Your employees are in varying locations across town, the country, or even the globe. Are you supporting them all? Many organizations understand they need to support and protect their business travelers, but few realize that their duty of care obligations extend to ALL employees.
In part one of our four-part series, we discuss how even organizations with a good track record in fulfilling their duty of care obligations with some level of risk management solution in place, still have gaps in providing the right level of care to all travelers and employees.
Are you protecting ALL your employees? To find out, download our checklist
Travel by nature is risky because it can place your employees in unfamiliar or unforeseen environments. The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) outlines the risks for travelers and common gaps found in even the best-intentioned travel risk management programs.
Risks for your travelers include:
- Standing out from the local population, making them a potential target
- Driving in unfamiliar locations and conditions
- Stress and fatigue from travel delays, and being away from home
- Not speaking the language of the country
- Unfamiliarity with local health risks and medical facilities
- Having no idea who to alert in case of an emergency
To mitigate traveler risks, do you know where your gaps are? Common gaps include:
- Organization fails to inform and educate their travelers on general and specific travel risks
- Organization does not document when they have advised employees on travel safety
- Security only focuses on high-risk international travel and not domestic travel or a mobile workforce
- Safety and security is not part of travel procurement criteria
- Organization does not test its crisis management plan regularly
- Organization does not have a fully mapped out travel risk strategy
It’s not just travelers, but all employees that need to be considered for safety and security. The following outlines common duty of care gaps for diverse types of employees, and the actions organizations should be taking to better support them.
The Frequent Traveler
Whether travelers book through your booking tool, TMC, or outside of managed travel programs, your organization has the moral and legal responsibility to care for their well-being.
- Automatically prepare travelers before they go. Proactively educate your travelers with tips about safe travel, and adopt a tool that pushes out pre-trip advisories around recent incidents or events that may impact their trip.
- Pull together the right stakeholders. Establish a crisis management team to agree on the proper protocol for key departments involved in the event of an emergency. Set well-defined roles and responsibilities with internal stakeholders including travel management, security, HR, and legal.
- Capture and store accurate traveler location data. To best track travelers with quality data, adopt a system that centralizes all your employee data sources, including TMC, travel booking and request tools, and HR profiles, so you can pinpoint impacted employees.
The In-Office Employee
You may only think of travelers when it comes to duty of care, but your obligations extend to all employees, even those commuting into your offices every day.
- Create and practice a master plan. Your plan should include common and severe incidents for both in-office employees and travelers. Determine how you’ll communicate with employees during an emergency, the frequency of communications, and the triggering factors.
- Keep employee profiles up-to-date. Encourage employees to regularly review and update their profile and travel data, including their office location (including remote employees), name, office, mobile numbers, and emergency contacts.
- Ensure communication lines are open. For both employees commuting to the office and traveling across the globe, develop clear two-way emergency contact communication during high-profile incidents, as well as more common events, including medical issues, road traffic accidents, and petty crime.
The Road Warrior
What about employees working in home offices or in the field? Or those driving from client site to client site? Employees constantly out of a physical office are some of the hardest to track and support.
- Make it mobile. Implement tools that can reach employees on-the-go, such as SMS, email, and text-to-voice, so your mobile workforce can check in and request help when they need it.
- Provide around-the-clock support. Major disasters and health incidents don’t keep to office hours, and neither should your duty of care program. Establish 24/7/365 support services for your employees, ensuring assistance no matter the time of day or location.
- Adopt an assistance provider. An assistance provider will be vital should your security department or travel manager become overwhelmed during an event. Ensure employees are briefed and have access to information on seeking assistance.
It’s impossible to predict if an emergency or crisis will take place, but with the right plan and technologies in place you’ll be ready to locate and assist an impacted employee no matter the time or location.
Learn more about the potential gaps in your duty of care program by downloading our checklist so you can put a plan in place to proactively keep your people safe and connected.