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What you need to know about risk metrics in risk management: Fractional COO explains

A close-up on the hands of two individuals of color as they review analytics, potential risk metrics, with text that reads "what you need to know about risk metrics in risk management"
Want to have a solid risk management strategy? Start with risk metrics.


Trying to figure out your business’ risk tolerance? According to Forrester, 41% of companies faced critical risk events over the past 12 months—highlighting the importance of an effective strategy for identifying risk in business. Combined with the worsening climate events over the past few years, such as extreme heat in Canada, Hurricane Ida, and worldwide flooding events, the number of threats to businesses is rising exponentially.

And while it’s possible to prepare for and mitigate these risks, as well as have a positive impact in reversing these catastrophes, it’s essential to identify and track progress.

Establishing your risk metrics in your risk management strategy enables your team to monitor, analyze, and optimize risk mitigation. In this article, we’ll cover the overall types of risks, why risk metrics matter, and 5 essential risk metrics for every organization.

Risk metrics 101

Determining the metrics for risk management can be confusing, simply based on the vast types of risk that exist today. Not only do risks differ per industry and business stage, but there are multiple categories of potential threats, such as:

  • Operational risks

  • Financial risks

  • Market risk

  • Strategic risk

  • Human risk

  • Climate risk

While it’s common to discuss identifying risks and potential mitigation strategies, it’s just as important to measure your progress to determine your risk factor.

Text saying “data” with an asterisk — clean data is essential for accurate risk management metrics.

What to know about risk metrics in risk management

Risk metrics, often referred to as key risk indicators (KRIs) and are sometimes in and of themselves key performance indicators (KPIs), are used to measure and report the effectiveness of risk strategies to various stakeholders. In addition to company management and regulators, organizations must also highlight their commitment to risk mitigation to customers and investors. Local communities where products are sourced or manufactured, as well as employees, also desire transparency when it comes to risk management.

There are an extensive amount of software options and potential metrics to use when measuring risk in your startup or company. Many are subdivided into different departments or risk types. However, some metrics affect the entire organization.

5 types of essential metrics in risk management

There are several different metrics for each type of risk category. However, some of the metrics below should be a part of every risk monitoring strategy. These include not only general metrics that can be applied to any department but also a few that relate to sustainability and DEI efforts.

1. Number of identified risks

The initial metric, regardless of the type of risk, is to count how many threats you have identified. This number is used in other key calculations to observe progress.

2. Number of risks that occurred

Once you have the number of identified risks, you can compare them to the number that has occurred. Understanding which threats materialized enables your team to optimize their risk management strategy and better allot resources towards risk mitigation.

3. Percentage of risks mitigated

Next, you’ll want to consider how effective your mitigation strategies were by comparing the risks that occurred to the ones that were minimized or prevented. However, to accurately measure this influence, you will need to monitor your identified risks. You will also want to consider risks that occur that were not originally identified and include that in your calculation.

4. GHG emissions

Every action as an individual or business contributes to a carbon footprint. Therefore, tracking the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across operations enables you to monitor and mitigate a number of risks.

High GHG emissions can affect your business’s reputation, financial, operational, and human-related risks. In addition, these emissions impact your long-term operations and climate change, which can hinder your business model.

5. Governance metrics

One feature that permeates risk is human error. While human-related risk is geared toward HR challenges, governance plays a significant part in risk mitigation. Metrics like compliance percentage or incident rates, as well as reviewing critical policies related to how the organization is run, can help offset potential liabilities.

Start off on the right foot with business risk management

Work with Bhuva Shakti, an approachable Fractional COO who helps women-led startups.

Every organization benefits from measuring the effectiveness of their risk mitigation strategies. However, for many startups and financial organizations, managing risk management compliance can easily become overwhelming.

With over 25 years of experience in financial compliance, digital transformation, and risk management, I have helped numerous businesses with their risk management strategies as a Fractional COO. In addition to my industry expertise, I include Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives in my risk management analysis for long-term, forward-looking risk mitigation.

Discover how to work with me, Bhuvs Shakti, to set the foundations for an effective risk management workflow.


This blog post can also be found on Bhuva Shakti’s LinkedIn newsletter “The BIG Bulletin.” Both the BIG Bulletin on LinkedIn and the BIG Blog are managed by Bhuva’s Impact Global. We encourage readers to visit Bhuva’s LinkedIn page for more insightful articles, posts, and resources.


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