By Mike Eberhard
Dec. 26, 2017
Imagine it’s late evening and an unexpected incident has occurred somewhere in the world. Does your company know where its traveling employees are? Could they determine within minutes who was impacted, safe or might need assistance?
In the year ahead, we expect employee safety and duty of care to remain a top business priority. Businesses will scrutinize their data, systems, processes and procedures to determine how they can improve their ability to ensure employee safety when the unfortunate occurs. Human resources will continue playing an important role in this.
In light of terrorist attacks and natural disasters in an increasingly global economy, business traveler safety is a growing concern. More and more companies are sending their employees out to do business worldwide, meaning employees are entering potentially unpredictable environments and need to be equipped with key safety information, and peace of mind that their employer will be there in the face of an emergency.
Duty of Care in Today’s Organizations
Duty of care responsibilities span multiple departments, including human resources, corporate travel, security and legal. This can mean a lot of gray area and potential confusion around who is ultimately responsible to fulfill this need. A recent report by the Global Business Travel Association Foundation found three in five travel managers rely on travelers to contact them during times of crisis and uncertainty, whereas 58 percent of travelers say they would contact their supervisor, not a travel manager, if in need of support or assistance in such a situation.
In addition to protocol issues, there’s a lack of education and awareness of the tools employees could be provided or how employees should react in the event of a safety incident. Only three in five (62 percent) travelers are given pre-travel information and even fewer (53 percent) are given information on local providers for medical and security assistance services before leaving the country.
Duty of care is a company’s obligation to ensure the safety and security of their employees. In addition to a moral component, it also has both legal and business components HR teams should be aware of:
HR’s Role in the Year Ahead
HR professionals can help alleviate risks and take steps to help ensure the safety of employees:
Mike Eberhard is the president of Concur, which provides travel, expense and invoice management solutions. Comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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