The Ipsos MORI Global Business Resilience Trends Watch 2018 survey reveals that the perception of risk remains elevated and while organizations are increasingly implementing prevention and mitigation measures there are still opportunities for improvement as major strategic aspects are being missed.

The survey found that travel plans were changed, predominantly, due to concerns over security threats (58%), followed by natural disasters (43%). This was consistent across the globe, apart from the Americas where natural disasters was first and security threats second. At a global level these are followed by country risk ratings (42%) and civil unrest (34%).

Perception of Risk Remains at an Elevated Level

63% of business decision-makers perceive travel risks to have increased in the past year, reflecting a global softening from 72% in the previous year. However, the Americas and Australasia regions stand out with 78% and 72% respectively reporting increased risk in 2017. Risk rating changes on the latest edition of the Travel Risk Map include increase risk in some areas of the Caribbean and Puerto Rico due to the effects of the hurricanes and a decrease in risk in some European countries thanks to improved standards of medical care.

Striving for Business Resilience

While the preventative agenda in medical and travel risk mitigation is clearly on the rise, the survey reveals that a strategic and far-reaching view may currently be a missed opportunity by many organizations. Only 9% of organizations updated their sustainability program to include their travel risk policy and just 10% introduced a well-being policy, falling at the bottom of the risk mitigation techniques implemented in 2017.

Opportunities for future business resilience through a robust travel risk mitigation program  
9%   Updated sustainability program to include travel risk program  
10%   Introduced a well-being policy  
13%   Monitored the number of road traffic incidents  
14%   Updated travel risk policy to include diversity-related issues (e.g. LGBT, female travelers, travelers with disabilities)  
16%   Implemented a program for people to understand existing health issues while away on business  

Risk Response & Challenges

Organizations continue to introduce risk mitigation techniques, the survey says. The most frequent step taken in response to travel health and security concerns is the introduction of pre-trip and during trip emails, with 39% of decision makers reporting to have introduced this in 2017.

However, organizations still face barriers in ensuring the health and security of travelers, with educating employees about travel risk (53%) the most common challenge in ensuring the health and security of travelers, followed by communicating with employees in a crisis, and ensuring they have read pre-travel information (both 44%).

Top 6 techniques introduced in response to medical and security risk concerns  
1) Introduced pre-trip and during trip advisory emails   39%  
2) Included travel risk assessment in travel approval process   37%  
3) Implemented travel safety training and security training   33%  
4) Provided annual health check-up’s   32%  
5) Updated travel risk policy (excluding diversity related issues)   31%  
6) Implemented programs to locate travelers   28%  
Top 5 Challenges in securing the safety and security of the mobile workforce  
1) Educating employees about travel risks   53%  
2) Confirming employees have read pre-travel information   44%  
3) Communicating with employees during a crisis   44%  
4) Tracking employee travel   39%  
5) Having adequate resources to manage health and security efforts   35%