In an uncertain world, traveling can feel like a big risk.
From medical emergencies to terrorist attacks, the challenges that occur while traveling are vast. When you are responsible for protecting your employees and team when they travel, the risks can feel even more ominous.
Even the most minor gaps in security can be considered negligence.
In fact, many countries have Duty of Care legislation, and your organization could incur penalties for not protecting your travelers up to legal standards.
However, there are some proactive ways to mitigate the risks, reduce the stress and protect your team while they are away from home. Keep reading to learn six ways your company can protect employees when they travel on the company dime.
Educating employees on different types of travel and safety risks is recommended. (Photo: Shutterstock)
Provide education and training
Education programs could include online or e-learning courses on different types of general travel and safety risks. To take it a step further, you may want to provide details on specific points of travel, medical risks and security issues.
Checking the news to be aware of any political unrest, natural disasters, weather conditions or military activities can help your employees take preventative measures when traveling or avoiding certain regions while abroad. (Photo: Shutterstock)
Doing some digging on your team’s travel destination can provide ways to make preventative decisions, particularly for individual needs. For example, if someone on your team has asthma, researching the air quality at the destination would be helpful to prevent a medical issue that could develop.
Checking the news to be aware of any political unrest, natural disasters, weather conditions or military activities can help your employees take preventative measures when traveling or avoiding certain regions while abroad. Making employees aware of cultural differences, language barriers or even something as simple as which side of the road to drive or bike on, can help manage risk.
The free U.S. STEP program provides travelers with several benefits. (Photo: Shutterstock)
Enroll with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)
STEP is a free service which enables U.S. citizens and nationals traveling internationally to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate wherever they are traveling. The STEP program provides travelers with several benefits, including:
- Important information about conditions at the traveler’s destination;
- Helps the U.S. Embassy contact travelers in an emergency; and
- Allows family and friends to contact travelers in an emergency.
Make sure everyone in the business is prepared for a crisis and understands their roles, should a disaster occur. (Photo: Shutterstock)
Create a crisis management plan and regularly update and test it
It's critical to ensure that everyone in the business is prepared for a crisis and understands their roles, should a disaster occur. Even the most minor gaps in communication can lead to disaster.
Many businesses have begun to use tracking apps or geolocation-based systems, such as Global Warning Systems, to quickly census individuals in a geolocation. Larger scale employers may have the ability to send text warnings or check-ins to employees that opt-in to share their locations.
Business travel policies should be communicated company-wide to all relevant employees. (Photo: Shutterstock)
Review travel policies
Business owners should review their company’s travel policies and ensure they include specific safety and security concerns. These policies should be openly communicated company-wide to all relevant employees.
Seek out a travel insurance program that covers crisis situations, evacuations, terrorism, kidnap and ransom and more. (Photo: Shutterstock)
Provide travel insurance
Businesses can include an insurance program for travelers that covers not only major risks but also smaller, more frequent safety and security upsets (e.g., baggage loss). It should include medical as well as specific security coverage, preferably with an experienced insurance company and 24/7 assistance service. Seek out a program that covers crisis situations, evacuations, terrorism, kidnap and ransom and more.
Implementing travel policies, researching destinations and educating your organization are just some of the many ways to mitigate the risks of traveling abroad. By being as prepared in advance as possible from creating a robust crisis management plan to implementing procedures both during and before your team’s travels, and working with an insurance program who has a comprehensive plan suited for your business, you are sure to feel at ease when sending your team abroad.
Justin Tysdal is CEO and co-founder of Seven Corners. Tysdal oversees Seven Corners' risk analysis cost assessments, workflow processes, budgetary controls and member satisfaction initiatives.