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The five pillars of people risk

New research shows the greatest likelihood and impact of 25 workforce-related threats facing employers worldwide according to human resource (HR) professionals and risk managers.

The 25-people risk framework

People-related exposures, such as health and safety, governance and digitization have been rapidly rising up risk registers and are gaining increased board attention. In part, this trend has been accelerated as the pandemic clearly showed that threats to the health and well-being of the workforce threaten the overall resilience and success of a business. 

Chart description: 25 People Risks framework on risks HR, risk managers, and business leaders must tackle together under the following five risk categories: health and safety, talent practices, accelerated digitization, environmental and social, and governance and financial.

Download the 2021 report

Full report

Get an in-depth look at the risks HR, risk managers, and business leaders must tackle together.


A bite-sized overview of the key findings from our research.

Building business resilience by mitigating people-related risks

By hearing first hand from 637 HR and 744 risk professionals across the globe, we learned which people risks will have the most severe impacts, and the barriers preventing firms from mitigating them.

Top threats facing organizations


Cybersecurity, talent attraction, retention and engagement, data privacy and workforce exhaustion are the top people-related risks facing workforces today, according to HR and risk managers.


Building a risk analysis framework


The 25-people risk framework can help HR and risk management teams articulate in board-level conversations the consequences of not acting now to manage these exposures.


ERM meets benefits and reward strategies


The pandemic has put workers’ physical, mental, social and financial health in the spotlight, highlighting exposures which can be managed using a risk management framework approach.


Understanding the barriers


HR and risk managers alike said the biggest difficulty in managing people-related risks was that their organization lacked skilled resources to understand and address them.


A shared responsibility


We asked HR and risk managers who had ultimate responsibility for 25 people-related exposures. Responses were mixed, but risk management, HR and senior leadership were consistently among them.


A new approach


Solutions and practical tips towards mitigating people risk and becoming more resilient.