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Airmic regularly carries out research, and publishes the results in the form of reports, guides and benchmarking documents.

The importance of managing corporate culture


Airmic 26th February 2017

To get access to the QBE and Airmic Risk Culture Profile Toolkit, please apply here.

In an increasingly changing, challenging and connected world, culture is more important than ever.  We are all familiar with the major themes: globalisation, changing business models, technology advances, the rise of social media, the impacts of demographic shifts, growing burdens on health economies, increasing disparity between haves and have-nots, serious concerns around risk/security/terrorism and a disquiet with capitalism and its focus on short-termism. A long list - and everyone will have their own priority concerns.

Against this backdrop, we need to focus more than ever on creating cultures where people can be encouraged and stimulated to give their best – rather than ones where initiative is stifled by resistance to change and excessive bureaucracy.  Unless we achieve this, even the best formulated and articulated strategy will fail. 

CRF was established over 20 years ago, to research the field of HR and turn this into actionable recommendations. HR does not happen in a vacuum, and we have looked at what creates high performance work systems, and which fundamentals of good practice – not a mythical ‘best practice’ – promote effective management and leadership.

Our work has shown that creating a high performance culture requires a blend of clear, unambiguous leadership, well defined and sensible organisation structures, and the right values and behaviours. They must be enabled by good processes and a ‘constant improvement mind-set’ where continued learning and structured experimentation are the norm. However, these features can be stymied by the formation of silos and a lack of cross-functional working. Indeed, often those who should be collaborating end up competing. 

Therefore, we are delighted to have been in discussion with Airmic about the challenges facing organisations today, and the impacts on both Risk and HR professionals– and the interdependencies between them. It should be one of the more obvious alliances, but in most organisations, it is not. In this environment of increasing and changing risks, we need to be able to work together to avoid pitfalls and prepare contingencies. 

In this context, Airmic’s toolkit on culture, developed in conjunction with QBE, is a very useful step forward, and can be welcomed and used by both Risk and HR professionals. It provides a helpful diagnostic, and suggests potential solutions to remedy identified gaps. Whilst it does not provide all the answers, and will need to be used alongside other models currently in use in organisations to be specific enough to gain traction, it is a very good enabler.

We hope that this can be the start of a more fruitful collaboration between Risk and HR, and look forward to the further development of new ‘functional friends’.

Mike Haffenden, CRF

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