BarnOwl Info Sharing Insight: The Greatest Risk within your Organisation – The Human Factor! with Amanda Marais & Moné Clay

April 7, 2022

BarnOwl Info Sharing session: 31 March 2022

The greatest Risk within your organisation: The Human Factor

Presented by: Amanda Marais and Moné Clay – People Advisory Manager IQ Business


Thank you very much Amanda and Moné for presenting at our info-sharing event held on 31 March 2022. Thank you too to all those who attended.

People are an organisation’s most valuable asset and strength, yet can generate significant Risk for a business if not properly looked after. It is really important for HR and risk management to work closely together to protect, equip, and motivate this critical asset.

I was asked recently what I thought was one of the most important critical success factors to running a successful business and I said “having the right people in right seats in the bus”, which was something I read many years ago in the book ‘Good to Great’ by Jim Collins. This, in my opinion, is one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received. However, finding and retaining the right people is certainly not a trivial task.

People are the heart of your organisation

Let’s remove the system and process lens and focus on the people side of your organisation – people are not robots.

The human factor is key to all interactions and relationships within our business. The awareness of the human factor tends to exist in silos within many organisations, yet if not viewed holistically across the organisation this can prove damaging. Human resources and Risk need to work closely together to reduce this risk.

Turning People Risk on its head – In a nutshell

As the quote by the Greek philosopher Heraclitus goes “The Only Constant in Life Is Change.” In my opinion, this has never been more apparent than the accelerated change we have seen brought about by Covid. Covid has forced us out of our comfort zone and been the catalyst for finding more efficient ways to work and interact with one another. So much so that many people don’t want to / can’t go back to the way they used to work and seek autonomy and the ability to work from anywhere – opening up global mobilizational.

Managing people and keeping people motivated and productive has never been more challenging:

Health and Safety
Work life balance is no longer a buzz word – it’s a necessity. Change fatigue, prioritisation and distractions often lead to errors, high employee turnover, reduced productivity and damaged reputation for both employee and employer. Mental health issues are on the rise with more people experiencing higher stress levels, anxiety, depression and addictions – these all contribute to suboptimal well-being, absenteeism and lower levels of productivity.

Accelerated digitization
Ways of working is changing at a rapid speed, digital transformation is happening everywhere, this often leaving the people strategy as an afterthought. Workforce planning, organizational change management, HR/benefit technologies and processes need to drive the organisations strategic business strategy and vision.

Talent Practices
The only way to combat the Great Resignation is to see it as an opportunity for a Great Re-alignment, creating a strong EVP (employee value proposition), providing opportunities for employees to acquire new skills and focussing on employee, retention, succession planning, elevating “key man dependency” that causes higher stress levels and disruption. Employees need higher levels and frequency of engagement and meaningful communication, creating a workplace of psychological safety and one that embraces cultural diversity. It’s a business model that promotes inclusivity, trust and autonomy. Lack of trust and a toxic working culture, creates new business challenges in areas of like innovation and productivity.

Environmental and Social
Building an organisation based on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is the way of a brighter future. The Lack of an inclusive workplace results in reputation risk for both employees, customers, stakeholders and the organisation at large, due to a higher volume of labour grievances, higher operational costs, suboptimal customer experience and social responsibility issues.

Bridging the generation gap

This new way of working combined with generation gap creates a real melting pot. People, especially the younger generation cannot be pigeon holed and are not automatically loyal and faithful to the cause of their organisation. As Cubin Dhevaraj commented in our info sharing session, “The generation mix is something that appears to be missed by most people. Bridging that gap can lead to amazing results.”

People management is more critical and more complex than ever before and requires a greater understanding and a greater degree of professionalism and leadership.

Types of Organisation:

This leads us to “workplaces of the future”, coined by World Economic Forum which categorizes “Types of Organisations”, each one of which has its strengths and weakness. As we address the reality of the Human Factor as a risk within an organisation, being categorised as One Type of organisation is no longer purposeful; we need to combine the best of each and become an “Organisation of the NOW”. An organisation that put people at the Heart is the One that will grow and thrive.

Corporate is King:
An Organisation where the focus is on Growth at a large scale and individual preferences take precedent over social responsibility:

  • Capitalism reigns supreme, bigger is better.
  • Size and influence is the way to protect their profit margins.

Innovation Rules:
An Organisation where ideas rule and innovation outpaces regulation, the risks are high:

  • Digital platforms and technology enable those with winning ideas
  • Businesses innovate to create personalisation and find new ways to serve these niches.

Companies that Care:
An Organisation who places their purpose to society at the heart of their commercial strategy. A focus on diversity, human rights and a recognition of the impact on the environment, goes beyond the financial:

  • Corporate responsibility is a business imperative.
  • Trust is the currency underpinning business and employment.

Humans come First:
An Organisation were employees and the workplace seek greater meaning and relevance in what they do:

  • Social and community first
  • Humanness is highly valued


In summary

People are an organisation’s most valuable and costly asset and strength, and can generate significant Risk for a business if not properly looked after. It is really important for HR and risk management to work closely together to protect, equip, and motivate this critical asset.
We know that People are complex and that there is not a one size fits all approach that can be taken, however we need to work toward aligning people to the organisation’s vision and goal.
Putting your people at the Heart of your Organisation is the Organisation that will grow and thrive.

Presentation and video links

Please see attached presentation here, and the info sharing recording here
To view the IQbusiness brochure please click here.

Useful and associated links

People Risk Workshop Objectives, Outcomes & Benefits
The Biggest Risks Are Sometimes the Ones We Never Talk About and

Contact us
Cheryl Keller:
Amanda Marais:
Moné Clay:

Thank you:

Once again thank you Amanda and Moné for your time and for your informative presentation and thank you to all those who attended our info sharing session. We look forward to seeing you at our next info sharing session. Please keep a look out for our upcoming events at:

Kind regards
Jonathan Crisp
Director – BarnOwl GRC and Audit software


About Amanda Marais, People Advisory Manager – IQ Business

Amanda is a multi-faceted, professional, whose focus is direct and centred with an ability to see the big picture and creative details simultaneously.

Amanda has over 30 years’ expertise in the field of Human Performance, 8 of those being with IQbusiness in the Human Performance/People Advisory line of business. Amanda has a passion for working within people focused environments, with an unrestrained drive to make a tangible difference. She believes people are the most important component of an organisation and are the key indicator for competitive advantage.

She enjoys spending her time with family and friends in the great outdoors and appreciates a good bottle of wine.

About Moné Clay, People Advisory Manager – IQ Business

Moné’s passion lies with the complexity that the human being brings to the workplace, challenging them and herself to ‘experiment’ with the changes and walking the journey WITH people.
She has been at IQbusiness for 11 years, and her current role involves consulting and facilitation within large businesses, focusing on the People and specifically Culture side of digital transformations.

Living the dream now, as she recently semi-grated to the beautiful Western Cape with her husband and two daughters, surrounded by vineyards and the ocean.

About IQbusiness

IQbusiness is the leading independent management consulting firm in South Africa, helping clients overcome their business challenges and achieve sustainable growth. Since 1998, we have enabled banks, insurance companies, retailers, and others to take their products to market faster, improve customer satisfaction, upskill teams, eliminate waste, and strengthen governance and compliance.

Drawing on our core strengths – consulting, research and contracting – we use a flexible approach to solve clients’ problems by providing innovative, fast, and cost-effective solutions, backed by teams with real expertise and proven experience. We boldly challenge the status quo, and as architects of transformation, we help businesses reimagine change as an opportunity for growth.
While we are a for-profit company, our purpose exists far beyond the bottom line. As a certified B Corporation, we are committed to using business as a force for good by helping people, organisations, and the entire African continent to grow.

Whether you’re looking to shift human behaviour, improve performance, manage disruption, increase motivation or enhance employee experience, the People Advisory team supports businesses to unlock their competitive advantage through People insights, creating happier, healthier, future-fit organisations
Proudly South African, IQbusiness is headquartered in Johannesburg, with an office in Braamfontein and Cape Town

About BarnOwl:

BarnOwl is a fully integrated governance, risk management, compliance and audit software solution used by close to 200 organisations in Africa, Australasia and the UK. BarnOwl is a locally developed software solution and is the preferred risk management solution for the South African public sector supporting the National Treasury risk framework. Please see for more information.