Stamford, Connecticut (October 13, 2020) — With the U.S. presidential election less than a month away, organizations are facing increasing levels of disruption from it, according to Gartner, Inc. To address these disruptions, Gartner analysts have identified five categories of non-typical risks for assurance leaders to monitor as the election unfolds.
“Our research has shown that it is becoming harder for organizations to keep politics out of the workplace,” says Steve Shapiro, principal in Gartner’s risk management practice. “The amount of political arguments, co-worker avoidance and time spent checking on the election have all risen significantly since 2019.”
Gartner advises Assurance leaders to consider the following five categories of U.S. election risk:
1. Politics Undermining Work
“Most organizations should address politically-driven employee actions directly,” said Mr. Shapiro. “Assurance leaders should partner with HR to establish or revise political expression policies.”
Common forms of prohibited political expression include:
- Campaigning during work hours.
- Using company-owned social media accounts or channels to share political views.
- Wearing political dress such as logos buttons or T-shirts.
- Affiliating oneself with the organization while engaging in political activities.
2. Fast-Changing Regulatory Risk
The connection between campaign promises and enacted legislation is tenuous. Therefore, making predictions based on either candidate’s stated policy platform has its limits in preparing for the post-election regulatory landscape.
“What Assurance leaders can do is keep leaders informed on how the landscape is evolving and the likely risks for the organizations,” said Mr. Shapiro. “Create a dashboard that highlights the implications of new legislation on organizational operations and any control deficiencies or gaps that could jeopardize operational continuity.”
3. Planning During Uncertain Economic Risks
The U.S. approach to trade, with China in particular, remains a big issue in this election. It is reasonable to assume that different candidates will pursue different paths should they be elected.
“This has the potential to upend established supply chains and markets, so Assurance leads need to be prepared for that,” said Mr. Shapiro. “Moreover, elections tend to increase market volatility at the best of times. Stress test business plans under such conditions and be prepared for heightened investor scrutiny.”
4. Updating Geopolitics Risk Management Tactics
Heightened political uncertainty in the U.S. is likely to cascade to other parts of the globe. Most organizations need to modernize their risk management approach in light of an increasingly interconnected geopolitical landscape.
“Think about things such as moving from a country-based political risk insurance covering physical assets to a global insurance that also secures revenue streams and supply chains,” said Mr. Shapiro. “Or think about turning a siloed, country-based approach to political risk into a more holistic and cross-functional enterprise-wide approach better suited to recognize and mitigate multifaceted threats.”
5. Responding to Social Issues
Assurance leaders should assess the criteria their organization uses to respond to social issues. “Attitudes have shifted, and a majority of Americans now expect companies to speak out on social issues,” said Mr. Shapiro. “But figuring out the right response is fraught with the potential for missteps.”
Gartner advises Assurance leaders to assess the pros and cons of their organization’s criteria for making these decisions. For example, strict rules about engaging with social issues can limit undesirable commentary on social issues but can be rigid and out of step with the social context or organizational strategy.
On the other hand, principle-based decision criteria for responding to social issues, such as a series of questions or value statements, might be more adaptable but can also be overly broad and prone to inconsistent interpretation.
More detailed analysis is available to Gartner Risk Management Leadership Council in the full report U.S. Election Prep: Assess Risks Across 5 Categories.
Nonclients can complete free registration to read more in U.S. Presidential Election: Five Risks to Assess.
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