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 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 that business travelers are informed about any specific and 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? Keep these important questions regarding your travelers' safety in mind:
- Can you assess how many travelers are in your company and what their potential travel needs may be in a given year?
- Where do most of your business travelers go (by region, country, city, and transportation routes)?
- If you routinely have employees going to potentially dangerous areas, how prepared are they?
- If there is an emergency in an area where you know you have business travelers; do you know how to contact them?
- What type of emergency support is in place for your travelers, and do they know how to get it if needed?
- When did you last test your emergency response and support protocols?
- Do you have a clearly defined and current travel risk policy? If so, are your travelers 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 and consider 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.