7 Steps to Measure ERM Performance

The distinction between enterprise risk management (ERM) and traditional risk management is more than semantics. The simplest way to explain their core differences is that traditional risk management operates within confined departmental boundaries. Conversely, ERM transcends these limitations, adopting a holistic approach that recognizes the interconnected nature of risks across the entire organizational landscape.

7 Steps to Measure ERM Performance

Traditional Risk Management: A Localized Lens

Traditional risk management tends to operate in silos, addressing risks within individual departments without considering their potential ripple effects across the organization. For instance, a department might meticulously manage operational risks without a comprehensive view of the strategic risks that could impact the business.

Shortcomings in Traditional Risk Management:


Example: A manufacturing company focuses on department-specific risks, such as production delays, without assessing how these issues might affect overall supply chain efficiency or customer satisfaction.

Strategic Blind Spots

Example: An organization adept at managing day-to-day operational risks may overlook broader strategic risks, like shifts in market dynamics or emerging technologies, potentially leaving it vulnerable to unforeseen disruptions.

Resource Allocation Inefficiencies

Example: Each department independently allocates resources to mitigate its perceived risks, leading to inefficiencies. For instance, the finance department might invest heavily in fraud prevention, while marketing faces unaddressed risks related to evolving consumer trends.

Communication Gaps

Example: An IT department identifies a cybersecurity threat, but the lack of streamlined communication channels results in this critical information not reaching the executive board. Decisions are then made without a comprehensive understanding of potential enterprise-wide risks.

The Enterprise Risk Management Edge

In contrast, ERM serves as a strategic vantage point, acknowledging that risks are interlinked and necessitate a unified approach. This broader perspective empowers organizations to anticipate challenges and strategically capitalize on opportunities.

Practical Application of ERM

Strategic Agility

Example: An ERM framework allows a technology company to address IT-specific risks and assess broader strategic risks, such as shifts in market demand. This flexibility enables a proactive response to industry shifts and efficient risk management.

Resource Optimization

Example: ERM identifies cross-departmental risks and allocates resources based on the collective impact on organizational objectives. For instance, if a manufacturing risk could disrupt the supply chain, ERM ensures both production and logistics are adequately supported.

Transparent Communication

Example: In an ERM-driven culture, information about risks seamlessly flows from departments to the board. This transparency facilitates informed decision-making at the highest level, ensuring cohesive organizational movement.

Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) programs play a pivotal role in safeguarding organizations from potential risks while uncovering growth and value expansion opportunities. To gauge the effectiveness of ERM programs, it is essential to employ mechanisms that allow for measurement and assessment.

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Understanding ERM Indicators

Indicators are metrics that answer the fundamental question, ‘How are we doing?’ in a practical and actionable manner. They provide insights into the progress toward intended outputs and strategic objectives.

Sometimes called a “Risk Metrics Program”, an organized approach to KPIs and KRIs evaluates how well an organization manages risks. An enterprise risk management metrics program supports management decisions, prioritizes resource allocation, streamlines risk communications, and contributes to overall cost savings.

KPIs and KRIs Defined:

KPIs are indicators that evaluate how well a company performs against its business goals, directly impacting business performance. On the other hand, KRIs highlight the risk associated with specific activities or investments, serving as early warning signs of potential future risks.

The Significance of KPIs and KRIs in ERM


Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are integral to Enterprise Risk Management’s (ERM) success as they provide quantifiable metrics to assess and enhance an organization’s risk management effectiveness. Serving as a means of performance measurement, KPIs align risk management practices with strategic objectives, supporting informed decision-making. KPIs facilitate transparent communication to stakeholders, aid in resource allocation, and enable benchmarking against industry standards. Additionally, they play a vital role in demonstrating regulatory compliance, showcasing the value of the ERM program, and ensuring that performance risks are proactively managed to protect and create organizational value.


KRIs function as early warning systems. Like smoke detectors, they alert companies to potential deviations that could lead to value loss. These indicators are derived from various sources such as policies, regulations, strategies, objectives, previous losses, stakeholder requirements, and risk assessments.

Importance of Reporting:

KPIs and KRIs should always be reported, ensuring that management gains visibility and insights into the interpretation of risk-related data.

Implementing a KPI/KRI Program in ERM

Defining Strategy and Objectives:

The initial step involves clearly defining business strategy, objectives, performance targets, and tolerances. The decision-making process leading to each goal is then mapped out.

The methodological steps to identify, select, and report appropriate KPIs and KRIs involve:

  • Identification: Identifying indicators for each risk exposure.
  • Selection: Whittling down the list to significant indicators aligned with strategic objectives.
  • Tracking and Reporting: Establishing warning indicators, submitting them to the board, and determining monitoring frequencies.

Steps to Guide the ERM Measurement Process

  1. Define Business Strategy and Objectives:
  • Clearly articulate the overall business strategy and specific objectives.
  • Establish performance targets and tolerances for each objective.
  • Map the decision-making process that leads to each goal or requirement.
  1. Selection of Significant Indicators:
  • Evaluate each identified risk in terms of probability and severity.
  • Assess the impact of risks on strategic objectives.
  • Map key risks to strategic initiatives and business operations.
  • Prioritize top risks for further analysis, quantification, and risk mitigation.
  1. Development of Warning Indicators:
  • Determine warning indicators that act as early signs of potential risks.
  • Align these indicators with the company’s risk appetite statement.
  • Submit warning indicators and mitigation plans to the board for approval.
  1. Monitoring and Reporting Frequencies:
  • Decide how often each key indicator will be tracked, considering data accessibility and time sensitivity.
  • Establish reporting frequencies, from continuous monitoring to periodic reports (weekly, monthly, etc.).
  • Automate data collection processes to reduce reliance on manual intervention.
  1. Establish Feedback Loops:
  • Implement feedback loops triggered by warning indicators to initiate timely responses.
  • Ensure the organization has established tolerances for triggers based on the risk appetite statement.
  • Present warnings and mitigation plans to the board for final approval.
  1. Continuous Evaluation and Revision:
  • Regularly review and evaluate the effectiveness of selected KPIs and KRIs.
  • Consider any shifts in business strategy or processes and adjust indicators accordingly.
  • Periodically revise the KPIs and KRIs for continued relevance and usefulness.
  1. Reporting:
  • Provide expert commentary and analysis alongside the reporting of KPIs and KRIs.
  • Ensure that reports not only present data but also offer insights into the implications of the observed indicators.
  • Foster a culture of informed decision-making based on comprehensive risk-related information.

By following these steps, organizations can establish a robust KPI/KRI program within their ERM framework, ensuring effective risk management and informed decision-making.

What’s Next?

Effectively measuring ERM performance is crucial for organizations seeking to navigate risks and capitalize on opportunities. Risk measurement in risk management provides a comprehensive strategy for assessing current performance and anticipating and mitigating future risks. By following best practices and implementing a robust measurement program, companies can ensure the success of their ERM initiatives.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Key Risk Indicators (KRIs) are valuable metrics that provide a snapshot of the bottom line, indicating how well an organization performs or the level of risk it is exposed to. However, they inherently lack the explanatory depth to reveal the reasons behind the observed results.

KPIs typically quantify business performance but don’t offer insights into the specific factors or processes influencing the outcomes. For instance, a KPI might show a decline in customer satisfaction, but it won’t inherently explain the root causes behind the decrease, whether it’s related to product quality, customer service issues, or other factors.

Similarly, KRIs signal potential risks but don’t inherently elucidate the underlying causes or contributing factors. For example, a KRI might indicate an elevated cybersecurity risk, but it won’t delve into the specifics of vulnerabilities, potential attack vectors, or weaknesses in the security infrastructure.

Organizations often need to complement KPIs and KRIs with more granular metrics, qualitative data, and in-depth analysis to gain a comprehensive understanding and embrace efficient risk management. Exploratory measures, such as root cause analysis, surveys, or qualitative assessments, are crucial for uncovering the “why” behind the observed performance or risk indicators. This holistic approach allows organizations to identify problems and develop targeted strategies for improvement and risk mitigation. While KPIs and KRIs summarize the situation, a deeper understanding necessitates a more nuanced and investigative approach.

Start Getting Value With
Centraleyes for Free

See for yourself how the Centraleyes platform exceeds anything an old GRC
system does and eliminates the need for manual processes and spreadsheets
to give you immediate value and run a full risk assessment in less than 30 days

Looking to learn more about ERM Performance?
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