COMPANIES HAVE AN OBLIGATION TO ASSURE THAT EMPLOYEES ARE PROTECTED WHEN AWAY FROM HOME ON BUSINESS.
This obligation exists whether travel takes employees to the next city or remote and dangerous corners of the world. In the aftermath of Great Recession many businesses are focused on obtaining the greatest return on investment from travel while exploring alternatives to travel such as videoconferencing. Nonetheless travel is essential for many enterprises and travel budgets again are growing.
Accidents and illnesses can happen anywhere and may be more likely to happen while travelling. In some cases a traveler may be exposed to dangerously inadequate medical care with no resources at hand to locate and arrange transportation to a better facility. Medical emergencies may top the list of travel concerns, but business travelers are also exposed to a wide array of risks, especially while in foreign lands. Political upheaval or a natural catastrophe can strand a traveler in a chaotic and dangerous situation.
Any organization that requires employees to travel, needs a comprehensive framework for managing the risks of travel. Not only is this a moral responsibility, it is a legal obligation. According to legal experts, the employment relationship generally includes an obligation for the health, safety and security of their employees, including those who are abroad as business travelers or as short-or long- term assignees.
Corporate travel policies typically cover matters such as airline and lodging requirements, reservations and approval processes. Travel policies should incorporate safety and security standards especially when travel requirements take employees to less safe parts of the world.
A thorough corporate travel policy should include but not limited to:
- Risk- related restrictions & requirements
- Changing threats updates & briefings
- Transportation policies & preferred vendors
- List of safest airlines
- Awareness training for hotel security & safety procedures
- Vehicle safety & safety of rental cars
- How to mitigate health hazards
- Avoidance of street crime
- Avoidance of kidnapping- Hostage survival tips
- Travel Assistance Programs (emergency evacuations, legal services, lost baggage assistance, interpretation help, cultural awareness briefings, insurance advisors)
Most successful ways to minimize Business Travel Risk:
- Make sufficient Risk Assessments for employees who travel on business
- Educate your employees about their destination
- Take appropriate health precautions
- Raise awareness about internet security and identity theft
- Develop an evacuation policy for dealing with emergencies
- Consider the safety of all transport services that employees will use while overseas
Risks for the employer:
If a traveler come to harm, their employers face severe consequences both legally and financially as well as to their reputation. An employer might be exposed to the following risks:
- Risk to reputation due to failure in duty of care of employees
- Misuse of travel budget due to emergencies
- Unethical conduct by employees in the effort to deal with contingencies
- Risk to trade secrets and data carried by business travelers
- Risk to personnel (health, security, fatigue through over travel)
- Risk to productivity –trip effectiveness
Have a solid Corporate Travel Policy in place and ask for expert’s advice to take it to the next level. Make sure this policy is periodically updated and clearly communicated to your personnel before travelling.
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