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The Internal Revenue Service launched a new channel for employees to confidentially raise concerns and risks to agency leadership. The agency has one of the most mature enterprise risk management (ERM) programs in government—and this is its latest move to promote a risk-aware culture. By empowering its workforce to spot and elevate issues as they arise, the IRS has prepared itself to recognize and address threats before they turn into problems for the agency.

This approach is representative of a broader trend: Many public- and private-sector organizations are making risk awareness part of their internal culture by putting risk management front and center for all employees, not just those with “risk” in their title. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, organizations learned just how important it is to be agile and quickly adapt to changing conditions. Pushing risk responsibilities out to the edges of an organization helps decision-makers quickly identify changing conditions and take corrective actions to mitigate emerging threats before they can escalate into something more harmful.

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