Duty of Care

10 Tips for Creating a Duty of Care Program That Supports All Employees

SAP Concur Team |

Caring for your organization’s most valuable asset – your employees – is not just a “nice-to-have,” but a moral and legal obligation. During times of local and global emergencies, locating and assisting employees can be challenging, whether they’re in-office, work-from-home, or traveling. Organizations need to actively monitor where employees are located around the world at all times, identify those affected at the time of the emergency, and provide assistance in a timely manner.

Here are the top 10 tips for creating a duty of care program that supports your employees anytime and anywhere:

1. Identify a Crisis Management Team

If an established crisis management team exists at your company, become an active member. If not, reach out to your various counterparts, in particular your security department, to agree on the proper departmental protocol in the event of a disaster or emergency impacting the company.

2. Align with Your Travel Management Company (TMC)

Connect with your TMC regarding their emergency programs and alerts as the first line of communication. Establish 24/7 support services for your global travelers, ensuring no matter where they are, that someone is available to assist or can provide reporting and information about your travelers.

See more: Read How to Transform Your Travel Program for the Evolution of Business Travel

3. Outline an Emergency Contact Procedure

Develop clear emergency contact information for employees to use in case of a disaster, incident, or health exposure and implement a support solution. Here are some questions you should ask your TMC to get clear on their procedure:

  • Does your TMC know who to call within the organization if they receive a call from an employee in an emergency?
  • What is their established protocol and how does this align with your travel risk management (TRM) program?

Require the employee to input their mobile number into their traveler profile as well as an emergency contact. Make sure to establish a “one call does all” via your after-hours numbers with service providers.

4. Develop a Safety Policy

Establish a clear policy that provides guidance for employees around safety and security and emphasize how the employee has a responsibility to be aware at all times, no matter where they are. And don’t forget to extend your safety policy to include rideshare.

5. Determine Risk Level by Country

Know your global travel destinations and establish a ‘Country Risk’ rating – Low, Medium,
High. Develop a collaborative approach internally to impose travel restrictions – country or region-specific restrictions – with your security department and senior leadership. Allow travel to high-risk countries only when deemed business critical.

Stat callout: 38% of business travelers say during the trip is now the most stressful stage of travel, including ensuring their personal safety and health.

-Wakefield, Global Business Travelers Report, 2022

6. Establish an Employee Tracking System

Implement an employee tracking system with your TMC and/or a third-party duty of care service provider so you know where your people are at all times, no matter if they’re traveling, working from home, or in the office.  Keep in mind that some travelers may be more at risk than others, including younger travelers, women, and members of the LGBTQ+ community.

See More: Listen to Duty of Care: Protecting Your Travelers Protects Your Bottom Line podcast

7. Institute a Two-Way Mobile Communication System

Ensure your organization has a two-way mobile communication process in place via text message or email, where your security and risk team can communicate emergency situations as well as next steps, and employees can check in or request help.

See More: Read Navigating Business Travel in a Post-Pandemic World

8. Consider a Global Medical Support Service

Investigate if aligning with a global medical support service provider is necessary, especially
if your travel program is servicing a multi-national company. Service firms, like HX Global, typically provide medical support for your employees when traveling outside their host country, as well as evacuations services, security assistance, risk ratings, and more. Consider outsourcing all your duty of care responsibilities to a service provider that can monitor, locate,

communicate, and assist your employees on your behalf. Outsourcing these activities to an expert is especially important for organizations that don’t have the time or resources to effectively fulfill their duty of care requirements.

See More: Find a complete list of our duty of care App Center partners here.

9. Create a Culture of Care

Educate and train your travelers as much as possible about their safety and security. Share company expectations and helpful tips and tricks about safe travel and tailor sessions for traveler genders. Use apps that provide up to date information on country customs, proper protocol on ways to conduct business, etc. Security briefings/mobile numbers should be required for high-risk countries.

Stat callout: 62% of travel managers plan to improve their tracking process to ensure employee safety.

-Wakefield, Global Travel Managers Report, 2022

10. Communicate Clear and Concise Messaging

Develop clear, concise messaging for employees during a disaster or emergency. Tailor your messaging to inform but not to alarm or cause panic. Create communication templates to drive a consistent look and feel – for a standard communication expectation from your travelers.

With these 10 tips, your organization will be able to develop a duty of care policy that can proactively manage emergencies when they occur, and ensure your employees are aware of the processes in place to protect them – both at home and abroad.

Want to dive deeper into your duty of care policy? 

Download this checklist to learn about common gaps in duty of care for different types of employees and actions organizations can take to better support them.

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