Traveler Experience
What Duty of Care Means for Travel Managers

What Duty of Care Means for Travel Managers

Sarah Ramos

25 Oct 2019
4 minute read
Blog Image // What Duty of Care Means for Travel Managers

Booking travel outside of a centralized, managed travel platform is less than ideal for businesses for a variety of reasons. Among them is this: performing duty of care is almost impossible if you don’t know where your business travelers are at any given time. As organizations continue to expand and take on global footprints, so do the number of employees traveling on their company’s behalf, and therefore, the amount of travel risk increases, too. A realistic duty of care policy goes hand-in-hand with effective travel risk management. While risk challenges will vary based on your organization’s size, industry, and scope of business travel, it’s critical to evaluate how you’re delivering on duty of care especially as you seize travel as a strategic lever for culture and growth.

As a customer-obsessed organization, we want to make sure travelers using Navan are taken care of at every step of the business travel journey. Business travel sometimes means taking a rideshare across town for a client lunch, but other times it means trekking halfway around the world — and it’s important travelers feel we’ve got their backs at every step of the way.

Duty of Care and Travel Risk Management

Duty of care is an organization’s moral and legal obligation to monitor the safety of its employees. At Navan, duty of care applies to practices and policies for employees when traveling and on the road. While duty of care is traditionally sequestered to HR/People teams, security, risk management, or travel managers, we at Navan firmly believe duty of care is best executed as everyone’s responsibility. With the latest technology readily available to track critical events everywhere in the world and the people they affect, it’s reasonable to expect every organization to keep an eye on their employees, no matter where they are.

Why Duty of Care Matters

Duty of care is about building a culture of safety and trust, so employees can feel not only safe but empowered to travel for work. After all, if travelers feel your organization does not adequately support them on the road, they’ll certainly find an employer that does. Communicating that you genuinely care about your employees’ safety and security is a huge differentiator when it comes to recruiting and retaining top talent. If you think about how globally distributed businesses are today, there are more places and time zones where your employees could find themselves traveling for work. Travel to most any country comes with potential risk, and it is essential to have proactive plans in place should something go wrong. Incorporating duty of care as part of crisis planning helps extend your performance of care beyond just employee monitoring.

While how you deliver on duty of care will ultimately be unique to your organization, here are a few key recommendations:

  • Prioritize accessibility. Make pertinent info readily accessible and available for anyone and everyone in the organization.
  • Leverage technology to monitor traveling employees. The Navan admin dashboard features a live traveler map that shows which individuals are traveling and where at any given time.
  • Be a proactive planner. Don’t be afraid to be the black rain cloud, always thinking about what could go wrong from all perspectives. Running exercises and practice drills seems tedious until the actual scenario comes up, then having practiced scenarios and learned from drills better prepares everyone.
  • Offer 24/7 365 traveler support. The support doesn’t have to come directly from your organization; you can offer tools like a centralized corporate travel platform that employees can reach out to if a travel-related disruption happens.
  • Include a personal touch. Often, we see security and safety leaders prioritizing personal outreach when something does go wrong; it puts employees at ease and ensures they feel well cared for.

That last bullet is particularly important. Yes, augment your duty of care and risk-management strategies with machine learning, safety software, and social media, but have face-to-face conversations beforehand and be available when a crisis does happen. People will remember how you made them feel when something goes wrong. Strong delivery on duty of care will ultimately enable travel managers to champion more than just travel, providing additional value to their company as a whole. Duty of care is about being prepared for whatever might happen and is essential to any comprehensive business travel program. At the end of the day, should something happen, it’s critical that everyone knows what to do to ensure every employee is safe.

For more information on how Navan helps organizations deliver on duty of care, check out our product page.

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