Unifying People and Travel Management for Better Travel Risk Mitigation

    Restrata Team
    Restrata Team

    Unifying people and travel management is crucial for travel risk mitigation and organisational resilience. In today’s rapidly changing world, organisations are continually facing various challenges that require them to adapt, evolve and ensure the safety and well-being of their employees. Travel risk management has emerged as a pivotal concern for companies. Driven by a combination of legislative pressures, moral imperatives and real-world events. The need to track and protect mobile employees, including travellers, expats and international assignees has never been more apparent.

    This blog explores the essential shift towards unifying people and travel management. It looks at the critical role of this integration in crisis situations. We’ll delve into why these two systems have historically operated in silos, the changing landscape of duty of care and the pivotal role of technology, such as resilienceOS, in bridging these gaps. We’ll also discuss the importance of organisational resilience, offering insights tailored for professionals within the security, risk and resilience space.

    The Evolution of Travel Risk Management

    Historical Context: Over the past twenty years, travel risk management has transitioned from a peripheral concern to a central focus for many global organisations. Legislative pressures, underscored by landmark legal cases, have mandated stringent measures for companies. Beyond the legal realm, there’s a growing moral consensus that prioritising employee safety isn’t just a regulatory requirement—it’s the ethically right course of action. If your business lags in adapting to these evolving norms, you risk not only legal repercussions but also potential damage to your brand’s reputation and trustworthiness in the market.

    Global Events Reshaping the Landscape: Several key events over the last 10 years or so, notably have dramatically altered the perception of “safe” travel destinations. Notably the Arab Spring which convulsed several countries hitherto seen as politically stable. This coupled with a spate of terror attacks across western Europe, underscored an important fact. That the traditional distinction between travellers to high-risk destinations and employees working in “safe” locations was blurring. The COVID-19 pandemic further complicated the landscape, introducing a slew of health and safety concerns. Companies were forced to re-evaluate and adapt their travel policies rapidly. Those that were unprepared or slow to respond faced significant operational disruptions, unforeseen expenses, and in some cases, a damaged brand image.

    ISO 31030: Setting the Standard: The introduction of the ISO 31030 standard provided a structured framework for travel risk management. This standard offers guidelines that help organisations develop, implement, and maintain a travel risk management framework. Non-compliance isn’t just about regulatory penalties; it’s about missing out on global market opportunities and facing potential backlash from stakeholders demanding responsible practices.

    Rethinking Employee Management: Mobile vs. Home

    Differentiating Mobile and Home Employees: Traditionally, mobile employees—those who travel or work abroad—have enjoyed certain privileges and considerations not extended to their home-based counterparts. While there are logical reasons for such distinctions, this approach can lead to inefficiencies and even resentment among the workforce. For instance, evacuating expatriates during significant political unrest may be a clear priority. However the optics of doing so need to be well managed particularly when considering long term operations in country. Meanwhile, the logistics of evacuating home country nationals are far more complex and frequently make this an impossibility.

    Universal Duty of Care: The modern organisation’s duty of care extends beyond its mobile employees. With the rise of remote work and global collaborations, the lines distinguishing different employee categories are blurring. Companies are realising that their duty of care encompasses all employees, regardless of their location or designation. This holistic approach is not just about ethics; it’s about ensuring operational continuity and safeguarding the company’s reputation.

    Breaking Organisational Silos: Historically, responsibility for different employee segments was often divided among departments—Security might handle travellers, while Business Continuity managed home country staff. This siloed approach can lead to disjointed communication, especially during crises. For instance, during the London Bridge terror attack in 2019, an investment bank’s segmented response resulted in mixed messages being relayed at different times, leading to confusion and potential risks.

    The COVID-19 Paradigm

    Remote Work and its challenges: The pandemic-induced shift to remote work was abrupt and widespread. While it offered employees flexibility, it also introduced challenges in communication, team cohesion, and cybersecurity. Businesses unprepared for this shift grappled with decreased productivity, increased operational costs, and the daunting task of maintaining company culture in a virtual environment.

    Broadening the Scope: People Risk Management: The pandemic underscored the need to view travel risk management as a subset of a broader people risk management strategy. It’s no longer just about where an employee travels; it’s about their overall well-being, mental health, and ensuring they have the tools and resources to perform their roles effectively from any location.

    Access to Information: The Bedrock of Effective Management

    The Data Access Challenge: In our interconnected digital age, real-time access to data is paramount, especially during crises. However, many organisations still grapple with siloed systems and disjointed data sources. The challenge is not just accessing data but ensuring its accuracy and relevance.

    Harnessing Integrated Systems for Enhanced Safety: Modern technologies, from AI-driven analytics to IoT devices, offer unprecedented insights into workforce dynamics. These tools enable businesses to monitor employee well-being, track travel patterns, and even predict potential risk areas. However, leveraging these technologies requires an integrated approach, bringing together disparate systems into a cohesive, responsive whole.

    Towards a Unified Risk Management Strategy

    The Need for Integration: A truly resilient organisation recognises the interdependencies among its various risk management strategies. From travel risk to cybersecurity, a unified approach ensures that all potential threats are identified, assessed, and mitigated in a coordinated manner.

    Leveraging Technology for Comprehensive Safety: The modern business landscape is replete with technologies that can enhance safety and operational efficiency. From AI-driven analytics to real-time communication tools, businesses have a plethora of options at their disposal. However, the key lies in selecting the right tools, integrating them seamlessly, and training the workforce to use them effectively.

    The Future of People Management in the Age of Globalisation: As businesses expand their global operations, the challenge of managing a diverse, dispersed workforce becomes more pronounced. The future will see a greater emphasis on flexible work models, robust communication channels, and a holistic approach to employee well-being.

    The Role of Technology: Unifying Systems with resilienceOS

    To address these challenges effectively, organisations need solutions that integrate HR data with travel data seamlessly. This integration allows for a real-time understanding of an organisation’s global footprint and the precise location of employees, whether they are in transit or at their work site.

    resilienceOS, a comprehensive solution, provides this unified approach to people and travel management. Here’s how it bridges the gap between people management and travel management:

    Real-Time Data Integration: resilienceOS integrates HR data with travel data. Offering a globe-to-room view of an organisation’s operations and the precise location of employees.

    Unified Risk Intelligence: The system pulls in risk intelligence data from various sources. Enabling real-time monitoring and alerts of events that could impact your operations or employee safety.

    Always on Risk Impact Calculation: It also calculates which people may be impacted. Be it local staff, travelling staff or subcontractors.

    Smart Action & Response: Taking it a step further, resilienceOS provides smart action and response playbooks. Helping your response teams to work from including the ability to trigger mass comms and alerts to affected staff.

    Learn more about resilienceOS for travel risk management or book a meeting with us to learn more about resilienceOS.