Key Components of Travel Risk Management and Duty of Care03/17/2017, 11:54 am
In a study conducted by Travelport, 57% of executives reported that non-compliance with their corporate travel policy was among their top three concerns. We typically consider matters of non-compliance to travel policy in the context of expense management but when it comes to duty of care, compliance can also play an important role in traveler safety.
The Business Dictionary defines duty of care as, “an individual or organization is obliged to avoid acts or omissions (which can be reasonably foreseen) to be likely to cause harm to others.”In other words, the company is responsible for ensuring business travelers are forewarned about any potential dangers of travel conducted on their behalf.
Your travel policy should identify “at risk” areas and ensure business travelers are informed about any specific or foreseeable dangers as line items within the policy. This is also another reason why we encourage our customers to consistently review and update their policies. Inclement weather and delayed flights are normal part of travel disruptions, but what policies do you have in place for unpredictable and uncontrollable events such as earthquakes or potential terror attacks?
Does your company have a comprehensive risk management strategy? Travel risk management is a process that identifies risks, prepares travelers prior to their trip, monitors threats and responds to incidents as they arise.
Reviewing Your Travel Policy? Here Are Some Important Questions to Keep in Mind Regarding Your Traveler’s Safety
- Do you have a way to assess how many travelers your organization has and their potential needs in a given year?
- Where do most of your business travelers go (by region, country, city, hotels, and transportation routes)?
- If you routinely have employees going to potentially dangerous areas, how prepared are they?
- If there were an emergency in an area where you knew some of your business travelers were; would you know how to contact them?
- What type of emergency support is in place for your travelers and do they know how to avail themselves of it if needed?
- When did you last tested your emergency response and support protocols?
- Do you have a clearly defined and current travel risk policy? If so, are your employees aware of it?
As you can see, there are many valid questions concerning duty of care. Travel risk management comprises HR, legal, medical, security and procurement under the umbrella of your travel policy. An effective travel policy will address the requisite needs of these cross-functional departments to mitigate potential risks.
Travel disruptions are bound to happen. Lost luggage and inclement weather require one type of support while high-risk trips to unstable regions require another. Your travel policy needs to clarify your risk management strategy andconsider everything from pre-trip authorization and data management to crisis management and emergency procedures.
You’ll want to determine the risk types, assess risk exposure, mitigate or manage potential risks, communicate effectively with your team and audit your travel policy to make sure it’s both current and complete.As a travel manager, you can include key stakeholders from HR, legal, security and other departments (as well as your road warriors) to assess your travel policy for any gaps. Remember, when your employees are traveling on behalf of the company, they are under your care.