While companies have a legal and moral obligation to protect their travellers (outlined in their duty of care programme), it is also your traveller’s responsibility not to put themselves deliberately in harm’s way. This can be referred to as “duty of loyalty” and where the responsibility lies.
Duty of loyalty is not always top of mind for business travellers. A recent study conducted by On Call International shows that one in four business travellers admit to binge drinking while on business trips. Other travellers might neglect the advice received by their company prior to travelling at considerable risk to their personal safety. As an example, in some countries it is not advised for women to take a taxi on their own. This kind of advice should never be ignored.
Business Travel Report indicates that over a third of travellers never do any research on their destination and a significant 78% never carry an emergency phone number.
This behaviour should cause great concern for employers. Not only does it pose substantial risks to your employees’ personal safety, but could also lead to lawsuits that threaten your company’s reputation.
Most employees don’t tend to indulge in unruly behaviour, but travellers can be complacent about the risks they face, which is equally problematic. Your travellers have a key role to play in a successful Travel Risk Management. They have a responsibility to comply with your travel risk policy, book through the authorised channels, provide you with up-to-date emergency contacts and engage in low-risk behaviour during their trip.
Providing a stand-alone travel risk policy can send out a clear message that your company takes duty of care very seriously. It should outline your organisation’s commitment to managing risk for travellers, as well as detail what is expected of them, both before and during their trip. Document unauthorised activities and behaviour in your policy and get your travellers to sign it.
That way, if your traveller does participate in anything that is off limits, the company cannot be held responsible as this is seen as "out of policy". It can also lead to a disciplinary hearing, especially if there are additional costs involved to your company.
You need to strive to align duty of care and duty of loyalty in an effective way that will benefit both your traveller and your company and keep everyone safe.