Inside Disruption Blog

Risk Management and the Importance of Disruptive Event Management

Erin Gavigan
April 26, 2017

Controlling the probability of disruptive events is a critical responsibility to any organization. Ensuring that business goals and objectives are not deflected by unplanned disruptions can successfully be accomplished through the application of proper safeguards and the effective allocation of resources to mitigate the occurrence of such events. However, as my colleague Jeff Gorter has said, disruptive events have a way of being “endlessly creative.” Even when all scenarios have been exhausted, life still tends to have a unique ability to quickly make one realize that they haven’t considered all possibilities. Therefore, while the prevention of unexpected risk is important, having a plan in place to address disruptive events when they impact the workplace is even more critical.


Disruptive Event Management (DEM) is a unique tool within a risk manager’s bag of tricks.  It’s unique in the fact that the need for DEM may often be perceived as a direct failure of an organization’s risk management strategy. The reality is that DEM is just an extension of the overall structure. The only thing that’s changed is the risk that it’s managing. The primary objective of DEM is to manage any loss in business continuity. Levels of productivity are drastically impacted following disruptive events. To ensure that business objectives are not compromised by a loss in continuity it’s important to have a strategy in place that can inject a sense of resiliency within the workplace. DEM stabilizes an organization, and can provide tools to begin rebuilding momentum, by fostering resiliency within employees, positioning leadership in a favorable light, and by providing solutions to develop a return-to-work/return-to-life focus.


With proper application, DEM is also an effective tool in managing ancillary costs through absence management. By immediately responding to an event and by providing employees with the tools to build effective support systems, organizations can mitigate the likelihood of absenteeism and employee attrition. In addition, organizations can manage the risk of further legal ramifications through the use of DEM services, as they’ve then provided a legally defensible means of support according to the OSHA general duty clause.


In a perfect world, proper risk management would foreshadow all of life’s happenings and prevent any form of unplanned disruption to productivity in the workplace. However, life tends to have a knack for knowing just where to throw a curveball, but with careful planning, and the ability to respond to disruptive events through the immediate application of DEM, organizations can mitigate the accrual of additional risk. Not only is it in the best interest of the organization to provide DEM to their employees, it’s the right thing to do.

Erin Gavigan