Risk mitigation is a risk management strategy that seeks to reduce or eliminate risk. It is an important part of risk management, which aims to identify and assess risks in order to create strategies for managing them. Risk mitigation focuses on reducing the probability and/or impact of identified risks, as well as improving organisational resilience against risk events. By implementing effective risk mitigation strategies, organisations can protect themselves from unexpected losses and gain a competitive advantage in uncertain times.

Benefits of risk mitigation

Risk mitigation strategies can provide numerous benefits to organisations. By reducing risk, organisations save time and money as they reduce the risk of unexpected losses. Risk mitigation strategies also increase organisational resilience, allowing organisations to better withstand risk events and maintain their operations, even in the face of challenging economic conditions or disruption. They can also improve an organisation’s risk profile by helping them identify and manage risks proactively. This can be beneficial for organisations that are seeking financing or investment, as it allows them to demonstrate their risk management capabilities.

Risk mitigation can help organisations improve their bottom line by addressing issues before they become costly problems. By assessing potential risks early on, they can help prevent the worst-case scenarios from occurring by allowing organisations to address these risks before they affect the business. In addition, risk mitigation strategies can also help protect an organisation’s reputation by ensuring that risks are addressed and they do not have a chance to affect their brand negatively. Effective risk management can improve customer confidence and satisfaction by ensuring that customers receive reliable services and products with minimal risk of failure or disruption.

Risk mitigation strategies

Risk mitigation strategies are developed once a risk has been identified. Once the scope and type of risk are understood by the business, the management can decide which strategy to use to address it. The five main ones are:

  • Risk avoidance
  • Risk reduction
  • Risk transfer
  • Risk acceptance
  • Risk monitoring

Risk avoidance

Risk avoidance involves identifying risks early on, assessing their severity and taking steps to avoid them so they do not cause severe damage. Organisations can guard themselves from financial loss by avoiding risky activities or investments.

Avoidance is the most effective but also most extreme form of risk mitigation. An organisation may decide that an entire operation, function, market, process, etc does not provide enough benefit to be worth the risk – even when controlled – and may cease/exit it entirely, or decide not to start/enter it. Taken to its extreme, this could even include deciding to wind up a company. This completely negates any ongoing risk, but obviously the cost of doing so is very high as well.

Risk reduction

While reducing the risk can be beneficial, sometimes it cannot be completely eliminated. Some companies choose to go ahead to benefit from the opportunities that the risks present while developing strategies on the way on how to minimise them and controls them.

Risk reduction strategies involve:

  • Identifying potential risks early
  • Assessing their severity.
  • Taking steps to reduce or eliminate them

Risk reduction can provide organisations with many advantages when it comes to managing risk effectively. By reducing the chances of experiencing a loss due to unforeseen risks such as accidents, organisations can save money as the chances of unnecessary costs decrease. The likelihood of risk can decrease in certain scenarios depending on the steps the businesses take. For example, conducting background checks on employees to rule out the possibility of conflict of interest or data leaks. While companies have control over that, they cannot control natural disasters and hence it is harder to reduce that threat.

Risk transfer

Risk transfer is a risk mitigation strategy that focuses on shifting risk from one party to another. This risk management approach involves transferring the risk associated with a loss, accident, or liability from the original risk holder (the “insured”) to a third-party insurance provider in exchange for a fee. Risk transfer strategies are often used as part of an overall risk mitigation plan in order to reduce the chances of experiencing unexpected losses due to unpredictable threats.

Risk transfer can be beneficial for organisations and individuals who are seeking financial protection against risks. By transferring risk away from them and onto an insurer, they can lower their expenses from events such as natural disasters or accidents. By transferring risk away from them, insured parties may also benefit financially if their premiums are lower than what they would have paid out had they retained the risk themselves.

Insurers benefit from providing coverage through risk transfers because it allows them to diversify their portfolio and spread out their own risks across multiple policyholders instead of taking on all of the risks at once. By spreading out their exposures over multiple policies and policyholders, insurers reduce their exposure while still collecting premium payments, allowing them to operate profitably.

Risk acceptance

Risk acceptance is a strategy that involves accepting some risk in order to gain a reward or benefit. It is often used when the cost of accepting the risk is lower than the cost of developing strategies to mitigate the risk. It can be beneficial for organisations looking to capitalise on opportunities but are not able to avoid or reduce threats. Risk acceptance requires careful consideration as there are both advantages and disadvantages associated with this approach.

It is almost impossible and definitely very expensive to eliminate all risks. For low-rating threats or those that are more predictable and manageable, risk acceptance could be the right choice. If the risk is within our risk appetite then we will accept the risk without treatment, as the resources we would use to treat it are more effectively used elsewhere.

Risk acceptance has several benefits that make it an attractive option for risk mitigation strategies. By accepting certain risks, organisations can take advantage of potential rewards or opportunities that might otherwise be missed due to fear of failure or lack of resources necessary for risk prevention measures. Risk acceptance allows organisations to focus their efforts on more pressing matters such as developing new products or services instead of spending time and money on managing risks that may never materialise into a real threat. It can also offer financial savings by avoiding unnecessary investments in insurance which would have been required if preventive measures were taken instead.

On the other hand, there are also some drawbacks associated with risk acceptance strategies including potential losses from unanticipated events as fewer preventive measures are being taken. There is also a difficulty in accurately assessing all possible risk factors. Risk acceptance can also lead to moral and ethical dilemmas if organisations are willing to accept certain levels of risk just for the sake of making a profit. What type of risk are they willing to accept? How does it affect employees?

If it would cost $2 million to fix an OH&S risk that could result in the death of an employee, but the compensation in the event of a death would be $1 million – it would make sense financially to accept the risk, but this is not sufficient justification when employee health and lives are at risk. This type of risk management strategy should therefore be used with caution and only after careful consideration of all risks and rewards associated with it.

risk mitigation

Risk monitoring

Risk monitoring involves regularly tracking and assessing risk factors both inside and outside an organisation in order to identify any potential threats that may arise unexpectedly. Through this approach, organisations can stay up-to-date on any changes in the environment or industry that might affect their operations as well as any new regulations or laws that may be applicable. Risk monitoring allows organisations to respond quickly in the event of a crisis by developing appropriate plans and strategies in advance so they are prepared for unanticipated circumstances should they appear.

Risk monitoring is not a treatment or mitigation strategy per se, but helps to ensure that our awareness of risks and the effectiveness of their treatment strategies remains up to date. For example, a risk we had accepted may become unacceptable, and we now need to decide whether to treat or avoid.

How to implement risk mitigation effectively

Best practices for implementing risk avoidance strategies include having clear and concise internal policies regarding risk management and communication – especially regarding the level of risk that the organisation is and isn’t willing to tolerate, establishing an effective risk assessment process, developing and maintaining a formal risk register, ensuring appropriate training for staff involved in the risk management process, and monitoring progress against risk goals.

Best practices for risk mitigation involve developing risk management plans which address all risk levels. These plans should be based on a thorough risk assessment and risk analysis to identify, assess, and prioritise risk factors that could impact an organisation’s operations. Risk mitigation strategies should be tailored to the specific risk profile of the business. 

When implementing risk mitigation strategies, it is important to consider both internal and external risks. Internal risks are those that are under the control of the company, such as financial or operational processes and procedures. External risks are those from outside sources such as the economy or legal environment. Risk mitigation strategies should also take into account any changes in regulations or laws which could impact an organisation’s operations. 

 When devising risk mitigation strategies, organisations should develop both short-term and long-term strategies. Short-term measures can be implemented quickly to address immediate threats while long-term strategies provide protection over a more extended period of time. It is also important to ensure that risk mitigation efforts are applied consistently across all departments within an organisation and are monitored regularly for effectiveness. A company should also ensure that its risk management strategy complies with applicable laws and regulations in order to limit liabilities. 

 Organisations should also consider using a variety of techniques when implementing risk management strategies, such as insurance coverage, subcontracting risks, purchasing hedging contracts, diversification of investments, and process improvement initiatives among others. In addition, organisations should consider developing a detailed incident response plan in case of any unexpected events that may occur after the implementation of the internal controls, including contingency plans for handling possible losses or disruption caused by events such as workplace accidents or cybercrime. Organisations should include provisions in their risk management strategy that include regular review of processes as well as periodic training sessions for staff on how to best utilise risk mitigation techniques.

Challenges of risk mitigation

When implementing risk mitigation strategies, there are various challenges that organisations must be aware of. One key challenge is the difficulty in identifying all possible risks due to the ever-changing nature of business environments and unpredictable events that could occur. Organisations must also consider external risk factors such as economic conditions or government changes which can significantly increase their risk exposure levels. 

 Another challenge associated with risk mitigation is the cost of implementing preventive measures, which can be more expensive than other risk management approaches depending on the situation. Organisations may encounter ethical and moral issues when deciding between accepting certain levels of risk to make a profit versus taking preventive measures against potential losses. Businesses need to ensure they do not jeopardise the health and wellbeing of their employees as they strive to maximise returns while minimising risks. Risk mitigation requires careful consideration and should only be implemented after careful planning and analysis.

Keep in mind

Risks require a quick response to ensure they are taken care of appropriately. This means that businesses need to have a reliable risk management system in place that allows them to handle threats efficiently. Polonious offers our customers built-in calculations for risk ratings and automated reminders for reassessment. Through our system, risk assessments can be filled out online and audit reports can be exported easily which saves both time and money. At Polonious we help our customers spend less time on paperwork so they can focus on continuous improvement while handling risks effectively. Do you want to learn more? Request a demo!