchester in the UK.

See you next week for another interesting edition of risk story

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