Is now the time to go freelance

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Is now the time to go freelanceOn 9 Apr 2002 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article At 45, I am at the crossroads of my career. I have 20 years’ HR experiencein both the public and private sector. I have been offered voluntary redundancywith a reasonable pay-off. I am not sure whether to go it alone in aconsultancy role or should I look for another job? John Baker, head of practice, Macmillan Davies Hodes l If you are thinking of going it alone there are a number of key factors toconsider. These include your ability to develop business, the strength of your contactsand whether you enjoy working alone. These three points are key, as yoursuccess depends on your ability to source, win and deliver consulting projectsin a very tough, competitive market. An alternative idea that would give you the independence and variety you areseeking is to become an interim manager, for which there is growing demand.Your experience of different sectors could provide you with the opportunity ofworking with diverse organisations and give you the flexibility to manage your ownwork life. The flipside of this lifestyle should also be considered, however –if you’re not working you’re not being paid. For people with consistentfinancial commitments this can be a major cause of stress. Cliff Dixon, consultant, Chiumento l The prospect of taking the money and embarking on a new career istempting, but are your skills and experience, your personality and temperamentsuited to consultancy work? An early investment in a psychometric test couldprove invaluable. The 16PF and Myers Briggs Type Indicator assessments wouldindicate areas to which you are best suited – and unsuited. How clear are you about what you have to offer as a freelance? Do you haveyour own product, or might you consider entering interim work? In any event,you will need to be a risk-taker and self-motivated with a business plan andmarketing strategy to drive forward. Looking for another job will need equally careful thought. Use the help andsupport available to you in the form of career consultants and recruitmentconsultants relevant to your sector, knowledge and expertise. Ensure your CV isstrong – include a personal profile that leaves the reader in do doubt as toyour status, abilities and values. Before deciding which route you go down, network with contacts who can guideand challenge you in your decision-making. Peter Sell, joint managing director, DMS Consultancy What is your motivation for asking the question? If it is because you havenot been satisfied by traditional HR roles, then you may need to analyse whatjob would give you satisfaction. While consultancy may seem an attractive proposition, you need to askyourself some searching questions. – As an experienced HR professional how can I differentiate myself from theother sole traders selling consultancy? – How good is my network of business contacts and are they in a position toeither buy my services or influence the purchasers in their organisation? – How long can I survive without any income? last_img read more

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Leading by example

first_imgLeading by exampleOn 3 Oct 2002 in Personnel Today The NHS Nursing Leadership Project is designed to liberate talent and isproving to be a shining example of e-learning in actionWe often think of a nurse taking someone’s blood pressure or dressing awound, but rarely picture them dealing with a difficult employee or assessingan individual’s emotional intelligence. Plenty of nurses, however, have tomanage and deal with staff and so need to have the same leadership skillsassociated with business. Similarly, as one of the largest employers in Europe, the NHS has an ongoingneed to support and influence the workforce so it can adapt to change, improveservice and deal with challenges of new ways of working. To address these needs, it introduced the National Nursing LeadershipProject, which is now the largest leadership programme in the world, involvingsome 35,000 nurses. At the hub of the project is a website, launched in April2001 (www.nursingleadership.co.uk),through which a mass of information and resources, along with a growingcollection of e-learning courses may be accessed. Speaking about the programmeat the site’s launch, the Secretary of State for Health Alan Milburn, said that”liberating the talents of nurses helps to expand the overall capacity ofthe NHS, increases the productivity of the NHS and improves the performance ofthe NHS”. From the outset, the Government wanted e-learning to play a vital part inthe programme. But while the directive for the training came from the top, thedemand from nurses and other clinical staff for leadership development wasequally high, as was the willingness to try the new training methods, saysDavid Dawes, e-learning development manager at the NHS. Before embarking on the project, Dawes and his team carried out a majorresearch project designed to assess readiness of clinical staff and theorganisation for e-learning. “We also wanted to ascertain how and when people preferred to access itand to identify any barriers that might exist,” he says. “Followingthis, we looked at the effectiveness of the content and compared differentapproaches to e-learning.” The research found that 70 per cent of registered nurses have internetaccess, compared with 30 per cent of adults in the general population, and thatalthough 63 per cent of NHS clinicians had access to a computer at work, 59 percent of respondents preferred to learn at home. “This told us that the e-learning had to work on a standard homemodem,” says Dawes. “In terms of barriers, the biggest problems werework-life balance, lack of funds and lack of time. The other main findingrelated to the content of the courses. NHS staff felt uncomfortable withreferences to sales, profit and other business terms – and they also wanted awide choice of modules. This told us we either needed to go the bespokee-learning route or source a provider with a broad portfolio and the ability tohelp us customise content.” Following the research, the team spent six months on the exhibition andseminar circuit talking to suppliers. Cost and time factors meant a full-blownpurpose-built e-learning solution was not an option. However, because of theirvery specific needs, they knew that a wholly off-the-shelf product would be nogood either. After meeting with e-learning provider SkillSoft, it becameapparent that it would be possible to have a bit of both. “We found that the organisations which were strong at customisingdidn’t have a big enough range of courses and those that did have a decentlibrary weren’t able to offer customisation,” says Dawes. “Conversely, SkillSoft’s library contained more than 1,700 management,business and leadership modules across 21 curricula – representing in excess of5,000 hours of learning,” he says. The part-readymade, part-bespoke approach is not a typical solution requiredby clients, says SkillSoft UK managing director Kevin Young, but one that wasunderstandable given the context of the learning. “The feedback from users was that they found the learning points validbut wanted to see them in an NHS context,” he says. “Understandably,within a public sector environment like the health service, people feltuncomfortable with reference to sales and customers. As a result, the contentwas modified so that, although there were no changes to the generic learning,the images were changed to include doctors, nurses and a hospital environment.The language was adjusted so that it was more NHS-specific.” SkillSoft licensed its Course Customisation Toolkit to the NHS team andprovided training so courses could be modified in-house. This allowed the teamto merge the generic content and the NHS dialogue and visuals at a fraction ofthe cost of developing bespoke e-learning from scratch. Dawes and his team can now customise a course in 10 days and frequently doall the narration and writing themselves and, on occasion, star in thee-learning programmes. As a result SkillSoft’s involvement is now confined to a support role.SkillSoft’s Young, says: “The job has reinforced how the economies ofscale associated with generic content can enable customers to cost-effectivelycreate an end result that matches their e-learning needs. It has alsoemphasised the importance of being open and flexible in putting together asolution that matches each client’s requirements.” The pilot A pilot project was set up with 400 places allocated on a first-come,first-served basis. The course was advertised on www.nursingleadership.co.uk (nowthe gateway for all the courses) via an electronic newsletter, and on threeinternet user groups. Research had suggested there would be a high demand for the courses, whichwas borne out within three days by which time 100 volunteers had already comeforward. After three weeks there was a waiting list (69 per cent of thoseregistering found out about the course electronically, the others by word ofmouth). The average age of volunteers was 41 years with 10 per cent over 50. A number of factors unearthed in the research were substantiated by thepilot. For instance, staff often do not complete post-course assessments eventhough they enjoy the courses and apply them in practice. This, coupled withthe average time that staff spend taking a course (25 minutes) suggesting thatpeople prefer the bite-sized chunk approach – “going in, accessing theknowledge they require, and getting out again,” says Dawes. “Any future e-learning assessment strategy needs to take into accountthe reluctance of staff to complete courses in their entirety, even though theknowledge and skills are effectively applied,” he adds. Valuable feedback Sixty-nine per cent of students who had taken the SkillSoft course gaveexamples of how they had used what they learned in practice (for example, indealing with workplace stress, managing competing demands and so on) and 85 percent said they would recommend e-learning to friends and colleagues. The topfive suggested improvements were to make the e-learning more NHS-orientated,offer easier access, hold more group meetings and offer faster and moreinformation and guidance. Dawes also reported back with a number of other findings after the pilot,which he believes have a value for all sectors: – E-learning appeals to a wide age-group and is in demand by healthprofessionals inside and outside the NHS – and the UK – There is demand for leadership development at all levels – from directorlevel to the recently qualified clinician – There is a high demand for e-learning – the motivation is primarilypersonal development and personal interest, with less than 25 per centmotivated by career development – The most essential characteristic of an e-learning programme is that it isfree to users, and, ideally, offers some sort of accreditation – Facilitated e-learning (that which has a supervising tutor and/or aclassroom component) seems to have similar starting, completion andapplication-in-practice rates “Facilitated e-learning does not appear to be significantly moreeffective that automated e-learning,” says Dawes, “although itappears to be several hundred times more expensive.” Dawes estimates that the cost of each e-learning course per learner is 52p. The NHS is now half-way through the second stage of the project, which aimsto train up to 40,000 staff over two years and Dawes has lots of interest inthe project from elsewhere in the NHS – doctors, health visitors, allied healthprofessionals and managers are all using it, although it is primarily aimed atnurses. Five courses are currently up and running on the Nursing Leadership websitesite including modules on emotional intelligence, stress management, timemanagement, project management, dealing with difficult people and dealing withconflict. By Christmas it aims to have 20 courses up and running and based onthe success of the pilot, all future NHS training programmes will have ane-learning element. The NHS project proves that having a very dedicated in-house team, who areprepared to not only research the needs of the workforce but to roll up theirsleeves and shape the learning to suit the learners, can make the differencebetween success and failure in a project. In summarySuccess for The NHS leadership project The NHS aim To provide aprogramme of leadership training for nurses.Why? To liberate the talents of nurses which in turnwill improve performance and increase productivity.Is e-learning delivering? The 400-people pilot was agreat success and provided valuable user feedback. It is too early for ROIfigures, but Dawes reports that each course costs only 52p per learner, amassive saving on previous classroom-based training.NHS top tips – Fit the learning around people’sexisting work-life balance and do not demand a large commitment– Make content available over the internet– Make it available in bite-size chunks Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

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Press release: Flood sirens in Grimsby and Cleethorpes to be tested on 24 August

first_img On the flood siren testing day, North East Lincolnshire Council staff and its partner Engie will be joining the Environment Agency in Freshney Place Shopping Centre between 9am and 5pm. Officers will be available to answer any questions on flood risk and how you can prepare. The flood sirens we own and operate in Grimsby and Cleethorpes help us warn over 25,000 households and local businesses. It’s important that we conduct these annual tests to make sure the sirens still work as they should. Although our flood defences reduce the risk of flooding to thousands of homes and businesses in Grimsby and Cleethorpes, we can never remove the risk of flooding entirely. This is why it is crucial that we can warn people when there is a risk of flooding, by using tools such as the sirens or our free Flood Warning Service. It is important that everyone plays their part to protect themselves from the risk of flooding. Find out what you can do to protect yourself and your family by coming to talk to us at Freshney Place on 24 August. The Environment Agency (EA) is conducting its annual test of its flood sirens in Grimsby and Cleethorpes on Friday, 24 August.Installed after the summer floods of 2007, 17 of the 18 sirens help the EA warn over 25,000 households and local businesses of imminent tidal flooding while one also warns of flood risk from the river.Testing will take place on Friday, 24 August between 10am and 12pm. If you hear the sirens during this time, you do not need to take any action. If flooding is expected on the day, the test will be rescheduled and flood warnings will be issued through the Environment Agency’s free Flood Warning Service (FWS).Environment Agency staff will be at Freshney Place shopping centre in Grimsby together with representatives from North East Lincolnshire Council between 9am and 5pm on the day of the tests. They’ll be on hand to answer questions about the sirens and provide information about how to manage your flood risk, including what steps you can take to prepare for an emergency.The sirens in Grimsby and Cleethorpes were installed over a decade ago, and since then the Environment Agency has made great strides in how it can warn people when flooding may be possible. The EA now offers a free Flood Warning Service, which provides targeted flood warnings via phone call, text or email. The EA encourages all residents in Grimsby and Cleethorpes to check their flood risk and sign up for flood warnings if they’ve not done so yet, by visiting www.gov.uk/sign-up-for-flood-warnings or by calling 0345 988 1188.Although the Flood Warning Service is now the EA’s primary warning tool, the flood sirens in Grimsby and Cleethorpes add value as they can help provide people with crucial time to prepare for flooding. The siren on the Willows Estate in Grimsby is used to warn residents about flooding from the New Cut Drain and the River Freshney, while the others warn of flooding from the Humber.Greg Smith, Flood Resilience team leader with the Environment Agency, said:center_img Cllr Matt Patrick, portfolio holder for the environment with North East Lincolnshire Council said:last_img read more

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Press release: Knighthood conferred and Privy Council Appointments: November 2018

first_imgKnighthoodThe Queen has been pleased to approve that the honour of Knighthood be conferred upon The Rt. Hon. John Hayes CBE MP.Privy Council AppointmentsThe Queen has been pleased to approve that Christopher Pincher MP and Mark Tami MP be sworn of Her Majesty’s most Honourable Privy Council.Notes to Editors John Hayes MP is the Conservative MP for South Holland and The Deepings and former Minister of State for Transport Christopher Pincher MP is the Conservative MP for Tamworth Mark Tami MP is the Labour MP for Alyn and Deesidelast_img

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Elton John Remotely Plays Opening Of Street Artist Banksy’s New Walled Off Hotel In Bethlehem [Watch]

first_imgThe infamous street artist, Banksy, has recently branched out into the hotel business. With the opening of the Walled Off Hotel, the anonymous artist is now the proprietor of a fully function art hotel located in Bethlehem. The Walled Off Hotel features art from the famous artist as well as from local artists and allows guests to experience Banksy’s works in a unique context. The hotel also will regularly host musicians in their colonialism-themed piano bar. To kick off this new venture, Elton John was tapped to play the hotel’s opening night, which he did remotely. In the future, 3D from Massive Attack, Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Atticus Zimmer, and Flea will be playing the hotel. You can check out a video from Elton John’s performance below, and book reservations for the Walled Off Hotel on Banksy website here.last_img read more

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Paul McCartney Adds U.S. Summer Tour Dates

first_imgSir Paul McCartney has added four U.S. tour dates to a previously announced batch of North American dates. McCartney will start 2019 out with four South American dates in March, followed by 12 U.S. performances starting on March 23rd.The newly added U.S. tour dates will see McCartney play Green Bay, WI’s Lambeau Field for the first time ever on June 8th, followed by stops at Arlington, TX’s Globe Life Park (6/14); San Diego, CA’s Petco Park (6/22); and Los Angeles, CA’s Dodger Stadium (7/13).In September, McCartney released his newest studio album, Egypt Station. Following months of promotion, the release was celebrated with a full-tilt NYC-centered promo push that included a performance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, special limited-edition MetroCards, and a “secret” intimate performance at Grand Central Terminal, which was webcast for free to thousands across the world.Tickets to the Green Bay show go on sale beginning December 10th, with tickets to the other three shows available starting December 13th here.Paul McCartney 2019 Tour Dates:*newly added dates bolded03/20 – Santiago, CL @ National Stadium03/23 – Buenos Aires, AR @ Polo Ground03/26 – Sao Paulo, BR @ Allianz Parque03/30 – Curitiba, BR @ Estadio Couto Pereira05/23 – New Orleans, LA @ Smoothie King Arena05/27 – Raleigh, NC @ PNC Arena05/30 – Greenville, SC @ Bon Secours Wellness Arena06/01 – Lexington, KY @ Rupp Arena06/03 – Fort Wayne, IN @ Allen County War Memorial Coliseum06/06 – Madison, WI @ Kohl Center06/08 – Green Bay, WI @ Lambeau Field06/11 – Moline, IL @ TaxSlayer Center06/14 – Arlington TX @ Globe Life Park06/22 – San Diego, CA @ Petco Park06/26 – Phoenix, AZ @ Talking Stick Resort Arena07/13 – Los Angeles, CA @ Dodger StadiumView All Tour Dates[H/T Consequence of Sound]last_img read more

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ND Votes examines political and theological stances on income inequality

first_imgND Votes ’16 hosted a “Pizza, Pop and Politics” discussion on Thursday evening in Geddes Hall to examine what presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has called “the great moral issue of our time … and the great economic issue of our time” — income inequality.The event featured lectures from Christina Wolbrecht, associate professor of political science and director of the Rooney Center for American Democracy, and Margaret Pfeil, associate professor of theology and co-founder of St. Peter Claver Catholic Worker House in South Bend. Pfeil also discussed the impact race has on inequality.“The typical white family earns $50,400, while the typical black family earns $32,028, and the typical latino family earns $36,840,” she said. “Disparities in homeownership fall upon racial and ethnic lines as well — 73 percent of whites own a home, compared to 37 percent of Latinos and 45 percent of blacks.”Pfeil concluded the talk by reiterating the words of Pope Francis on the subject.“When a society … is willing to leave a part of itself on the fringes, no political programs or resources spent on law enforcement or surveillance systems can indefinitely ensure tranquility … because the socioeconomic system is unjust,” Pfeil said.Tags: income inequality, inequality, NDVotes ’16, Pizza Pop and Politics Caitlyn Jordan Margaret Pfeil, who holds a joint appointment in the theology department, spoke at an event about income inequality in terms of Catholic social thought and race.Wolbrecht kicked off the discussion, describing the rise in income inequality in America.“In the post-war period, after World War II … all groups slowly made gains in income. People could expect that over time, their real income would grow,” she said. “That has changed since around 1980. What we have seen is that incomes for people in the middle … have stagnated — same with the poor. But income growth for people above the 95th percentile has increased fairly dramatically.”Wolbrecht then examined specific policies in American politics that she said have contributed to this inequality, focusing especially on issues relating to housing. The application of certain tax breaks that apply only to homeowners has proved to increase inequality, while also being politically popular, she said.“[These policies] are not only not progressive, as in they help out the poorest, but they are regressive. A lot more of the benefits accrue to the wealthy,” Wolbrecht said.Wolbrecht concluded her talk by addressing the possible effects of income inequality on the American political system.“[Income inequality] can undermine the collective, in one sense. Democratic politics is that we’re all in one boat, and that we are working towards not just making ourselves better, but our community better,” she said.Wolbrecht also discussed how inequality could impact popular participation.“The other concern is that [income inequality] breeds apathy, that politics really just serve the 1 percent,” she said.After Wolbrecht, Pfeil spoke on income inequality in terms of Catholic social teaching, and also income inequality as it relates to race.“The ethical issues raised from the perspective of Catholic social teaching are structural in nature,” she said. “These structures, objectively speaking, are morally skewed because they violate the standards of justice, specifically distributive justice, commutative justice and social justice.”Pfeil referenced St. Ambrose, who said, “You are not making a gift of what is yours to the poor person, you are giving back to him what is his.”last_img read more

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First Woman to Lead Chilean Army Demining Company

first_imgBy Guillermo Saavedra / Diálogo February 11, 2020 Perhaps Chilean Army Captain Gabriela Valdivia had an atypical military career path: she said she didn’t have any close relatives in the Armed Forces, and her first vocation was astronomy. But her interest in judo, a sport she chose during her studies at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, in Santiago, brought her each time closer to her military colleagues.“The professor invited me to train with the Army’s judo team. I began to get familiar with service members of different ranks and to train with them,” says Capt. Valdivia, 39. “I thought I could become a service member. So, without my family knowing, I submitted my application and they accepted me.”Her change of heart also had to do with the conditions in which most astronomers work: long hours confined inside an office, while Capt. Valdivia dreamed of working in the open air. She never imagined that after 15 years as an engineer in the military she would start working outdoors and become a pioneer in the Army as the first woman to lead a demining company.“Although there have been women in the company, it’s the first time a woman assumes the role of commander. I’m honored that they give me this mission,” said Capt. Valdivia, who leads the Humanitarian Demining Company 4th Motor Brigade Rancagua. Since May 2018, the officer serves as a commander in the Quebrada Escritos area of Arica city, among other areas, in northern Chile, 12 miles from the Peruvian border. Capt. Valdivia leads more than 100 service members and civilians in a demining effort that covers an area of more than 93,000 square-miles, where, according to the officer, about 4,000 anti-tank and anti-personnel mines remain.Her duties entail a great deal of responsibilities: updating and checking the minefields’ maps, as well as leading and verifying mine clearance, and making sure that members of her brigade are mentally and physically up to the task. Physical exhaustion and a lack of focus are dangers that might cause accidents, the officer says.“If one of your company members has an accident, if someone fails, it’s my responsibility. You need to know how to manage enormous pressure,” Capt. Valdivia says.“Planning and risk assessment, coupled with empathy and teamwork capabilities, are the main traits that make Capt. Valdivia one of the many leaders that we have in the Chilean Army,” Lieutenant Colonel Cristián Sarah, Chilean Army’s chief of Communications, told Diálogo.In the 1970s, the government of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990) planted about 180,000 anti-personnel and anti-tank mines in Chilean territory, along the borders with Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina. In 2002, Chile signed the Ottawa Treaty, also known as the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction.In early 2019, the Chilean government began to implement a system of reparations — financial and medical assistance and rehabilitation — for the victims of anti-personnel mines. According to the government, as of January 2020, about 150 people were severely injured, and 46 had died from explosions.As of mid-January 2020, 94 percent of the mines planted in Chilean territory have been removed, says Capt. Valdivia. The officer expects that the country will successfully honor its promise to conclude the demining process in March.last_img read more

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Long Island Snow Storm to Bring Another 5 Inches

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York A woman waits for a Long Island Rail Road train on the snow-covered Bay Shore station platform under an electronic sign explaining why the waiting rooms are open later than usual during a storm Monday, Feb. 3, 2014.Three-to-5 inches of snow is forecast for northwestern Long Island when another winter storm is expected to bring 2-4 inches of the white stuff to the rest of the area, experts say.The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for Nassau County and northwestern Suffolk while the South Shore and North Fork of the Island are under a lesser winter weather advisory from midnight to 6 p.m. Wednesday.“The way that this low is positioned is really making it difficult [to predict] how much snow we’re going to get, how much ice we’re going to get,” said Lauren Nash, a meteorologist in the agency’s Upton office. “That’s really the key to this forecast.”Either way, school, business and travel will likely be disrupted by the storm, which is expected to arrive two days after nearly 10 inches of snow blanketed LI on Monday and before a third storm might hit the tri-state area this weekend.Up to a quarter of an inch of ice is expected to coat the ground as well, although the ice amounts may accumulate higher closer to the city, Nash said.Flakes are forecast to start falling first early Wednesday morning, reducing visibility to as low as a quarter of a mile. Then the precipitation will change to sleet and freezing rain, according to the NWS. The combination is expected to make for hazardous driving conditions.Temperatures will drop down to the 20s overnight are expected to stay in the low 30s for the rest of the week.The latest snow storms come less than a week after Groundhog Day, when Malverne Mel and Holtsville Hal both predicted an early spring.last_img read more

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What is your credit union’s appetite for risk?

first_img 64SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Scott Hood Scott is a leader in helping businesses make important changes in operations, processes, products, systems and governance. He has used his extensive project management, finance and systems expertise in helping … Web: www.rochdaleparagon.com Details The Rochdale Group’s consultants work with a large number of credit unions of all sizes that are in a variety of stages in implementing Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) programs. One of the most common questions we field in helping credit unions implement ERM programs is “how do we set the risk appetite for our credit union?” Although all of these credit unions already have a wide variety of risk management practices in place, few, if any, have taken steps to objectively think about their appetite for risk and, maybe more importantly, determine if their current actions are consistent with their risk appetite. This article will present the initial steps a credit union should take to address these issues.All credit unions employ a large array of risk management practices. These include loan underwriting, collections, loss mitigation, fraud prevention, asset/liability management (ALM) modeling, information security, business continuity planning, vendor management, insurance analysis and other techniques. Within these areas, credit unions either voluntarily or due to regulation set many risk limits. These include various loan underwriting criteria on loan approvals such as credit ratings, loan-to-value ratios, debt-to-income ratios, and other factors, as well as concentration limits on broad types of loans and more specific limits based on other metrics. They use investment diversification guidelines to limit investments by type, maturity, credit ratings, optionality, and other cash-flow characteristics. Credit unions also set limits on interest rate and liquidity risk using net interest income (NII), net economic value (NEV), liquidity and other modeling, often around the allowable changes in these parameters in different interest rate scenarios. Credit unions clearly set a large number of very specific limits on their risk-taking activities.These same credit unions will go on to tell us that they are “very risk averse,” “low risk,” “conservative,” or feel as if they have some other general level of riskiness. Given this tremendous amount of information and effort, why do all of these credit unions still feel lost in determining and understanding their risk appetites? The answer is that very few of them have taken the next steps of discussing their risk appetites, documenting those revelations, and then using those principles in guiding their strategies and making decisions.A credit union should take several steps in determining its appetite for risk.Step One – Hold a Qualitative Risk Appetite DiscussionAlthough most credit unions tend to have a general perception of their overall risk profile, very few of them have taken the time to hold structured discussions on risk appetite, at the board or senior management level. Thus, the first step is to hold a qualitative risk appetite discussion. This will provide an opportunity to introduce the entire risk appetite topic, and give participants the chance to articulate the credit union’s appetite for risk. Moreover, we find that the participants enjoy this opportunity to provide their input in reaching a consensus view of the credit union’s risk appetite.A key consideration here is selecting the group for this discussion. Some credit unions hold these sessions with their boards while others prefer to hold the sessions with senior management and then present resulting recommendations to their boards for review and approval. The COSO Integrated Framework for ERM suggests formulating the credit union’s qualitative risk appetite first at the management level, with discussion and approval by the board.We suggest approaching this with a facilitated discussion on the credit union’s willingness to assume risk in a variety of situations. We develop a list of questions structured around either balanced scorecard groupings (e.g., financial, people, members, process and compliance) or risk categories (e.g., compliance, credit, interest rate, liquidity, reputation, strategic and transaction risk) to pose to the group. We generally develop three to five questions in each category. In the Members category, a representative question might be “How willing are you to create dissatisfaction by growing market share at the expense of current members?” A question in the Financial category might include “How willing are you to accept above-average charge-offs if loans are priced commensurate with their risks?” We first like to present the questions individually to management and/or the board members in anonymous surveys, and then compile the individual results. The facilitated session then reviews the results of the individual surveys, highlights areas of differing opinions, and strives to get the group to reach consensus on the risk appetite in each situation. We find a surprising level of agreement on risk appetite in most areas, but the surveys reveal striking differences in at least a handful of areas. It is the discussion of the commonalities and resolution of the differences that helps management and the board really understand and articulate the credit union’s appetite for risk.Step Two – Develop Risk Appetite StatementsSo how do you leverage these first-ever discussions on risk appetite? We suggest using the results to draft qualitative risk appetite statements that will provide guidance to management and staff. Think about the qualitative statements in much the same way as your credit union’s mission statements or core values. The qualitative risk appetite statements won’t replace other risk limits but they will articulate the credit union’s appetite toward assuming risk in a variety of situations. In most cases, these statements will be the first documentation of how the credit union wants to approach risk management in a broad sense. The statements will provide management and the board with the power to judge their actions within the broader context of a risk appetite framework. This will empower management to more freely make decisions because they now will have a roadmap of risk appetite, knowing they will have the full support of the board while operating within the risk appetite parameters.Step Three – Communicate the Qualitative Risk Appetite StatementsMuch like the credit union’s mission and strategic plan, the qualitative risk appetite statements will be most effective only if you communicate them to your people. At a minimum, present the risk appetite statements to your board and senior management. Also, think about holding an internal campaign to explain the statements and their intent. Ask your people to think about the statements as they go about their normal activities. As you re-evaluate existing products, services and processes, or develop new ones, “throw them up against the qualitative risk appetite statements to see if they stick.” We like to provide examples of current activities at the credit union that fit and do not fit with the statements. It then will be up to management and the board to make decisions as to whether the credit union should modify certain activities to better fit with the qualitative risk appetite.last_img read more

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