8 easy steps to keep employees safe while traveling
Brussels, Paris, Istanbul, Orlando… a duty of care program is no longer “nice to have”, but a necessity in today’s current climate. There is no denying that business travel is essential, in fact it yields an average $9.50 in increased revenue for every dollar invested. But, many companies don’t think about improving their duty of care programs until an incident takes place, and by then it’s too late.
Companies must know where their employees are at all times when they are traveling on their behalf. If there is ever an incident where you must remove an employee from a dangerous situation and can’t contact them, you are placing your company at moral, legal and financial risk. It seems like a huge challenge, but don’t fret! Read on for 8 easy tips on improving your Duty of Care Program:
- Partner with your Travel Management Company (TMC)
Most travel management companies offer very useful tools to help companies carry out and manage their policies. This gives them the ability to flag potential issues, track travelers, and communicate with them in a timely manner. It is important to work with them in order to establish 24/7 support for your travelers, as well as reporting, information, and alerts regarding their whereabouts. They can also guide you through the process of creating a risk management policy, connect you with a trustworthy third party provider, and help you create processes to manage any situation that might arise.
- Develop a clear risk management policy to guide your employees
It is important to develop and communicate a clear policy to guide your employees to safety and security in case of any incidents. Include details such as what action steps employees should take in case of emergency, as well as resources on what to expect and how to behave in potential situations. Highlight that as a responsibility to themselves and their employers, travelers should be aware of their surroundings at all times and avoid dangerous situations.
- List and distribute emergency contact information for employees to call
In case of an incident, consider who and in what instances your employees should call for support. If you are using your TMC as a service provider, make sure to align with them so their after hours support is aware of protocol and knows what to do, who to call and how to assist in case of emergency. It’s also important to require your travelers to provide their mobile phone numbers on their Traveler Profile in case they need to be reached. There are also other options such as Wallet Card or Traveler Buddy Badge.
- Know your destinations and travel risk rating
80% of travelers have concerns about their safety when traveling abroad. Our partner, International SOS, has developed a Travel Risk Map, comprised of current factors such as: political violence, social unrest, crime, endemic diseases, environmental risk, security conditions, and the quality and availability of healthcare within the country. This is a helpful tool for companies to understand where risks are, and take appropriate measures to mitigate those risks and protect their employees.
- Implement a traveler tracking system with your TMC
According to a survey by Travizon, 74% of business travelers believe their employer should know where they are and how to reach them at all times. As previously mentioned, TMC’s have the ability to flag potential issues, track travelers, and communicate with them in a timely manner, as well as supply information before and during their trip. There are also multiple third party providers that provide integrated communication solutions to enhance communications and alerts in the event of a disaster.
- Explore whether a global medical support service provider is right for you
If your travel program services a multi-national company or travels globally, consider using a third party global medical support service provider. Different from an insurance policy, which usually pays for everything, a medical support service provider provides support on the operational side. What do you do if one of your employees gets sick in Manila and doesn’t speak the local language? This service will provide the resources to get that employee to the help they need from a credible provider. Other services include evacuations services, risk ratings, etc.
- Educate your travelers about safety and security
Utilize all of the above resources and make sure to clearly communicate them to your employees. A Risk Management Program is only useful when employees understand it and know how to implement it. Educating your travelers about their safety and security, potential threats and protocols to mitigate these threats is an integral part of risk management. Be sure to share company expectations, tips and tricks as well as provide up to date information on the countries they are traveling to.
- Create clear and concise messaging in case of emergency
In the case of an emergency, scattered thoughts and a sense of urgency make it difficult to effectively communicate with your employees. Create standard communication templates with a consistent look and feel – this way employees will know exactly what to expect and properly understand the message you are getting across. Make sure to keep it concise, clear, informative, and avoid causing panic.