As businesses grow, travel tends to become a regular feature. However, with business travel, there are risks and it is essential to manage them as best as possible. Many companies have developed a travel risk management plan as the business grows. If you want to keep traveling employees safe while protecting your business, that’s why travel risk management is crucial.
What is risk management in business travel?
Risk management in business travel can encompass many different elements. Risk management aims to minimize the impact of the unforeseen as much as possible and keep business travelers safe through a well-designed communication plan that meets the duty of care.
For an international organization where overseas travel is required, these measures ensure that potential travel risks are planned for and there is a structured approach towards employee safety, security and organizational resilience.
Examples of hazards while traveling may include:
- Civil disturbances
- Political instability
- severe weather
- terrorist attacks
- Disease outbreaks
- Major security incidents
- Sudden travel warnings
- Workers’ health incident
- Criminal incidents
- Any other potential threats and risks
Additional factors to consider with travel risks
When it comes to managing risk and performing risk assessments, identifying the type of risk is only one aspect of business continuity and employee safety. If there is frequent travel-related risk, such as business trips to high-risk countries, companies must dedicate internal resources to ensuring employee safety.
As a starting point, companies should consider additional security measures such as medical evacuation, political risk and travel insurance. However, you may also need to consider employee training on how to deal with a medical emergency and emergency response training. In addition, you may need to include other travel safety measures, such as an emergency communications process and emergency contact information based on travelers’ location.
What should a travel risk management program contain?
A comprehensive travel risk management program has two goals: to protect employees from high risks whenever possible and to ensure business continuity. There are many resources to help design a travel risk assessment and program. We will look at some of the basic features of a corporate travel risk assessment and program should have:
- Create clear business travel policies for employees: The first step is to create clear guidelines for international travel that employees must follow. This includes describing potential risks, critical safety information and how to protect yourself at your travel destination depending on the situation.
- Real-time information sources: Emergency situations are never dry, and travel plans can change in the blink of an eye. Ensure processes for monitoring travel and approving travel take into account threat intelligence and other real-time information sources for up-to-date travel advice.
- Clear communication: As situations change, employees need to be armed with as much information as possible before the trip to protect themselves and the company. It describes the company’s duty of care, the safety measures in place and how to contact other members of the organization should travelers face emergencies during travel.
- Official tip: Include any government advice, such as travel advisories and resources that travelers can refer to. You can also use resources like the Global Business Travel Association to develop a holistic policy.
3 travel risk management tips that mitigate risks
Risk management is about protecting the company and the employee, and it can be difficult to balance both completely. We’ll go through some key tips to keep in mind when designing a program for a business trip.
1. Create or reconfigure your travel management program
Consider your organizational structure and how it relates to risk management. Make it as streamlined and simple as possible for employees to understand when they embark on a business trip. Your travel management program must address pre-trip planning and destination risk until company employees return to native soil. A comprehensive policy ensures that the company is protected against unforeseen events, including employee safety, data preservation and security measures.
You can appoint designated travel managers who are responsible for employee safety, welfare and managing travel risks as they occur during employee travel. Also, ensure employees have access to comprehensive travel health coverage and resources to help them manage ever-evolving situations during an emergency. You can also provide additional information about how to travel with company devices and equipment and any questions about the data that needs to be taken into account.
2. Build your travel risk management strategy
Your strategy will depend heavily on the destinations your employees are going to and will expect changes in the near future. But key points to consider include information security, operational resilience and employee protection. In addition, the protection of employees and the operation of the company in the event of significant threats and risks must be taken into account.
A risk assessment framework before travelers leave for their trip allows companies to more easily apply travel risk management policies. Consider using broader business travel industry standards such as ISO 31030:2021 – Travel risk management – Guidance for organizations to design your strategy.
3. Use digital technology to make your risk management plan more effective
Fortunately, with so much technology in place, there are more resources than ever when it comes to risk mitigation. Within the travel manager role, there should definitely be processes where employees regularly check in with wider teams and provide access to GPS data on work devices to ensure they can be easily found in an emergency. Depending on the number of employees traveling, there may also be measures to report incidents and real-time updates.
Places where employees can get help during emergencies
As part of travel risk management, employees should be aware of the emergency resources they can contact as part of the company’s duty of care strategy and manage travel risks.
If employees require medical attention or natural disasters occur, they should contact embassies and/or local authorities as a first step for assistance. They should also be told about local and national organizations that can help them, as well as any company resources that the company can provide in the event of an emergency.
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