We live in a predominantly hyper-connected world. Every sphere of our lives is interdependent on one another; businesses are not exempted from this reality.
Despite the pervasiveness of technology, there’s still the need for international business travel. Companies still rely on the effectiveness of a face-to-face approach when carrying out their numerous objectives and dealing with sensitive situations. As such, employees become the zone-hopping ambassadors who travel frequently across the world.
One imminent consequence of such extensive travel to foreign lands is risk. By default, it becomes imperative that businesses invest in effective systems that help mitigate travel related threats that travelers might encounter.
Here are some proactive risk management measures to consider which should address the wellbeing of a company’s staff before, during and after their business journey:
- Assembling a comprehensive risk management toolkit
It is a well-known fact that when an initiative has the unbridled support from all departments, it usually is a success: travel risk management should be one of those initiatives. The data that goes into this said guidebook, needs to come from as many internal divisions within the company (i.e. legal, risk management, human resources, travel, medical, security and procurement).
The aforementioned facts should be lucidly synthesized into useful and pragmatic information that gives the intended user a crystal clear picture of to do when faced with uncertain events.
This is where the importance of having a proficient Travel Manager comes in handy. He/she would be able to leverage the goodwill built (through strong working relationships) to galvanize all the internal departments. Also being an experienced traveller, he/she would have the erudition to ensure that the final document is both lucid and robust.
- Employee knowledge is power and security
An ill-informed employee in a foreign country can mean the difference between life and death, literally. The tutoring of employees on matters relating to travel risk management can (and should) take extensive forms: everything from destination guides, on-site training, webinars, monthly awareness newsletters and informal lunch-and-learns.
As financially demanding as this endeavor might seem, companies cannot afford to cut corners when it comes to empowering their staff with the necessary resources for safety.
- Conduct frequent drill-exercises
In the same vein as the point above, companies should also invest in procedures that help employees translate their theoretical knowledge of managing travel risk into practical and real-life situations – just as they do with the impromptu monthly fire drills. Preparations in advance can assists in building confidence and encouraging employee resourcefulness.
- Fortify your international contacts before an emergency
The stellar soft-skills that a Travel Manager possesses (for relationship building), again, cannot be over-stated. This veteran manager knows that having a rich list of travel contacts that corporate travellers (and the company at large) can leverage during an unfortunate incident is paramount. As such, these international relationships are cultivated and nurtured well in advance of a travel crisis.
- Invest in an external risk management firm if necessary
The stark reality is that some businesses don’t have the internal manpower to take on this fundamental travel-related endeavor; it does require a heightened bandwidth to be successful. In that instance, such companies might want to consider a partnership with an external risk management organisation. This way they have the professional backing to tackle this complex issue.
- Remember it’s an ongoing process
As with any sustainability related effort, travel risk management is a continuous progression of pre-emptive policies, procedures and events – it shouldn’t be a reactive one-time task crossed off a to-do list.
NOTE: Another thing worth remarking on is that fact that the components of a travel risk management should be completely personalized, and specific to the intended company. No two organizations are the same, and so, travel programs should be tailored to fit a given organization’s precise prerequisites and integrated into an overall risk management process.
Good luck and safe travels!