The 21st century business is one that is either currently or is in the process of becoming global – such is the deep-seated characteristic of capitalism. As a result, the average company employee is constantly on the move for work, shuttling between cities, countries and continents.
In this Statista survey, it is estimated that the number of domestic business travel in the United States from 2008 to 2020 is projected to steadily increase from 461.1 million to 488.8 million.
That’s incredibly dizzying.
With so many transported bodies in the air, land and maybe even sea (sea planes and ferries definitely count as travel mediums for business), you would expect that companies will have thorough policies put in place to ensure the wellbeing of their human capital, right?
In this survey of the perception of U.S. and U.K. business travelers on safety and security, the following stats are gleaned:
- 46% of these business travelers work for firms with no clear travel security policies
- 36% have little confidence that their firm would provide correct information during overseas emergencies
- 22% have no idea who to alert in case of an emergency
These are indeed grim statistics.
Why does travel security continue to be a pain for business owners? Well, here are some suggestions that might shed light on this issue:
- Travel security isn’t a top business priority
Based on the above-mentioned figures one doesn’t have to be Sigmund Freud to understand that businesses don’t seem to place importance on travel safety initiatives.
Running a globalized brand isn’t easy – there are so many ever-changing considerations, imperatives and risks that businesses have to contend with; it’s the cutthroat nature of today’s corporate climate.
Unfortunately, in prioritising their numerous business mandates, the external security of workers during domestic or internal travel doesn’t seem to make the list, and even if does, it’s ranked abysmally low.
While this is understandable, it shouldn’t be the case. Organizations need to align on placing the well being of their workers during business journeys in top regard – on the same level (if not higher) than meeting Human Resource requirements.
If this is not taken seriously, the financial, legal and reputation ramifications are dire.
- Lack of comprehensive employee training
For businesses that do have a somewhat vague travel security policy in place, there isn’t any company wide push for extensive worker teaching, preparation and knowledge.
Not surprising in the least.
In addition to anemic company support, it is a safe guess to say that the financial investments needed to carry out such employee training might be the capital deterrent.
Again, this should not be the case.
The benefit of equipping workers with a rich repository of information cannot be overstressed. Such knowledge can and will keep business travellers safe from unfortunate events (crime, injuries etc.), and drastically reduces the degree of vulnerability they might have when journeying to a foreign country for instance.
Think of it this way: you know the confidence you have as a business owner walking into a new business pitch, knowing that you’re armed with an extensive amount of intelligence on the prospect? Well, that’s the same sureness you instill in your workers when you send them to foreign lands well prepared.
You wouldn’t walk into such a crucial meeting unprepared, why then would you not apply that same rationale to your staff when they travel?
- Misplaced travel priorities
While sourcing out venues for your business meeting (assuming you’re hosting such event), or checking out cool spots to relax after your corporate event are all well and good things to do before a business trip, they shouldn’t be the only things that consume you in preparation of such a journey.
Companies should encourage their workers to place the same level of importance on being educated and self aware about issues like law enforcement protocols, crime rates etc.
This slight priority correction can mean the difference between life and death for your employees.
As we settle into the rigours of our business activities for 2016, let us re-invest resources in sound and strategic procedures that ensure the care and protection of our workers during their widespread and exhaustive travelling.
You’ll be better for it in the long run.
Written by Ross Fastuca @Locomote