Duty of care
As we prepare for the new realities of travel, duty of care ranks as the top priority for our customers.* While your legal obligation to employees is critical, we encourage our clients to think more broadly. A traveler care strategy that combines duty of care, risk mitigation and management, and traveler wellness will be more effective for your company and your travelers, and scale to meet whatever unexpected challenges come your way.
* Source: BCD Travel Research & Innovation online survey of 125 travel managers, April 2020
The concept of duty of care is simple. It’s the employer’s responsibility to keep their travelers safe and healthy. Easy enough, right? Not as easy when your people are scattered across the globe, on planes, in hotels and in between. Add a global pandemic to the list of regional and hyperlocal threats we face on a daily basis and you have yet another layer of complexity. And more reason than ever to have a duty of care strategy that spans more than the active trip cycle.
It starts with having a clear understanding of where exactly all your travelers are today, and where they are planning to be in the upcoming days. Layer that in with knowledge of exactly what risks they may face during their trip. And finally, ensure you have a consistent and expected way to communicate these risks with your travelers. Making sure they are informed, and know where to find information is key.
Risk management takes on a new meaning in the age of COVID-19. Risks are now defined in terms of border closings, quarantine requirements, health screenings and supplier protocols. The decision to travel will be informed and intentional—a calculated equation of cost, risk, routes and trip requirements. Trip authorization will become a standard practice, as companies assume more control over risk management and the safety of their travelers. Virtual collaboration will become a strategic alternative to high-priced and high-risk travel.
For travelers, preparation and planning is the key to confidence. Known risks and trip requirements should be communicated upon booking, giving travelers time to prepare. Consider a pre-trip communication plan that includes mobile reminders, travel tips and checklists for extra peace of mind. And an in-route communication plan that delivers real time risk alerts, relevant policy notifications and one-click support.
Travel has changed as a result of COVID-19. Travelers are more likely to experience longer routes with more disruptions. There will be new packing requirements. Frequent changes in supplier and destination guidelines. Travel will require more planning, preparation and patience than ever before.
Wellness programs provide benefits to the company that can clearly affect and improve your bottom line.
Improving morale and productivity
Employees who are happier have a more positive outlook, which can translate to increased focus, energy and productivity. Which translates into increased revenue for your company.
Increasing employee retention
Employees feel valued when their companies invest in their well-being which makes them more likely to stay at their jobs.
Studies of the benefits that employee wellness programs can bring to a business show that for every dollar spent on wellness programs, employers saved $3.27 in health care costs.
Source: Harvard Business Review. “What’s the Hard Return on Employee Wellness Programs?” February 8, 2019.
5 easy ways
integrate traveler wellness into your program
- Develop new travel safety guidelines. Educate travelers through consumer-friendly messages and campaigns.
- Equip travelers with personal protective equipment including Masks, Gloves, Hand Sanitizer, Disinfectant, Wipes and Plastic bags (remote control)
- Give travelers a voice. Capture sentiment after each trip. Conduct short & frequent surveys. Use the feedback to make program improvements.
- Update policy to support flexibility on supplier choices.
- Set travel thresholds. Acknowledge road warriors with a day off or a gift card with a health and wellness theme.
Recent innovations in duty of care have solved for some of the challenges of the past. Manual, one-dimensional processes and fragmented content sources have been replaced with smart, automated systems and solutions that work seamlessly across the program. These technologies include:
- Automated trip authorization
- Interactive security maps
- Location-based risk notifications
- Native mobile apps with real-time information
- ‘I’m Safe’ mobile check in capabilities
Webinar: What story do the numbers tell?
In times of uncertainty, policies are put to the test. Thankfully, that’s why managed travel programs are here. Did your crisis management plan stand the test of time? Are your senior leaders expecting you to have it all figured out? Is your travel program ready for what’s next? In this webinar we:
- Recap the gradual shutdown of travel
- Share survey responses from travel managers all over the world
- Highlight new areas within your travel and risk program you should prioritize today
- Discuss what travel will look like as borders start to reopen
What you can do
What BCD Travel is doing
When travel bans are lifted and health organizations withdraw their travel warnings, corporations will need to step in and assure travelers of their safety.
Global Chief Operating Officer and Chief Commercial Officer, BCD Travel