In a time of increasingly unpredictable and widespread risk, it’s concerning to learn that despite 80% of travellers experiencing threats to personal safety, less than half of organisations provide personal security training.
Protecting your most valuable asset
Duty of care for business travellers matters because employees are your most valuable asset. It’s a form of corporate social responsibility, and the level to which organisations take duty of care seriously has a direct impact on employee welfare and their quality of life.
It has an indirect impact on the business, too; a poor adoption of duty of care may result in employees encountering risk that dents the company reputation and damages staff retention. The ability to implement an effective duty of care programme starts with the employees. They need to understand:
- its benefits;
- the advantages of being taken care of;
- the importance of being loyal to the organisation.
To achieve this, your business needs to develop a broad risk management framework that provides effective duty of care. Here’s how it can do just that:
1. Assess the risk – constantly
Risk is dynamic and unpredictable, but if you create a company culture that thinks risk-first, employees will benefit from duty of care that takes into account emerging risks and geopolitical uncertainty.
2. Build a culture of awareness
Your business needs to create an open forum for sharing information relating to risk and empower staff to work with peer organisations, local partners and embassies to make the best decisions.
3. Inform and warn
Dynamic training should be provided on risk that relates to specific roles and staff demographics. Communicate, train and educate your risk management strategy before travel.
4. Create ‘living’ risk plans
Documentation that is built around identified risks shouldn’t be filed away – it needs to live and breathe as the environment and associated risks evolve. Communicate and enforce your plans and policies regularly.
5. Benchmark your risk management
You won’t get your travel policies right first time, and certain risk management strategies might be suffocating. Evaluate the reasonableness of your risk management with peer groups and staff feedback.
6. Strengthen your insurance programme
As previously noted, travel insurance isn’t a substitute for duty of care – it needs to support it, and can do so providing it offers the following:
- translation assistance;
- easy access to safety resources and tips (e.g. common illnesses);
- assistance for locating overseas medical facilities;
- evacuation coordination;
- kidnapping and extortion assistance.
Providing effective duty of care to your team requires planning, dynamic procedures and a culture that embraces risk management. There are no silver bullets that eradicate risk, but with the right mindset and systems in place, your business will lay the foundation to keep employees as safe as possible.