Duty of Care

5 Tips to Help Travel and HR Managers Deliver Duty of Care

SAP Concur Team |

When 6 out of 7 risk professionals find the world a more dangerous place than a year ago, it reinforces why ensuring the health and safety of employees is a top concern for travel and HR managers and their companies. Travelers agree, with 52% concerned about security threats in the next year.2

With the increase in hybrid work, duty of care has become a greater responsibility for companies of all sizes, even ones that travel less. But while managing risk and duty of care is both the right thing and good business, research points to challenges in doing it right:

  • 98% of travel managers need timelier information to perform their daily duties.2
  • 46% of travelers book directly with airlines or other providers, increasing the visibility challenge for travel programs.2
A Guide to Managing Today’s Duty of Care

Read our guide, The Single Most Important Part of Your Job, to explore 5 tips to help your business consider and address health and safety concerns.

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SAP Concur, for 25 years a leader in travel management, and International SOS, a pioneer in global health management and traveler safety, have come together to provide a guide, The Single Most Important Part of Your Job, to help managers perform this complex and critical responsibility. It looks closely at five focuses to help a company move from concern to practice, navigate today’s challenges, and be ready for the change ahead.

Start Smart

You need timely, reliable information to provide travelers and other employees trusted guidance, properly assess safety risks, and support your team when needed.

To build a framework of reliable information, consider:

  • Integrating data of sources including health advisories, weather, security updates, and transportation disruptions. Capture data from multiple booking sources to increase visibility.
  • Building a risk scoring system to evaluate destinations and guide employees.
  • Exploring risk scenarios to measure the impact of incidents on your employees and operations.

Continuously Adjust to Constant Geopolitical Crises

Global instability and rising political polarization heighten the risks of terrorism, protests, and other violence. This means leaders must follow changing rules, and that some travelers – women and LBGTQ team members, for example – have particular concerns.

To address ongoing shifts, conduct regular reviews to identify risks that could hinder travel, operations, and your employees. In addition, weigh cultural and political environments of travel destinations and assess whether your travel policies and processes can flex with disruptions. Of course, ensure that you have system in place to communicate with your employees about risks and resources to help when situations go sideways.

Ready Yourself for the Rise in Risks to Physical Health

While natural disasters and geopolitical disruptions certainly can affect the health and safety of your employees, health incidents are seven times more likely to occur than security incidents.3

Outbreaks like COVID-19 are becoming more common and so, too, are mosquito-borne illnesses thriving among the heat of climate change. Businesses should prioritize education about risks, prevention, and resources that ease access to medical attention while on trips. Emphasize the importance of reporting health incidents and preparing for pandemics and other health crises.

Make a Commitment to Mental Health

The disruption and uncertainty of the pandemic affected the mental health of many, and it’s an issue that should remain top of mind for managers and their companies. Factors such as cost of living, security threats, and natural disasters continue to weigh heavy – both on travelers and employees working remotely in isolation.

To address the issue, companies can promote awareness and openness about mental health, make mental health considerations a factor in travel polices, provide such resources as counseling, hotlines, and coping tools for travelers.

Prioritize Employee Health and Safety for Those Working from Home

The business world is, in many corners, still trying to determine and adjust its stance on hybrid and remote work. That said, policies and workplaces are unlikely to revert to their pre-pandemic ways. Businesses should formulate guidelines on home office safety, establish protocols for tech safety, and provide opportunities for team members to interact and engage, from regular check-ins with managers to virtual social events.

Resources to Manage Your Duty of Care Duties

  • Read The Single Most Important Part of Your Job for a detailed look at helping ensure the health and safety of employees.
  • Visit the Duty of Care section of the SAP Concur website to take an assessment of your organization’s travel risk and find other timely information.
  • Check out the International SOS app in the App Center and discover how they can play a role in duty of care.
1., 3. Risk Outlook 2023, International SOS
2. SAP Concur Global Business Travelers Report, 2023
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