Protecting Your Mobile Workforce: How to Create a Duty of Care Committee
It is becoming increasingly difficult for organizations to protect their mobile workforce as business travelers are vulnerable to new health and safety threats while traveling year after year. Employees should have access to a wide variety of new content that educates business travelers on ways to mitigate risks when traveling to specific destinations. By
incorporating updated business travel courses into existing Duty of Care training programs, organizations open the door to effectively ensuring employees are fully prepared to travel for work domestically and internationally.
Complacency in creating, offering and facilitating travel risks programs has proven to greatly impact safety of employees during business trips. To avoid complacency, businesses should offer travel risk programs that are current, efficient and easily accessible and not only prepare business travelers to mitigate risks ahead of business trips, but also allow travelers to mitigate risks during business trips. Creating a Duty of Care committee is a resource that is strongly encouraged to ensure the safety of business travelers within an organization.
A Duty of Care committee is a group of members from the organization who are responsible for taking the proper steps to protect co-workers during their business travel, wherever they may be. This committee is responsible for ensuring the organization has a travel risk management program to implement Duty of Care. The travel risk management program should include pre-departure education, resources for travelers during their trips, and assistance in case something goes wrong. Creating this committee may seem like a challenge, but the benefits of avoiding complacency and keeping staff safe are tangible.
To form the Duty of Care committee, someone within the organization must take ownership of the task. Human Resources often forms the committee, but any department responsible for employee safety or wellbeing can step up. Whoever starts the committee will want to include other departments related to travel, safety, security, risk management and the business lines. Additionally, the committee should include an executive sponsor from the C-suite who can ensure the goals of the committee align with the goals of the business and are enacted as part of the organization’s strategic plan.
Members of the committee should be sourced from areas of the business that are relevant to business travelers. These members should be from essential groups in the organization but may vary depending on the structure. The important groups or individuals that should be included in the creation of a Duty of Care committee include:
- Travel department
- Human resources department
- Health & safety department
- Security department
- Legal counsel
- Chief financial officer
- A representative of the business lines that have travelers
The creation of this committee will facilitate a safer and more confident workplace, along with greater engagement and more confidence from employees. The committee’s first responsibility is to draw a charter outlining the responsibilities of the group. This document should be based on the vision and mission of the company in a way that protects and supports employees. The actions taken by the committee should always be cognizant of the best interests for the business.
Whether it is the first time traveling to a destination or a frequented locale, travelers and their organizations should prepare for every trip like it is their first time. This may include reviewing training materials provided through the organization, researching local happenings to make sure the traveler is well-informed about potential obstacles that may increase the normal risk level.
Duty of Care committees should be able to help travelers avoid complacency while traveling by facilitating education modules that are topic specific. These modules may include in-depth information or quick tips about hotel safety and pickpocket awareness. Additionally, Duty of Care committees should provide travel advisory or risk notifications to travelers in both domestic locations and abroad. Notifications like these can be helpful in avoiding certain areas or preparing for specific situations.
It is crucial for companies to have processes, such as education modules and remote assistance for business travelers to ensure preparedness before and after departure. The best way to avoid complacency is to be proactive in planning. A Duty of Care committee can be helpful in organizing and implementing these fixtures and ultimately bolstering a company’s risk mitigation program and fulfilling its Duty of Care to its employees.