Five areas of focus when developing a travel risk management program
No matter the size of your company or the industry you work in, as an employer you have a legal and moral obligation (a duty of care) for the health, safety and security of every one of your employees.
As workforces are increasingly more mobile, complying with duty of care obligations has never been more complex, nor more critical, and your duty of care obligations don’t diminish when your staff are away from the office. They apply where-ever your employees might be working, be it at home or overseas. And in some cases, even holidaying.
When it comes to your organisation’s business travellers, do you have a travel risk management and compliance process in place?
In addition, your employees have a responsibility to themselves to be aware of their own safety and security at all times – do they have the tools and information to do this when they’re away from home?
And, if you’re a travel management company, as well as your obligations to your own employees, are you assisting your clients in their duty of care obligations when it comes to their business travellers?
If you answered no to the above questions, below are some areas of focus when building a travel risk management program.
- Policy, process and education
- Establish an owner (individual, committee or business unit) to create, review and update the policies, protocol and processes to be followed in the event of a disaster or emergency.
- In combination with your travel policy, document the travel risk management policy and processes. These should include guidelines on how to mitigate general and specific travel risks, and the process to follow in the event of an emergency or incident.
- Ensure travellers and travel bookers are aware of the policy and processes.
- Provide training for new employees or those new to roles that involve travel, and ensure everyone is aware of where and how to access the policy and processes, especially as they change.
- Make sure your travel management company/corporate travel agency (TMC) is aware of your policy and processes. Discuss with them how they can assist in formulating and implementing your travel risk management program.
Policies and processes are only effective if everyone is aware of them
- Risk assessment, mitigation and monitoring
- Work with your TMC to understand your travel destinations and establish country risk ratings, along with the guidelines and restrictions to apply for each rating.
- Ensure these are incorporated into your documented policy and procedures and communicated to travellers.
- Investigate technology available to provide pre-trip and on-trip destination intelligence – many TMCs partner with global destination intelligence and risk management companies to provide this information, curated to each traveller’s itinerary.
- Proactively monitor incident alerts and advise travellers accordingly on potential risks and guidelines to stay safe. Again, your TMC should be able to assist with this.
- Risk response
- Implement a traveller tracking system – you need to be able to identify where all your travellers are, always – enabling you to track their locations quickly in case of an emergency.
- There are many TMCs and technology companies that provide traveller tracking and communication systems.
- It is important to not only be able to track where the traveller is, but also to be able to communicate with them urgently in real time.
- Work with your TMC to agree the process for emergency evacuation or re-accommodation.
- Depending on your business operations, you may decide to partner with a global medical response service.
- Determine who else needs to be notified in an emergency and incorporate this into your processes.
- Develop clear emergency contact information for all employees.
- Ensure all employees have access to relevant emergency contact details such as; overseas and after-hour telephone numbers for your TMC, insurance contact details and policy numbers, global medical response contact details if applicable, and local consulate details.
- Agree emergency communication protocol with your TMC: who do they contact in your organisation in the event of an incident, who should receive traveller tracking reports, and who to contact in your organisation if they receive calls from travellers during an emergency.
- When it comes to emergency contact details, as well as your HR records, it’s imperative that your TMC maintains up-to-date and complete contact information for each traveller in their Traveller Profile.
- Likewise, key to traveller tracking is complete, live up-to-the-minute itinerary data for every traveller. A good TMC will be able to work with you to incorporate both managed and non-managed travel data.
Complete, accurate, up-to-the minute data is key for both risk mitigation and response
A travel risk management program is a critical component when it comes to meeting your duty of care obligations for employees travelling. The above guide is by no means exhaustive, and programs should be tailored to your business and legal requirements.
 Even when your business travellers are off sight-seeing or taking a side-trip, in most cases you are responsible for them from the time they leave until the time they get home.
Like a copy of my list of questions to consider when assessing your current travel risk management program? Drop me an email here.
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