It is noted that Organizations with an international footprint often do not have a Travel Risk Management (TRM) program in place; however any type of business travel faces a degree of risk. The list of risks a business traveler can face is long and varied and can be anything from delayed flights to catastrophic events such as terrorist attacks and natural disasters. Organizations have duty-of-care obligations towards their employees and as such it is imperative to introduce a comprehensive and robust TRM program.

As with any type of Risk Management Program it is imperative to conduct a thorough analysis of the Risks that employees might face when travelling for business purposes. It is every Organization’s responsibility to ensure that risks are analyzed and risk mitigation options employed. Additionally employees should be well prepared but also educated, informed and supported before, during and after travel. Any type of health and safety incidents occurring during business travel should be effectively managed and lessons-learned should guide the TRM Program improvements to systematically reduce the probability of future incidents occurring.

The TRM program should be developed to inform and make the Organization’s business traveler aware of the potentially hostile overseas environment in which they may be traveling or working. The information contained in the TRM program will familiarize the traveler with personal security guidelines for traveling overseas in addition to fulfilling your corporate responsibility in managing employee safety and welfare. It will also ensure that the whole organization has the same processes, procedures, and escalation measures. It should set out the requirements for managing business travel and should clearly outline the Organization’s conditions under which employees may be permitted to travel when conducting Company business or when otherwise representing the Organization. It should also provide standards to be followed before, during and after travel.

The ultimate purpose of a comprehensive and robust TRM Program is to:

  • Ensure all employees have a clear and consistent understanding of standards for business travel
  • Accept that while a level of travel risk is inherent anywhere, with elevated risk in certain areas, travel is undertaken only when risk is deemed acceptable
  • Set appropriate levels of approvals for travel of different levels of risk
  • Train employees in risk evaluation and risk mitigation
  • Ensure that all employees understand their roles and responsibilities
  • Provide business travelers with a reasonable level of service, comfort, personal health, safety and security at the optimum cost

Even Organizations who have an established TRM Program in place should continuously evaluate the Program for effectiveness and ensure that it is updated and re-disseminated regularly.  Often this is not the case due to complacency, however an updated TRM Program will ensure that your Organization meets your legal and ethical obligations in caring for your employees and additionally in reducing risk to your Organization.