In this day and age, business is not restricted by the city in which you are based. For many employees travel is a common part of their job, as they move between offices, cities and even countries for business.
Despite the technology available, face-to-face communication is still incredibly valuable and the number of people travelling for business is expected to continue to rise significantly over the next five years.
With business travel rising globally and the variety of destinations growing, it’s increasingly important that businesses ensure they have the necessary policies in place to guarantee the safety and wellbeing of their employees. Ultimately, companies are responsible of their employees travelling overseas and if business travellers come to harm, it’s their employers that will face the damaging financial and legal consequences.
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So how can companies go about making sure that their employees are adequately covered?
1. Make travel security a top business priority
It can be easily overlooked but a company travel security policy is as necessary as an employee induction process. It’s important to take the time to sit down with the relevant internal divisions of the company and look at the idea of traveller wellbeing and what would be required in the case of an overseas emergency.
Consider developing a travel security program that fits the specific needs of your employees. In line with your company HR policies, consider the frequency and type of travel usually undertaken and outline any gaps or potential issues that might arise.
While the immediate focus can be on environmental disasters or other dramatic occurrences, the most common incidents to occur overseas are more likely to be car accidents or medical emergencies. Consider how you would expect your employees to act in these situations and the information they’d need to hand.
2. Take the time to train your employees
It’s important to make sure your employees are aware and are actively informed of the travel security policy and the expectations should there be an issue while travelling. Educating staff will ensure ownership of the situation and in the case of an emergency employees will be prepared and have the means to act appropriately.
While it can be time consuming, running an informative session that alerts employees to the travel security policy and their responsibilities will lower the risk to the company overall and help you to identify any gaps.
3. Have a management plan in place and keep it updated
Simply having a travel security plan in place is not enough – it shouldn’t sit in a corner collecting dust. It’s important for the plan to be regularly updated and tested, with changes communicated to employees.
Your company travel security plan should be able to identify and communicate crisis situations with travellers and provide pre-travel updates that cover risks, specific country general and medical information. Employees should be able to easily access the information they need to minimise the risk to both themselves and the company.
In the case of local travel, keeping the relevant information up to date may be quite straight forward, while overseas travel may be potentially a little more complicated. However, much of this information can be automated and you may consider integrating with a travel platform to ensure employees are kept up to date and the overall process is streamlined.
As businesses consider their planning and activities for 2016, it’s important to prioritise and invest resources in strategic procedures that ensure the care and protection of workers during their travels for the year. A bit of pain now can mitigate all sorts of greater legal or financial pain in the future.