Australian employers have a duty of care to their employees, which means a moral and legal responsibility to care for their wellbeing while at work/while working. However, many Australian employers are unaware of the importance of knowing their employees’ whereabouts at all times, according to Concur.
Matt Goss, Managing Director, Concur Australia & New Zealand, said, “Businesses don’t want to act like Big Brother but they do need to know where their employees are. This is especially true if workers are travelling for work, particularly in overseas locations or trouble hotspots.
“Consequently, many businesses are turning to technology to help track employees’ whereabouts in real-time. Business apps like Concur can consolidate all employee location and travel itinerary data in one place and then present it in an easy-to-use, dynamic map. This lets users see every member of their team in case they are affected by a crisis or incident, so the business can communicate with employees and, if necessary, arrange for their evacuation as soon as possible.”
Concur recommends the following 10 tips for employers to fulfil their duty of care:
1. Establish a crisis management team.
Business leaders should work with their security team to agree on the proper protocol for the key departments and personnel who may need to be involved in the event of a disaster or emergency impacting the company.
2. Align with the business’s travel management company (TMC) regarding their emergency programs and alerts as the first line of defence and communication.
This will help establish 24/7/365 support services for global travellers, ensuring someone is available to help, or at least provide reporting and information about travelling employees.
3. Create an emergency contacts list for the business.
This should include an explanation of all members’ responsibilities and backup contact details for the organisation’s team and the TMC’s team.
4. Provide clear emergency contact information for employees.
Employees need to know whom to contact and how, in case of a disaster or incident. This should include mobile numbers and a traveller wallet card with information on whom to call and when, including a ‘one call does all’ number via after-hours numbers with service providers. The TMC must also know whom to call in the company if they receive a call from an employee in an emergency.
5. Develop a clear policy.
It’s important to provide guidance to employees around safety and security. Equally, employees should be educated regarding their responsibility to be alert and aware at all times, no matter where they are.
6. Know the global travel destinations and establish a country risk rating.
Businesses should develop a collaborative approach internally to impose travel restrictions as appropriate according to the risks of travelling to that country. In partnership with security departments and senior leadership, the business must put in place country or region-specific restrictions as necessary. For example, policies should allow travel to high-risk countries only when it’s deemed business-critical.
7. Implement an employee tracking system in partnership with the TMC or a third party provider.
An effective employee or traveller tracking system should include an integrated communication solution to enhance communications and alerts in the event of a disaster. This would include two-way communications with the employee and location triangulation.
8. Investigate if aligning with a global medical support service provider is necessary, especially if the travel program services a multi-national company.
These services firms typically provide medical support for employees when travelling outside their host country as well as evacuation services, risk ratings, and more. Additionally, businesses should consider outsourcing all their duty of care responsibilities to a service provider that can monitor, locate, communicate, and assist employees on the company’s behalf. Outsourcing these activities to an expert is especially important for organisations that don’t have the time or resources to effectively fulfil their duty of care requirements.
9. Educate travellers about their safety and security.
Education is crucial so travelling employees are well-informed. The education process should include sharing company expectations, and helpful tips and tricks about safe travel. It’s valuable to tailor sessions according to the traveller’s gender, destination, and job function. Businesses should use apps that provide up to date information on country customs, proper protocol on ways to conduct business, etc. Full security briefings are required for high-risk countries.
10. Develop clear concise messaging for employees during a disaster/emergency.
Businesses should tailor messaging to inform but not to alarm or cause panic. Businesses should consider creating communication templates so they’re ready if an incident occurs.
Matt Goss, said, “Concur just recently launched its Locate and Active Monitoring, the first integrated traveller risk management solution that draws from the industry’s most comprehensive data set including, travel and expense data, itineraries booked direct captured through TripLink and TripIt, supplier e-receipts, and more. It empowers businesses to proactively monitor risks and quickly identify where travellers are and communicate with them to ensure their well-being during times of crisis and uncertainty.”