“We are responsible risk takers”: Risk management and its impact on success

19 Aug 2019

by Melanie Bochmann

As a fast growing and high performing company, we at Delivery Hero know: with growth comes opportunity, but also risk. It’s a matter of finding the right business strategy for seizing opportunities and handling risks at the same time, because they both have an equal impact on the company’s future. This means that identifying risks and assessing their potential effect on business objectives is crucial for success – and this is where enterprise risk management comes into play.

Selcan Ünal is Risk Manager at Delivery Hero and in charge of the global enterprise risk management, which is one of the key streams in the governance, risk and compliance (GRC) division led by Babak Mohtachemi (Senior Director GRC & Project Management Office). As a Risk Manager, Selcan’s responsibility is to identify risks at an early stage and create action plans for the company to respond timely and appropriately.

Selcan joined in October 2018. After having worked at consulting firms and large corporates for several years, Selcan was attracted by the fast company growth as well as the innovative approach to risk at Delivery Hero: “We at Delivery Hero are responsible risk takers. We take risks so we can exploit opportunities and grow. My job is to identify these risks, and to consult management on how to best deal with them and mitigate their impact to an acceptable level – it’s all about finding that balance.”

What’s a risk, actually?

We’re all familiar with risks (and seeking or avoiding them, depending on our personality) on a private level – but defining a risk in a corporate context is something very different: “A risk is something that can have a significant impact on our finances, operations, strategy, on us being compliant or on our reputation,” explains Selcan.

Risk management team

Delivery Hero’s Risk Management team

That means a risk could be anything from: ‘Which effects arise for our company due to political changes?’ and ‘While our company is growing rapidly, can we still meet our high expectations in terms of quality and customer satisfaction?’ to: ‘Are our IT systems secure?’. By involving stakeholders from across the company and analysing data, Selcan and her team evaluate all risks and rate their potential impact.

This is where a top-down meets a bottom-up approach: “For me as a Risk Manager it’s important to have a deep understanding of how the business works and what internal or external factors may affect its performance. I’m covering a huge variety of topics in an international context, and collaboration is absolutely necessary to really identify all the risks. That’s why I work with many different business units across the globe and I’m creating a culture where every employee can approach me with thoughts and concerns.”

How to deal with risks: accept, mitigate, transfer or avoid?

After having identified a risk, it is then rated as low, medium or high depending on how likely it is that this risk really occurs and will impact the business. As a result, all stakeholders align on how to respond to that risk: Should it be accepted, mitigated, transferred, or avoided?

“As part of our process, we define risk ownership and create an action plan together with all stakeholders including due dates. Afterwards, we constantly touch base with the risk owners and support them in mitigating or transferring risks.”

Why is risk management crucial for a company’s success?

Despite Delivery Hero being obliged to conduct risk management as a publicly listed company, there are multiple reasons why enterprise risk management is an integral part of our business.

Selcan Ünal, Risk Manager“With risk management we can identify risks at an early stage, which enables us to be a step ahead of our competitors and to achieve our objectives by being prepared for risky or unexpected events,” says Selcan, “It also helps to connect employees across the globe who are working on similar topics or dealing with the same risks. This connection might enable them to solve their issues faster and in a collaborative way. Eventually, risk management makes our business more efficient by providing the rationale for allocating resources.”

Moreover, a proactive approach to managing risks will also have a positive impact on the financial side of the business – both by providing a basis for decision making on how to spend financial resources, and by avoiding costs that would hit the company if the risk was not identified early enough.

Are Risk Managers naturally seeking or avoiding risks?

What is exciting about being a Risk Manager? “Everything!”, says Selcan. “Risk management allows me to understand and be part of the big picture of my company. I’m working directly with C-level, management and all departments, and really connect the dots between different stakeholders. Plus, I’m doing that for all our brands around the world and travel a lot. It’s just really exciting!”

You might wonder if dealing with risks on a daily basis also affects one’s personal approach to taking or avoiding risks. Selcan found out that working at a place where her personal attitude matches the corporate culture is truly rewarding and motivating: “I think I have the same approach in my private life like we have at Delivery Hero: In order to grow and develop yourself, you need to take risks. The key is to find the right balance and define your own strategy of how to deal with risks, their impact and mitigate it to an acceptable level.”

Want to join Selcan’s team? Find open positions here.