Ahead of his closing keynote address at the RIsk Forum Asia Pacific, former chief risk officer, SwissGrid and co-CEO, RiskTalk, Kurt Meyer examines why you should always listen to corridor conversations.


When the messaging is different in the corridors and workshops from the top floor of an organisation, that’s when real problems occur according to former chief risk officer, SwissGrid and co-CEO, RiskTalk, Kurt Meyer.

Speaking about his time at SwissGrid and the formation of his new firm, RiskTalk, Meyer said these conversations within corridors should be taken seriously if risk managers want to manage underlying risks within their organisation.

“If you talk to people on the shop floor, they’re saying: ‘Well of course we hear the CEO’s message when he says safety is important, but on the other hand, we have deadlines and we have budgets and stuff like that. Sometimes we have to take shortcuts, and these shortcuts, they bear a higher risk on the safety end.”

That made Meyer realise something. “We need more eyes and we need more ears in the company,” he recognised. That led to a big question: “How can we make every single person in the company be a part of my risk team?”

That caused him to establish RiskTalk, a self-reporting system that encouraged employees from any level of the organisation to detail any element of their job that they thought could be redesigned to lower the systemic risk to the firm.

“It’s a channel for people to report ideas, problems, accidents, whatever,” Meyer explains.

That’s nothing new, you may say. But RiskTalk has been set up in a way to incentivise people to report risks by giving them live feedback about how that message is being dealt with.

“We need more eyes and we need more ears in the company. How can we make every single person in the company be a part of my risk team?

“One key issue is that to ensure that action happens and that things are fixed in a decent way. So what we have done, RiskTalk provides a dashboard for what we call a triage team,” he explains.

And that team is made up of senior decision makers who then come up with an action plan of how to mitigate the risk that’s been reported.

“They oversee the actions which have been taken, and report back to the person who has sent the message,” says Meyer.

But it’s not just about having a good system in place, it’s about having the right culture to encourage employees to report risks.

“Number one is that senior management clearly has to state that they want this transparency and nobody will be punished,” says Meyer. But just to be sure, RiskTalk also enables employees to report concerns anonymously.