There can be a level of inherent risk involved in corporate travel, especially depending on the specific location an employee is going to. There are issues ranging from natural disasters to terrorist attacks and civil unrest. All can present risk, and employers don’t have complete control over what happens with their employees when they are traveling.
This is where duty of care becomes a key consideration for travel managers and business leaders. Along with business expense management, duty of care is likely one of the biggest priorities in most organizations where corporate travel occurs.
The following are some tips to keep up with best practices as it pertains to corporate and employee travel.
Identify Specific Risks
The most important thing any travel manager or company can do when it comes to duty of care is have a full understanding of what the threats and risks are. These can vary depending on the location employees are traveling, but in general, there are five that tend to be among the most pertinent. These are airline emergencies, civil unrest, snowstorms, terrorist attacks, and hurricanes.
While there are the broad, global threats, there are also individual issues that should be included in travel risks including illness and fatigue.
Along with having an overall idea of the possible risks, each time an employee is traveling there should be a specific risk assessment.
Have Plans in Place for Communication
A lot of businesses don’t include communication plans as part of their larger duty of care plan. Employers need to know how to contact employees and how to stay in contact, even if there is an emergency. Employees need to similarly know how to get in touch, even when traditional means of communication might not be an option.
One good option that can streamline communication is the use of a tool that integrates all travel booking information and then can send out push notifications through an app if there is a threat or if there needs to be an important message sent.
The use of various forms of technology is one of the best ways to be proactive and prepared regarding the duty of care. When choosing technology, look for options that will allow for easy tracking of employees. It is important to remember that some employees may look at this as you monitoring their every move. If you do plan on doing that, understand that this could be a form of discrimination, especially if you have illuded to reasons why in regard to their gender, race, and so on. They may look into retaining an employment discrimination lawyer at this point. So bear that in mind and make sure that any decisions you decide upon are due to business needs and are fair across the board.
Create a Plan and Promote it To Employees
Even if a company has the best duty of care plan in place, if employees aren’t aware of it or aren’t well-trained on it, it’s essentially going to be useless. It’s essential for travel managers and company leaders to put a plan in place that’s detailed and thoughtful. Then, beyond that, it should be something that employees are well aware of and trained on.
Employees need to feel like there is a sense of value to the plan, and it should be promoted to them as something that’s beneficial for them. Employee buy-in is extremely important here. A plan should include how communication will be managed, when communication is expected, and how threats are addressed by the company and the traveler if they do arise.