‘Tools of the Trade’: Hints and Tips for Working in Risk Management

What’s it really like to work in the field of risk management? In conjunction with the Institute of Risk Management (IRM), Risk Xtra continues its new series of articles running under the banner ‘Tools of the Trade’ in which we ask practising professionals to offer their handy hints and tips on the matter for those looking to make the move into the industry. In this second instalment, Deborah Clements IRMCert (Manager of HSE Improvement at the Port of Tanjung Pelepas in Johor, Malaysia) answers the key questions involved.

Risk Xtra: How did you move into your current role?

Deborah Clements: My current role is a short-term assignment. You may view it as the classic win/win scenario.  I elected to leave the comfort of the corporate headquarters to join an operating company in Malaysia and uplift its HSE performance. In return, I gain valuable insights in the terminal environment making me more impactful as a professional.

Risk Xtra: How did you join the world of risk management?

Deborah Clements: My first mentor, Andy Shaw, shone a light on business risk management. I observed him position HSE-related information through the risk management lens. This meant that Andy positively influenced change within the transatlantic airline who employed us at the time. I could see this was a mechanism for the HSE function to become value added and for the individual involved to become the business’ ‘go to’ person.

Risk Xtra: What’s a typical day like in your role?

Deborah Clements: I operate and influence at four levels of the organisation. One day in business attire and the next ready for the terminal in jeans. It’s a mixture of relationship building, presenting in the office environment and continually listening to the voice of the customer. Juxtaposed with resisting the laptop and joining daily stand-up meetings, spending time absorbing what happens and why. Investing time walking with team members and experiencing their reality with a view towards changing it for the better.

Risk Xtra: What do you enjoy most about your role?

Deborah Clements: The autonomy. Working for an organisation with the foundations for HSE and high ambition aspirations. Having the opportunity to understand business objectives, tease out the HSE risk profile and enable sustainable success.

Risk Xtra: What are the main challenges involved?

Deborah Clements: The enormity of the HSE change project itself, given the pace and scale when working in what’s the largest hub terminal in Malaysia.

Risk Xtra: In what way are your IRM qualifications relevant?

Deborah Clements: Uplifting the tired and traditional HSE approach by offering hybrid risk management HSE solutions. My IRM qualifications enable me to offer business-friendly advice that supports the achievement of its strategic objectives. Access to Case Studies and involvement in Special Interest Groups is also important.

Top Tips

Presenting HSE information with a risk management twist is fresh and not anticipated. Talking a non-traditional HSE language and offering solutions that afford capacity/add resilience means that you’ll participate in business-critical decisions.

The HSE function can often omit perspective and have a bias towards sharing downside information only. Becoming risk management capable is an illuminating experience. When you hold your IRM qualification you become an enabler who measures/describes risk more objectively. It’s my USP. Could it be yours?

*For more information about the training and career enhancement opportunities offered by the Institute of Risk Management access the organisation’s website

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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