Many employers need to send staff abroad, whether it’s in pursuit of sales opportunities, international conferences, or projects to name but a few. As an employer you have a duty of care towards your employees on such trips.
The world of business has become a global village, today, enterprise knows no geographical boundaries. But for employees entering unfamiliar territories the risk is higher. Both employers and employees need measures in place to appropriately protect themselves to mitigate the risks, whether they are large or small.
If you are frequently sending employees overseas or are about to for the first time, we have compiled our top five tips to help reduce the likelihood of an incident.
1. Make sure you are aware of the specific travel needs of your employees
Often overlooked, we’d recommend that you undertake a thorough risk assessment before an employee embarks on overseas travel. A health and safety provider can develop policies and procedures to ensure that an employees’ requirements are met and that they are given correct information to help them manage, reduce, and eliminate specific risks. As an employer you should be aware of any pre-existing medical conditions and ensure that the travel destination has the appropriate facilities required should your employee fall ill.
2. Ensure your employee understands cultural issues before their departure
Helping your employees understand how customers or suppliers in a particular country do business is important, because the chances are, it will be different from the practices in the UK. So, it’s good to get even a basic understanding. Failing to invest a little time in understanding the subtlest differences could negatively impact business, for example, body language and greetings are not globally consistent.
3. Have you checked your insurance policy?
Domestic health care plans may not respond at the point of service if an employee suffers a medical emergency while travelling on overseas business, even domestic travel. We would recommend that you double check with your healthcare provider and consider investing in short-term out-of-country travel medical insurance for your globetrotting employees.
4. Encourage employees to take appropriate health precautions
You should make sure that employees have access to health information prior to travel and if required, they are vaccinated against illnesses that may be prevalent in the country of destination.
5. Know where your employees are
Knowing where your employees are during a crisis is critical to managing corporate risk and ensuring the safety of your employees. Travel management companies do offer programmes which will allow you to track travel itineraries with real-time data. Some programmes now offer GPS technology to track a person via their company mobile phone. There are also free apps that will provide this service. What’s key is the ability to communicate quickly and clearly with your employee to help manage risks. Multiple forms of communications should also be considered when developing your travel risk assessment.
Be prepared for the unexpected and if you need assistance contact an expert. We have only scratched the surface of safe business travel, but we hope we have given you some food for thought.