ILO - International Labor Organization

CNBC - Consumer News and Business Channel

CPI - Corruption Perception Index

IMF - International Monetary Fund

EQ - Emotional Intelligence

ESRM - Enterprise Security Risk Management

OPEC - Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries


Amidst the twenty-first century, the world is not only experiencing increased literacy rates but a surge of corporate bodies and organizations. The tide of work is transmogrifying so that competition is set in motion, corporate bodies are in the race of improving performance for their indispensability and inept organizations are risk-open and suffering roadblocks. As such, people risk management and its attendant strategies hold the means to wade through personnel and other crises associated with the corporate world. Embracing secondary data sources –online posts, local publications, international journals and newspapers –this essay reveals people risk management strategies amidst a popularized ocean of crises. This essay further substantiates reality of people vulnerability to risk and the challenges undermining people risk management strategies in Nigeria. Finally, the essay analyzes and validates the truth of increased corporate crises as well as it recommends management strategies to ameliorate risks and optimize uncertainty control and performance.

Keywords: Era of crises, People Risk Management, Management Strategies, Risk Management

1.0 Introduction

As distant in time as the origin of man is, man has always forged existence and survival amidst tones of challenging situations. As clearly unveiled in history, the early man suffered the dangers of travelling in snow and ice as well as feet injures from violent hunting methods. Even in very contemporary times, as the wind of innovation and professionalism is sweeping quickly through our increasingly technologized world, corporate practice and other work forms are embracing greater complexity much that performance outcome becomes less predictable. More than ever before, industries, businesses and numerous enterprises that are either laying off employees for management in capabilities or for inability to balance expenditure. An interesting survey reveals that 9 of every 10 entrepreneurial startup fail. It therefore becomes of utmost importance to fetch means to establish an emerging enterprise and nurture a full-fledged one by managing people and their effectiveness and performance. This essay is therefore focused on revealing strategies to manage people risk strategies and upscale corporate employee productivity.

An understanding of the terminologies of this research is needful and explained thus.

2.0 Terminological Connotations

The basic terminologies of this essay are Era of Crises, People Risk, Management Strategies and People Risk Management.

2.1 Era of Crises

The term crisis has an interdisciplinary nature and a consequent multiplicity of use but as succinctly described by Coombs, crisis is a significant threat of operations that would impact negative effects if not maneuvered effectively. ‘Crises’ is plural noun of ‘crisis’ and has its first use in the 15th century (Merriam Webster dictionary). In an organizational context, the phalanges of crises extend to the stakeholders as there are threats of financial and reputation loss. Corporate crises are not without poor expectancies that can negatively impact outcomes and performance. (Khaled & Tevhide, 2008)

2.2 People Risk

Ordinarily, risk revolves about uncertainty and the possibility of downturns of event with respect to human value. However, based on outcomes on behavioral economics, operational risk, human resources and corporate leadership, people risk can be defined as the risk that people deviate from the organization’s practices or procedures, thus bringing results that could damage the business’s reputation or performance. (Lee Evans, 2015). People risk is the arguably uncontrollable aspect of what employees or even leaders of an organization may do.

2.3 Management Strategies

Management strategies are a collection of processes that enterprises, businesses or organizations use to ensure that activities remain in tandem with their company goals and mission strategy. As described by Sheri Cyprus (2020), employee respect, leadership and time management make part of the most efficacious workplace management strategy. Also according to Andra (2020), management strategies are clear cut to their desired objectives while taking cognizance of likely behaviors of competitors, market and employees.

2.4 People Risk Management

People risk management is an organizational approach to deal with the security threats facing a corporate body to protect its assets and resources. It deals with detecting the vulnerabilities of the workforce or personnel of an organization and setting measures in place to counteract hostile situations that may ensue.

3.0 The Reality of an Era of Crises

Through history man has always experienced mounds of crises. From complex environmental, economic, leadership, ethnic and political to military crises, the list continues perpetually. Today, developing countries are much subject to a row of grave crises say, broadband mismanagement, insecurity, poverty et al and SMEs have huge risk indexes to pummel as they start out. The figure below shows heightened debt in comparison to growth for new markets and developing economies.

Source – IMF (2020)

3.1 COVID-19 as Case Study for an Era of Crises

According to Prachi (2015), crises refer to abrupt impromptu events that result in disturbances in an organization while triggering threat among employees with a feeling of fear. Meanwhile, an indispensable factor that submerges the moment as an era of crises is the COVID-19 pandemic. It is mentioned that the pandemic has hurled the world into a “crisis like no other”. As the world is gradually striping off fear of the COVID-19 pandemic, the economic downturns of the pandemic cannot be overridden. According to the ILO (2020), an estimate of 400 million full time jobs was lost between April and June 2020 around the world. Also, the world is open to the risk of recession as measured by the value of goods and services production, new jobs created and change in gross domestic product. The IMF postulates a 3% global economy shrink which would amount to the worst world economic decline since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Furthermore, the COVID-19 has influenced importation, exportation and travel policies. And service consumer confidence is declining. Developing countries deeply dependent on crude oil are suffering from OPEC discrepancies with Iran. Even in the corporate world and businesses, the problems of long-term financial security, challenges of financial innovation, personnel risk and safety, economic consequences of index-linked investing and deregulatory processes are merely an iceberg tip of issues combating setups in this era. In spite of all, the Mandarin character for crises includes ‘danger’ and ‘opportunity’. This outlines the possibility of creating positive outcomes from threatening situations.

4.0 Determinants of people risk insusceptibility; Measures

The following people risk insusceptibility measures are discussed below.

4.1 Acknowledging risk

Acknowledging people risk amidst managers requires some proactiveness. Doing so at scale with regulators, employees in diverse teams and stakeholders require some confidence as the process relies on scepticism of their reliable policy schemes as a means to avert possible people risk. However, companies acknowledging people risk have performance differences and stakeholder credibility compared to companies that merely advice regulatory compliance and staying off crises. Acknowledging risk fetches Achilles' heel of corporate models since managers are not convinced of total safety and they're prepared to escape casualties befalling same sector companies. Eventually, personnel turn largely invulnerable to risk.

4.2 Encouraging transparency

In a perspective, encouraging corporate transparency means detecting potential risks and inviting the organization or industry to analyze and assuage such risk potentials. Following acknowledging people risk, organization managements with reformed work models need to benefit employees by enhancing employee openness about risks. Sometimes, employees fear informing managers of soon to brew risks to escape blame. This however gives time disadvantage and crises control difficulties when discovery is imminent and employees report. To enhance employee openess and transparency is to actively seek company workforce opinion about risks, inspire employee questioning, make risk detection everyone's responsibility so that always the whole corporation echelon is on the lookout.

4.3 Sustaining Vigilance

Except advancement steps are in place, organizational complacence and then decline set into organizations easily. People are mostly structured to lose motivation and rest on the oars of their previous successes. Fostering right corporate attitude through time requires sustaining vigilance. Sustaining vigilance include setting up people risk accessment committee, new market situations or leadership change in some instances to gear the organization in the same course but with some differences. Other sustained vigilance models extend to organization leadership in reference to frequent reviews, people data aggregation and surveys, risk infraction spot-checks, operational incidence summary and considerations of customer comments and complaints. All of these data should be published in the organization's periodicals for widespread access for every organization personnel.

5.0 Challenges to the Management of People Risk in Nigeria

Four of the major challenges plighting people risk management in Nigeria are as expounded.

5.1 Corruption Culture:

Corruption is that rotten recurrence that has established it's fang in the rank and file of the Nigerian society. From different governance forms, policy making, businesses, politics, private and public sectors et cetera, no place has been a corruption modest haven. Office holders in the Nigerian public sector have looted past $400 billion dollars at 39 years from independence. For any emerging economy, nothing is as disheartening as corruption in the corporate sector. For instance, as much 620 billion naira was outlay as bailout from the CBN as banks failed from corruption acts. Such inherent corruption culture in Nigerian is quite demeaning for well meaning corporate establishments and poses serious corruption risk challenges in an organization.

5.2 Mediocre Emotional Intelligence

Succinctly, emotional intelligence is the ability to understand, manage and use one’s emotions in positive ways to communicate effectively, solve conflicts, relieve stress, communicate effectively and overcome challenges. (Jeanne Segal et al, 2019). Emotional Intelligence is much vital that it is a necessity in everyday corporate life and cannot be over-emphasized. For people around the world, the average EQ score is 75. However Nigeria has a lower EQ index and according to Afolabi (2004), the dearth experienced in the area of emotional intelligence in Nigeria relies largely on the absence of cultural sensitive scale for EQ measurement. Thus, a considerable number of organizations in contract employees based on Intelligence quotients, professional qualifications, work experiences without credible EQ test models. Furthermore and about CEOs, “every comment and facial expression you make will be read and magnified 10 times by the organization,” says Kaufman. Sadly, the inability of corporate leadership to appropriately decipher the prevalent people risk of employees and folks who are final consumers of services poses serious people risk management challenges.

5.3 Lower Technological and Innovation leverage:

One of the vital reasons for the presence of technology is for solving problems say people risk. For instance, lean six sigma is a methodology with framework on collaborative team effort. It is built for improving performance by simultaneously reducing variations and removing unnecessary errors to a 99.996 percentile accuracy. Also, the use of Digital Project Management, Business Analysis and it's stakeholder management, mind maps, scenario analysis and other numerous processes enhance performance. The creation of technological innovations as these have greatly helped in reducing people risk and enhance efficiency. They are however of low use in Nigerian corporate establishments.

5.4 Scope Novelty

The emergence of digital media and the internet has inadvertently increased the Nigerian access to past information and real time information. The wind of people risk management is waving through Africa than ever and although the Nigerian corporate world can boast of some people risk management schemes and understanding, not many corporations have incorporated these strategies in totality. After reasonable spending on financial risks, employee safety, employee further professional studies and skill upgrade, what necessity is in managing people risk? These people risk management implementation dawdling owes to the relative newness of people risk management in the Nigerian corporate space.

6.0 Strategies of People Risk Management in an Era of People Crises and Vulnerability.

Contrary to the workings of high tech inventions say machine learning, robotics, et al, where researchers can prognosticate outcomes with upper and lower limit precisions, people are not as predictable and their performance can exceed optimal performance limits for exceptional employees or CEOs. For downturn situations, people activity resulting in such downturns can be much more detrimental. This occurs when risk or vulnerability elements are not outweighed, are of wrong metrics or not obviated. People risks can only be mitigated. Admittedly, people risk is totally ineradicable and from people risks in the corporate sphere, it is paramount to proffer management strategies to the afore discussed people risk.

Figure shows risk loop; entails risk accessment, mitigation and mitigation implementation.

Source: Research Gate

6.1 Mitigating the transmogrifying workplace risk

The workplace is changing with shorter digital procedures, cultural diversity, expanding work cycles and technology. Employee risk can be mitigated by strategically planning workforce technological know-how, enhancing cultural acceptance and re-engage mentioned to work through improved working incentives and job safety.

6.2 Mitigating the hiring risk

Most successful living investor Warren Buffet once said "hire well". Succinctly, this outlines the possibility to hire well poorly. It tells of the possibility of hiring versatile employees for positions that aren't their best fit. Assuaging this risk involves accessing new hires on their desire to learn, team play, EQ, pressure performance, behaviour and other benchmarks other than functional competencies. It also involves intimating new hires on the professional uniquenesses of their working conditions through talent acquisition and learning from relevant institutional case studies.

6.3 Mitigating the retirement risk

The terms and conditions for job placement in some organizations require some working days notice before quitting appointment. It is nicer when such job quitting employees have such working periods. For retiring employees, it is necessary to map out the work versatilities that would be uneasily matched in new hires. Prepare long term to replace retiring employees by attaching younger protégés.

7.0 Conclusion

Humans are no algorithmic or automated creations. The presence of reasoning and corollary variations of choices make people risk completely ineradicable in an organization. Otherwise, completely eradicating people risk would equal zero personnel presence. However, as impossible to totally remove as people risk is, it possible to reduce to the littlest minimum. Having revealed the reality of the era of crises, measures for upholding people risk in-susceptibility and the challenges of people risk management in Nigeria. It is cogent to firstly admit that the gift of men is unquantifiable and to harness people performance as part of an ESRM in this era of crises, strategies of people risk management must be set in place.


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