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People Risk Management – Translating Rhetoric into Reality
April 19, 2017
“Our people are our most valuable asset.”You see it on websites. You’ve heard business leaders say it in public forums. It or a similar statement is probably in your company’s employee handbook.Businesses do have duty of care obligations to safeguard their employees. And most companies have sophisticated safety programs in place to protect workers in dangerous or hazardous jobs.However, relatively few businesses have comprehensive risk management programs designed to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of all of their employees, at all times. Instead, “people risk management” in many organizations typically covers compliance or conduct risk; the consequences of employees not following corporate policies, procedures or rules.Another indication of the relative priority of people risk management within an organization is how it supports employees traveling for business. For instance, the primary resource many organizations offer their business travelers is a 24-hour hotline they can call if, say, their flight is canceled.That’s certainly useful. But is it enough?A long way from homeIn today’s highly globalized economy, companies are doing business in more locations and in more far-flung corners of the world.And yet, according to research sponsored by International SOS:
- 80 percent of travelers had concerns about safety abroad, but less than half research security issues pre-travel
- 71 percent of senior executives had medical problems abroad, but only 15 percent assess healthcare pre-travel
- Nearly 1 in 3 trips abroad are to countries with higher risk ratings than the traveler’s home country.
Also, risk by definition is amplified whenever someone is away from his/her home base. We’ve all had some – maybe many – testing experiences when traveling to a different city or country.There can be language or cultural issues. Luggage can be lost or money stolen. Access to quality healthcare in an emergency may be limited. A traveler may not know where it’s unsafe for an outsider to venture. Transit strikes, civil strife or natural disasters can create chaos.