There’s a specific way to maximize risk management for traveling employees and the key factor is personalization.
Risk management is one of the most pressing issues in business travel today. When your company sends employees to different parts of the country or world, it holds a duty of care obligation to look after those employees in case of natural disasters, terrorist attacks or medical emergencies — and risk management is how your company lives up to its duty of care obligation.
There’s one thing many companies overlook, though: the importance of personalizing travel risk management. Your company is unique, and so too are the individuals who are asked to travel. As a travel manager, you can maximize risk management by finding opportunities for personalization.
What types of opportunities? Read on to learn more about personalizing a travel risk management approach that fits your organization and its people.
1. Consider Demographic Differences
Traditionally, most companies design risk management plans with white, male, middle-aged, straight employees in mind. But, in reality, your company’s travelers most likely check a diverse collection of demographic boxes.
For example, women will need to take precautions that men do not. In some parts of the world, sexual orientation can put your travelers at risk. And keep in mind also that travelers at the younger and older ends of your company’s age spectrum might need different types of risk management support.
Companies should consider demographic differences first because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it can help avoid liability related to discrimination laws and regulations.
One word of warning when it comes to risk management and demographics: Don’t create different, demographic-based audiences to receive customized information and alerts. You wouldn’t want to self-determine who gets information that would be of interest to pregnant women, or to LGBTQ team members or to employees 60 and older. Consider demographics but share important information with everyone so that no individual employee feels targeted due to their unique demographics and profile.
2. Create a Forum for Discussion
As a travel manager, you already know that your traveling employees are often the best source of information as you create policies and consider changes to travel programs and processes. So, in an attempt to better personalize risk management, create a forum where you can hear from your travelers — and where they can talk to each other.
This could take the form of an message board that lives on your intranet, or it could be an in-person town hall for travel-related topics that you hold once a quarter or twice yearly. These forums and discussions can also be an opportunity to share tips for managing risk while traveling. At minimum, consider a quarterly survey that allows travelers a private medium for sharing open and honest feedback.
No matter how you structure these discussions, make sure that travelers have an opportunity to talk among themselves — those conversations can be your best view into the travel experience (and how to make it better for everyone).
3. Prepare to Evolve
Personalizing risk management isn’t something to perfect right away. Start by taking what steps you can toward personalization, but keep in mind that you’ll need to evolve your risk management plan over time in pursuit of perfection.
As you consider demographics, and as you start to hold forums for your travelers, a number of hot-button travel issues should emerge. Focus on those hot-button issues first, and then look for ways to expand on or add to those initial actions over the next few months or even years.
Travel is essential to the success of many companies, but business travel is also complex. Taking a long-term view of risk management can make the tasks of any travel manager feel more workable.
4. Don’t Forget Training
Risk management can be a challenging, mysterious concept for companies — but it’s even more mysterious for traveling employees. Surveys show that more than half of employees get no risk management training or are unsure if risk management training is available.
This is especially a challenge for companies that spend less on travel. In fact, 62% of employees at companies that spend $10 million or less on travel get no risk management training or are unsure if risk management training is available.
Training for employees should flow naturally out of your risk management work. As you create a risk management plan and as you incorporate risk management tools, regularly ask the question: “What do our employees need to know to make this plan and these tools successful?” The answers to that question can form the foundation of you risk management training program.
Need Risk Management Support?
Different companies use different risk management models, but not every company has the in-house resources to create and execute on appropriate risk management plans. At JTB Business Travel, we provide duty of care and risk management support and solutions to a wide range of businesses whose team members often travel.