5 Best Practices to Protect Employees during a Business Trip
Corporate Travel is growing worldwide. There are plenty of emerging markets, some are in calm, peaceful towns and others in conflict areas or places where travelers might be exposed to danger.
In the latter is where a good corporate travel agency and corporate travel policy becomes essential. Having a well-defined contingency plan for travel security could be the difference between a successful or traumatic journey.
In order to comply with employee security, is important to know all risk factors. The risks may be higher in certain situations (especially security).
The following reasons may increase the danger of international corporate travel:
- Nationality of the employee (if there are diplomatic tensions), including language spoken and visible identifying signs like clothing, jewelry, etc.
- Position of the employee
- Image of the company in the country
- Gender, religion, and affiliations
- Employee behavior such as manners, attitudes, and overall image portrait.
The success of an international trip depends on the real awareness of business travelers.
Depending on the country and budget of the company, there are several steps that can be taken to protect employees abroad.
In this article you will learn 5 best practices to protect your employees while on a corporate trip:
1. Invest time in creating or enhancing your travel policy:
These are created and intended to show the company's commitment to caring for employees. They provide efficient support for their travelers, as well as ensure travelers are aware of the support they’re given.
The communication of the travel policies to the employees is fundamental in this step. Companies can base prevention initiatives on their own or resort to the work of management services from a corporate travel agent.
2. Health Safety:
If happens that you are sending your employees to a region where there are endemic diseases, consider checking current vaccinations or health alerts issued by the government.
Preventive arrangements may include:
- Medical check-ups and vaccination checks.
- Delivery of security guides for different countries or territories through an intranet or a specific website.
- Training modules that contain a topic such as how to seek medical assistance abroad, use insurance and contact for support.
- Pre-stay courses for employees and their families.
Also, employees should be seeking further assistance in the case of pre-existing medical conditions that may be aggravated abroad. They should confirm that the destination has adequate medical facilities.
3. Security procedures
If the employees are temporarily transferred or displaced, they depend on the Social Security of the country of origin. In case they are expatriates, the social coverage of the country takes over.
The company must know if this coverage is enough. If not, there are always ways to establish mutual agreements through private medical insurance abroad.
In this case, it is best to take into account all information regarding work and temporary residence.
Leading security audits for home, neighborhood, and workplace at the destination establish a permanent telephone emergency line 24 / 7 for employees before the trip, impose strict travel regulations (mandatory use of certain taxis or security vehicles, pre-established itineraries, etc.)
Offer or negotiate high-security homes, think of contracting tracking devices and encrypt all employee’s data of their laptops (these will help in any losing, kidnapping or thievery case).
4. Overall traveler comfort level with business trips:
Consider requests like health constraints, family members and pet care while absent, employee cash flow when using a personal card for later reimbursement.
Ensure your company’s policy will guide employees on how to prepare and avoid surprises that will affect their work performance.
5. Emergency situations:
Consider drafting an evacuation or communication plan. This is needed in case the unexpected arises.
If the worst does occur, is the company and the corporate travel agent prepared/aligned? Is the employer able to immediately communicate with the employee if they are in an unsafe area? Do they know the communication protocol should something arise?
One of the best advice we can deliver is to check for employee’s record in STEP (State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program)
By Applying this before their departure, the program will send automatic notifications in real-time to an email address given by the company, each mail will contain updates and travel warnings from the country’s events.
The department also helps citizens locate and receive support from the nearest embassy, being its US embassy or an ally country.
Last but not least, companies should consider extending the corporate travel policy to employee’s family members or having a specific clause for protection in family emergencies while the employee is abroad. Recent studies have shown that 40% of international business assignments can fail due to family happenings during the trips.
To sum it up, there is one keyword here to remember: communication. With the amount of corporate travel ramping up, ensure that the responsibilities are assigned and plans drafted to assist travelers while on a business trip. Following the five practices we’ve enlisted, protecting your employees will be more detailed and will also ensure the safety and security of both parties.
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