4 Steps to Minimize Business Travel Risks
Protecting Your Organization Through Duty of Care
According to the Global Business Travel Association, the number of business trips taken annually in the U.S. is close to 488 million, and that’s just in a year. Imagine how many happen in one day? Well, on average, it’s estimated to be 1.3 million. When employees are away, how can their organizations protect them? This is where Duty of Care comes into play.
So, what exactly is Duty of Care? You might often hear it mentioned in your industry, but don’t know the definition behind it. Let’s take a deeper dive into how it helps to minimize risk.
Duty of Care is the legal obligation of an individual or company to provide the necessary reasonable safeguards, training, education etc. to individuals who may be performing acts or actions that could foreseeably harm themselves or others. While not a new concept, you're seeing Duty of Care referenced more and more in the industry. Organizations are beginning to understand there are legal and moral responsibilities that come with operating in high risk locations around the world. Some industry experts have linked this concept with Corporate Social Responsibility. Duty of Care should be an integral part of any company's policies and procedures around travel.
In regards to employee safety while traveling, what should organizations do? First, meet with employees who are traveling abroad and review a checklist. Employees should be given information on the closest healthcare facilities and check with their healthcare insurance to determine what’s covered internationally. Reviewing a medical checklist with each employee to ensure they’re healthy enough to travel is also a good idea.
Second, check that your organization is prepared to handle this Duty of Care. Employee concern has motivated companies to explore checks and balances within their organization regarding travel. Employers must ensure their employees are prepared for travel while weighing legal and even potentially moral obligations.
You may think the burden lies within the organization, but it’s important for both entities – employee and organization – to take responsibility. This can’t be assigned to just one group because there are too many factors involved. Organizations can be held liable for their negligent failure to plan, and employees should understand that by accepting to travel internationally they need to do their homework too. Emerging markets may not have the legal framework in place to officially be held for Duty of Care, but cases can be brought back to the United States or other developed markets where the legal framework is well defined.
In order to minimize risk, there are 4 steps organizations must follow concerning Duty of Care. They should:
- Research: Learn about the areas in which the employees are working or traveling. What’s the primary language and currency? What customs might be different? Are there unsafe areas they should avoid?
- Advise: Once the research is completed, the organization should discuss any potential threats with their employees. These can be political in nature or even health-related.
- Document: Next, ensure the organization has documented both the country research and internal processes for employee review. Provide employees with the materials, review them and obtain signatures. Keep these documents with employee records.
- Train: Finally, schedule employee workshops that cover how to avoid and/or react to any regional issues that may occur. Role-playing and open discussion are encouraged.
For more information on how to protect your organization and minimize risk, chat with a member of the ‘A’ Team.
- Professional Services Industry Pages
- Professional Services Blog
- Professional Services Webinar Replays
- Professional Services Library Resources
ABOUT THE AUTHOR