The importance of a strong employee value proposition in risk and compliance

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As a recruiter specialised in placement of legal, HR and compliance professionals, we experience the tight labour market, especially for compliance and risk professionals, on a daily basis. The insights from Mc Kinsey Global Institute’s article "Addressing the revolving door in risk” offer valuable recommendations on how companies can strengthen their employee value proposition for risk and compliance talent.

McKinsey's analysis of a data set comprising 17,000 risk and compliance professionals indicates a broadening of hiring practices, with candidates being sourced from “an extraordinarily wide range of backgrounds”. This may be due, according to the authors, to risk and compliance being relatively new as a formal profession, while it may also be due to difficulties in retention. Their research indicates that only a small percentage of professionals stay in the field long-term.

Irrespective of their initial professional roles, individuals transitioning into the field of risk and compliance typically carry with them an array of transversal skills from their previous work experiences. “These include information processing (the ability to compile, categorise, tabulate, audit, and verify data quickly and accurately), inductive reasoning (the ability to combine pieces of information and form general conclusions), the ability to navigate a complex organisation and influence others.

As risk and compliance become increasingly essential functions due to a volatile and interconnected world, it is imperative for businesses to position these areas as appealing career options, to attract more entry-level talent and encourage their progression within the sector.

To enhance retention, the article discusses strategies for companies to improve their employee value proposition in the field of risk and compliance, and gives the following recommendations:

1. Articulate purpose: Define the purpose of risk roles, emphasising their contribution to organisational stability, customer safety, and adherence to the rule of law. This purpose can be especially appealing to younger generations, like Gen Z.

2. Rethink role responsibilities: Reevaluate specific roles, especially junior-level compliance positions, to make them more appealing by reducing administrative burdens, hereby paving the way for enriching compliance positions, which allow workers to exercise more judgment.

3. Provide learning and advancement tracks: Offer clear pathways for junior-level professionals to become senior risk leaders, including coaching and learning opportunities in predictive analytics and scenario modelling.

4. Encourage lateral rotations: Promote cross-functional experiences to break down silos and provide employees from various functions with a better understanding of risk management. Beyond merely rotating roles, integrating risk and compliance staff in diverse cross-functional projects could enhance their connectivity with the broader organisation.

5. Review compensation: Ensure competitive compensation to attract and retain talent in the risk field, especially as demand increases.

6. Elevate the function: Transform risk management from a back-office function into an integrated part of the organisation, similar to the evolution of technology professionals.

By adopting these strategies, companies can significantly enhance their value proposition in risk and compliance, ensuring that these crucial roles are not only filled but also cherished, leading to sustained organisational resilience and success.

Dilber, F., White, O., Madgavkar, A., & Kristensen, I. (2022, 6 december). Addressing the revolving door in risk. McKinsey & Company.

Authored by Ilse Tack - 15 Mar 2024

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