How to create a successful business travel risk management team in 4 steps
8th May 2015
Companies have a responsibility to provide duty of care to their travelling employees – legally, ethically and from a business point of view. To strengthen your duty of care situation and effectively support your travellers’ well-being and safety companies need to consider various internal and external factors. But finding the best team capable to develop and advance your travel risk management programme, is perhaps the most important and most challenging task for many companies. Many organisations still fail to put together a good team who can drive a travel risk management programme, often due to a lack of coordination of the different stakeholders and especially the absence of those taking responsibility. So it is not a surprise, we often get asked by new clients how to put together the right team, when it comes to fulfilling duty of care obligations.
Here we share 4 key points helping you to build a successful team, which is capable to advance your travel risk management programme.
1. Join the right forces In-house
To get organised for your travel risk management programme, organisations need to acknowledge travel risk management is a joint effort from representatives of numerous internal department and stakeholders outside your organisation including travel, security, HR, legal, finance, medical and others. First, establish stakeholder profiles for the different areas you need to cover for managing travel risks. For example, a good starting point is to ask yourself: Who is usually the department or person in our organisation? Who identifies and determines which travel risks need to me managed in your organisation? Is it the business travel manager, is it senior management or do you have a special risk & security department who initiates risk management initiatives? Second, make sure you have sufficient senior stakeholder buy-in. So, create a brief risk/reward document outlining the potential risks, financial and non-financial liabilities your organisation faces in managing the situation, including a range of obligations, from the minor to the major. Once you are prepared get some allies on board, such as employees who travel the most in your organisation or HR to support you, when presenting your business case to your management board, CEO or CFO. Be clear about who is responsible for carrying the travel risk? Is it your CEO, your CFO, HR or is it a special security department? Once you have the stakeholder buy-in and know your stakeholder profiles, establish a management steering board consisting of the relevant representatives for each department and most importantly appoint a programme leader. Ideally, your business travel programme leader should have the time, project and change management skills needed to drive and coordinate your travel risk management programme, whilst dealing with any conflicting interests of internal stakeholders.
2. Get a travel security specialist on-board
Getting outside help is vital for creating and managing a travel risk management programme. By working closely with specialist travel security solution providers and your travel management company, you get access to specialist expertise, advanced intelligence feeds and the right technology needed to fulfil your duty of care requirements whilst effectively managing business travel related risks. Alongside your in-house security team, you will need a dedicated resource you can rely on 24/7, which provides consistent monitoring, validation, risk assessments and communication services of relevant information, and when needed an independent review of your travel risk profile. Constant streams of travel intelligence, proven travel risk management models and professional best-practice advice from external security specialists, such Anvil or International SOS enable you to easily anticipate and mitigate risks during the travel planning stage and respond quickly to possible events that may impact your travellers’ health and safety. Plus, most travel risk specialist providers offer in-country assistance such as physical protection or medical care where needed.
3. Partner with a business travel management company
Business travel companies play a vital role in travel risk management by making reservations, which are the main source of information for traveller tracking systems. For example, ‘Flightline Travel Management’ works closely in partnership with travel security providers and can push destination information generated by the security provider to customers booking travel to those destinations, and help you implement the appropriate travel authorisation process. For example, Flightline Travel Management has commercial relationships with leading security providers, making it cheaper and easier for clients to source the traveller tracking and risk management solutions as opposed to approaching security providers directly. Your appointed travel management company can also provide expert advice on what works best for your business needs. They help you develop, manage, communicate and enforce your corporate travel policy, including risk management measures, tools and policies. Your dedicated business travel agency will maintain traveller profiles, which are essential for tracking your travellers’ whereabouts in case of an emergency, bring travellers home or re-arrange their trips when problems arise.
4. Equip your team with the right technology tools
No matter how good your appointed internal and outside team are, the travel risk management programme will fail if you do not have the right business travel technology tools in place. Usually, companies have two options, either you source the relevant travel management software and tools yourself or approach a third-party provider, such as a TMC to source the right business travel technology solutions for you. Whichever route you choose, make sure you do it the right way. Too many companies still choose travel management software hoping it will improve efficiency, and enable them structure their workflows and processes around the selected business travel management systems and tools. However, to achieve maximum value and successfully implement the right tools, you should focus on the processes which need improvement from a travel risk management perspective and in the wider context of your organisations business travel needs. Once you have carried out a thorough process review, you can select the technology that best satisfies your process needs for a better business travel risk management. Some of you may argue that’s obvious, but you may be surprised how many of today’s companies still purchase technology tools first and figure things out later. Maybe that is, why some companies have lots of valuable information in their systems, but then get stuck when it comes to retrieving the type of business travel data they require for their decision-making and developing a responsible business travel policy. Within best-in-class companies, by contrast, managers understand that “the system” should help them better manage their business travel risks. That’s why most of them have set up ways to use travel technology to produce useful business travel intelligence without the need to carry out numerous “workarounds” to access and analyse all relevant business travel data. Instead, they have adopted strategies and mechanisms to maximise the benefits of business travel technology tools needed to enhance areas such as pre-trip planning & intervention, in-trip communication and post-trip feedback. For example, technology solutions such as traveller tracking and employee travel monitoring systems in conjunction with online travel booking tools or mobile solutions, such as Flightline Travel’s MyTripBoard – mobile offer great means to reinforce your duty of care to travellers wherever they are in the world. Such means can include for example, automated information streams, a suite of training resources, integrated authorisation processes, traveller tracking, mapping and monitoring services based on their trip itinerary data and sometimes by tracking travellers’ mobile devices (e.g. through GPS or geo-fencing) and corporate credit card payments or mobile alerts, when an incident occurs.
The 4 points described above certainly do not represent a complete list of every action companies need to take for driving forward their travel risk management programme. However, these four points provide some ideas and perhaps some guidance for organisations striving to develop or optimise a robust travel risk management programme.
Want to know more about business travel risk management?
Whether you are looking to find out more about how to develop a travel risk management programme or want to optimise the way you manage business travel related risks? Talk to a ‘Flightline Travel Management’ expert to find out more about our business travel solutions and services for traveller risk and crisis management. Simply call 08443320174 or please enquire online.
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