When managing a team that needs to travel for work, there’s no such thing as being over-prepared. That’s why travel risk management is so important to remember and learn how to navigate.
What is travel risk management?
Travel risk management is the process many companies utilize to protect their employees from any risks that might occur while traveling. From analyzing potential dangers to knowing how to act if they happen, travel management isn’t just about prevention but also monitoring and responding appropriately.
Companies with teams that travel for business should have a travel risk policy in place created by HR and legal specialists. This policy should be created before the first instance of corporate travel and should continually be updated based on the learnings from each previous corporate travel experience.
But what’s the best way to manage travel risk, and which elements should you consider for travel risk planning?
7 key points in managing travel risk
Business travel safety can be an extensive process. If you follow these 7 points, you’ll cover the most important aspects.
1. Assessing risk before business trips
Travel risk management starts long before your employees leave for their business trips. If you prepare and engage in travel risk planning, you’ll have to navigate fewer problems later on.
When conducting a travel risk assessment, keep the following aspects in mind:
Every aspect of security – Would your employee be safe at that destination considering their religion, gender, or sexual orientation?
- Overall health situation – Are there any mandatory vaccines or epidemics they should be aware of?
- The destination’s political climate – Are there any street demonstrations, changes of power, or political unrest?
- Safe forms of transportation – Would reaching the final destination pose any risks?
Solution: Set news alerts and threat monitoring for the destination your employee will travel to, and adapt accordingly.
2. Mitigating existing risk
Some destinations present higher risks you can’t avoid. However, you can do your best to minimize the danger your employee might encounter.
From adding a stronger business travel insurance policy or finding alternative routes in case of canceled flights to finding a contact to accompany your employee to key meetings, you should always prioritize their well-being.
Solution: Consider the needs of your employee based on what imminent dangers they might encounter, and think of outside-the-box solutions to meet them.
3. Communicating with your employees
Proper communication is key when it comes to travel risk management. Not only do you need to communicate your existing policy to employees before they travel, but you also need to be present or available during their trip so you can respond to their needs in a timely manner. Providing a dedicated contact person or a business travel safety advisor who can operate a hotline or chat would help provide quick 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. As a result, any previously created policy might become obsolete if you don’t keep it updated.
Your company’s legal team should keep your travel risk policy up to date and make sure your business travel is up to code. Your employees should also be informed of the proper business travel safety regulations.
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 you shouldn’t expose your team to situations that might be dangerous or result in harm, even if you’ve taken all the necessary precautions.
Solution: Don’t ignore employees’ comfort and put them in dangerous situations. Find solutions or alternatives for that business trip, like finding a safer location or doing things remotely.
6. Personalize and adapt from case to case
Travel risk management should cover various scenarios, but you can’t guarantee you’ll be prepared for everything.
That’s why you need to be able to adapt to 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 trips went and analyze their experiences, either via surveys or one-on-one meetings. That way you can create a bigger library of incidents and experiences to help you move forward.
7. Training employees on 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 on their rights and responsibilities.
Solution: Given that you know your employees best, adapt to the most effective communication style—a meeting, email, or presentation—and let them know the company will always have them covered if anything happens during a business trip.
A successful and safe business trip depends on how well it’s organized. On a jam-packed business trip, every minute counts. Ensuring seamless connections between your flight, accommodations, and office means you can have an easier time preparing and your employee will have a smoother travel experience.
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