The ability to minimize, monitor and control the probability or impact of unfortunate events sounds pretty good, right? Add the ability to maximize the realization of opportunities, and it sounds even better. These goals are what many organizations are looking to accomplish when they add a risk management process.

Whenever an organization creates a new process, it is important to consult the learning and development (L&D) team. Let’s take a deep dive into one way L&D can help mitigate risk by creating a group of dedicated and trained risk reviewers.

For the purposes of this article, let’s define “risk reviewer” as an individual who is tasked with reviewing internally and externally developed content with the intent of lowering the risk associated in the language it uses. Imagine a presentation that is going to be delivered to a client, a webinar that is going to be broadcast to the public or an internal communication spelling out a change in a new process. There is a lot of language used in each of these examples, which, from a risk perspective, means a lot of opportunity for potential harm. An effective way to mitigate that harm is for a risk reviewer to look at the content to identify any areas that could have a negative impact, open the author up to litigation or create confusion.

Where does L&D come in? After business leaders have identified risk reviewers, L&D can create training for them. Depending on the situation, it could be instructor-led training (ILT), a webinar or an on-demand course. The specific material may vary based on industry, the content being reviewed or other factors. In general, it is important to begin with a “what’s in it for me” (WIIFM) discussion. Helping risk reviewers understand the importance of what they are doing, as well as the associated individual and organizational outcomes, can create buy-in and participation from the beginning.

For example, you might offer a “words that matter” course that covers:

    • Absolutes (e.g., always, never, every time, etc.).
    • Terms that overpromise (e.g., “We can save you the most money,” “We are the best in our industry” or, “There’s no problem we can’t solve.”).
    • Phrases that overstate the relationship (e.g., “We will partner with you,” “We will help you make the best decision” or, “We will ensure you get the best results.”).
    • Highly controversial or potentially offensive material (including images).

Here are some examples to show how a risk reviewer might change the content to lower the risk:

In a world of rapid change, “cancel culture” and litigiousness, managing risk is crucial. When organizations are faced with this crucial process, L&D can provide training to make them more prepared. Risk reviews can review content to ensure an organization is saying all the right things — or at least not saying the wrong things.