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July/August 2017
For Business, Corporate Travel & Meeting Buyers & Arrangers

Poor communication hits ‘ineffective’ risk programmes

Risk

Businesses travel risk programmes are being undermined by a lack of effective communication, a new study from International SOS has found.

The 2017 Business Impact of Travel Risk survey found that 46 per cent of executives said that health and travel security incidents had an impact on their business continuity in 2016.

It also showed just half of organisations have conducted a review of the health of their mobile workforce, and only 39 per cent have a wellness programme in place.

Karel van de Pijpekamp, managing director Northern Europe at International SOS, said: “While organisations have medical and travel security risks high on the agenda, the survey demonstrates that a rigorous implementation and an on-going communication process is key to ensuring programmes are utilised effectively. 

“This highlights potential cost and business continuity risks if travel security issues aren’t managed successfully due to a lack of communication. It also highlights a possible gap in duty of care when it comes to the safety and wellbeing of mobile workforces.”

International SOS said with the “troubling events” of 2016, organisations have increasingly become aware of the challenges in protecting their people and the potential issues in their travel risk mitigation programmes. 

The respondents reported the greatest challenges in mitigating travel risks during recent crisis were:

Access to information about the situation

43%

Communication

43%

Awareness of roles and responsibilities

30%

Location of employees

30%

Assistance on the ground

27%

Over 40% of European organisations had difficulties with access to information and communicating with their staff in 2016.

Respondents plan the following actions to “mitigate risk of their mobile workforce” in 2017:

Improve communication

70%

Review/Gap analysis of travel risk policy and procedures

51%

Provide regular training to mobile workers

50%

Drill with crisis simulation exercises

47%

Xavier Carn Regional Security Director for Europe at International SOS and Control Risks, said: “It is essential for decision-makers to have a reliable and up to date source of objective information to help them implement travel risk policies and individual travel plans.

“Recent crisis like Brussels, Tunisia, Turkey or even Berlin have also demonstrated that emergency communications must be robust and our advice is to ensure these are multi-channel so that people affected by a crisis can receive and request the information they need to reduce their exposure to associated risks.”

The study surveyed 257 people in 25 countries, mainly executives in security, travel, health and safety, risk, HR, operations and general management.

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