In a study conducted by Travelport, 57% of executives reported that non-compliance with their corporate travel policy was one of their top three concerns.
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.
We typically discuss 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.
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. For example, the Zika virus can pose a danger to pregnant women, and while the CDC hasn’t outright banned travel to affected areas, major airlines are allowing travelers to cancel or postpone their trips. As such, your company should decide if travel to such places is urgent or can be postponed and communicate any changes to authorized travel to your employees.
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 5 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? Region? Country? If you routinely have employees going to potentially dangerous areas, how prepared are they? Where do they stay and how do they get around while there?
If there were an earthquake or other disaster 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 have you last tested your emergency support procedures?
Do you have a travel risk policy? Is it clearly defined? Up-to-date? Are your employees aware of it?
As you can see, there are many questions and concerns. Travel risk management comprises HR, legal, medical, security and procurement under the umbrella of your travel policy. An effective travel policy will meld 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 have a clearly defined risk management strategy to handle 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.
When your employees are traveling on behalf of the company, they are under your care. 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 risk and response gaps.
Where do you think your biggest gaps lie? Use this Travel Management Needs Checklist to guide your assessment.