Nine Tips For Filling The Gaps In Your Duty of Care

Tina Gunn

Your employees are in varying locations across town, the country, or even the globe. Are you supporting them all? Many organizations understand they need to support and protect their business travelers, but few realize that their duty of care obligations extend to ALL employees.

In part one of our four-part series, we discussed how even organizations with a good track record in fulfilling their duty of care obligations with some level of risk management solution in place still have gaps in providing the right level of care to all travelers and employees.

Travel is inherently risky because it can place your employees in unfamiliar or unforeseen environments. The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) outlines the risks for travelers and common gaps found in even the best-intentioned travel-risk-management programs.

Risks for your travelers include:

  • Standing out from the local population, making them potential targets
  • Driving in unfamiliar locations and conditions
  • Stress and fatigue from travel delays and being away from home
  • Not speaking the language of the country
  • Unfamiliarity with local health risks and medical facilities
  • Having no idea who to alert in case of an emergency

Do you know where are your organization’s gaps in mitigating traveler risks? Common gaps include:

  • Failing to inform and educate travelers on general and specific travel risks
  • Not documenting when they have advised employees on travel safety
  • Only focusing security on high-risk international travel and not domestic travel or a mobile workforce
  • Not making safety and security part of travel procurement criteria
  • Not testing the crisis management plan regularly
  • Not having a fully mapped-out travel risk strategy

It’s not just travelers, but all employees that need to be considered for safety and security initiatives. The following are common duty of care gaps for diverse types of employees and the actions organizations should be taking to better support them.

Frequent travelers

Whether travelers book through your booking tool, travel management company (TMC), or outside managed-travel programs, your organization has the moral and legal responsibility to care for their well-being.

  1. Automatically prepare travelers before they go. Proactively educate your travelers with tips about safe travel, and adopt a tool that pushes out pre-trip advisories around recent incidents or events that may impact their trip.
  1. Pull together the right stakeholders. Establish a crisis-management team to agree on the proper protocol for key departments that will be involved in the event of an emergency. Set well-defined roles and responsibilities with internal stakeholders, including travel management, security, HR, and legal.
  1. Capture and store accurate traveler location data. To best track travelers with quality data, adopt a system that centralizes all your employee data sources, including TMC, travel booking and request tools, and HR profiles so you can pinpoint impacted employees.

In-office employees

You may only think of travelers when it comes to duty of care, but your obligations extend to all employees, even those commuting into your offices every day.

  1. Create and practice a master plan. Your plan should include common and severe incidents for both in-office employees and travelers. Determine how you’ll communicate with employees during an emergency, the frequency of communications, and the triggering factors.
  1. Keep employee profiles up-to-date. Encourage employees to regularly review and update their profile and travel data, including their office location (including remote employees), name, office, mobile numbers, and emergency contacts.
  1. Ensure communication lines are open. For employees commuting to the office or traveling across the globe, develop clear, two-way emergency contact communication during high-profile incidents, as well as more common events including medical issues, road traffic accidents, and petty crime.

Road warriors

What about employees working in home offices or in the field? Or those driving between client sites? Employees constantly working outside a physical office are some of the hardest to track and support.

  1. Make it mobile. Implement tools that can reach employees on the go, such as SMS, email, and text-to-voice, so your mobile workforce can check in and request help when they need it.
  1. Provide around-the-clock support. Major disasters and health incidents don’t keep to office hours, and neither should your duty of care program. Establish 24/7/365 support services for your employees, ensuring assistance no matter the time of day or location.
  1. Adopt an assistance provider. An assistance provider will be vital should your security department or travel manager become overwhelmed during an event. Ensure employees are briefed and have access to information on seeking assistance.

It’s impossible to predict if an emergency or crisis will take place, but with the right plan and technologies in place, you’ll be ready to locate and assist an impacted employee no matter the time or location.

Learn more about the potential gaps in your duty of care program by downloading our checklist so you can put a plan in place to proactively keep your people safe and connected. Also, find out about how SAP Concur solutions can help you fulfill your duty of care.

This originally appeared on SAP Concur and is republished with permission.


Tina Gunn

About Tina Gunn

Tina Gunn is the content marketing manager for the Enterprise Americas team at SAP Concur. Tina earned her degree in Journalism from the University of Washington and brings her experience in content strategy and digital marketing to SAP Concur. When she’s not creating thought leadership and sales enablement content, Tina writes fiction and screenplays of the horror and sci-fi genres.