When you’re managing a team that needs to travel for work purposes, there’s no such thing as being over-prepared. That’s why travel risk management is such an important element to keep in mind and to learn how to navigate in an expert manner.
What is travel risk management?
Travel risk management is the process many companies utilise to protect their travelling employees from any risks that might occur. From analysing any potential dangers to knowing how to act in case they happen, travel management isn’t just about prevention, but also about monitoring and giving the appropriate response.
Companies with teams that partake in business travel should have a travel risk policy in place created by HR and legal specialists. This policy should already be created even before the first instance of corporate travel and should continually be updated based on the learnings from each previous corporate travel experience.
But, what is the best way of managing travel risk and which elements should you take into consideration for travel risk planning?
7 key points in managing travel risk
Business travel safety can be a very extensive process. But, if you follow these 7 points, you’ll cover the most important aspects.
1. Assessing the risk before the business trip
Travel risk management starts long before the moment your employee leaves on their business trip. If you prepare and engage in travel risk planning, you’ll have to navigate through fewer problems later on.
When creating a travel risk assessment, be mindful of the following aspects:
Every aspect of security – would your employee be safe at that destination, considering their religion, gender identity or sexual orientation?
- Health overall situation – are there any mandatory vaccines or any epidemics they should be aware of?
- The political climate of the destination – are there any street manifestations, change of power, or political unrest?
- Safe forms of transportation – would be reaching the final destination pose any risks?
Solution: set news alerts and threat monitoring for the destination your employee will travel to and adapt for the situation accordingly.
2. Mitigating existing risk
Some destinations will present higher risks that you can’t avoid. What you can do, however, is to do your best to minimise the danger your employee might encounter.
From adding a stronger business travel insurance policy to finding alternative routes in case of cancelled flights or finding a contact that can accompany your employee to key meetings – you should always prioritise their wellbeing.
Solution: consider the needs of your employee, based on what imminent dangers they might encounter and think of outside-of-the-box solutions to meet them.
3. Communicating with your employees
Proper communication is key when it comes to travel risk management. You not only need to communicate your existing policy to your employees before they travel, but you need to be present or available during their business trip, so you’re able to respond to their needs in a timely manner. Anything from a dedicated contact person to a business travel safety advisor, who can operate a hotline or a chat would work in providing speedy and relevant solutions.
Solution: create a dedicated email address or hotline for any travel risks employees might encounter.
4. Stay up-to-date with the latest regulations and laws
Laws and regulations, like everything else, tend to evolve over time. Because of this, any policy you might have created might become obsolete if you don’t keep them constantly updated.
The legal team of your company should keep your travel risk policy up to date, as well as make sure that your business travel is up to code. Your employees should also be informed of the proper business travel safety regulations.
Solution: encourage your travel risk planning team to collaborate with legal companies and attend conferences discussing latest trends so as to stay in the know.
5. Be mindful of duty of care
Duty of care is the legal responsibility of taking care of employees and not exposing them to harm. This means that you shouldn’t expose your team to any situations that might be dangerous or result in their harm, even if you’ve taken all the necessary precautions.
Solution: don’t overstep your employees’ comfort and send them in a dangerous situation. Find solutions or alternatives for that business trip, like finding another, safer location or trying to do everything remotely.
6. Personalise and adapt from case to case
Travel risk management should cover a multitude of scenarios and instances, but you can’t guarantee to be prepared for everything.
That’s why you need to be able to adapt and overcome any situation you may face. It’s important to maintain flexibility and be ready to adapt your travel risk management from situation to situation.
Solution: ask returning employees how their trip went and analyse their experiences, either via surveys or one-to-one meetings. That way, you can create a bigger library of incidents and experiences that can help you move forward.
7. Training your employees on the best practices
Travel risk management is usually a term HR and legal departments face, but not necessarily the rest of your employees. It’s important to educate your team in understanding their rights, as well as their responsibilities.
Solution: given that you know your employees best, adapt the communication style to the most effective one – a meeting, an email, a presentation – and let them know that your company will always have their backs if anything happens during a business trip.
A successful and safe business trip is also dependent on how well-organised it is. On a jam-packed business trip, every moment counts. Making sure you have a seamless connection between your flight, accommodation, and office means you can have an easier time preparing and your employee will have a smoother travel experience.
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