More and more businesses, in addition to travel management companies, are starting to focus on travel risk management for their business travellers. Unfortunately many incorrectly believe their focus should be on travel security when in fact they should be focused on travel safety.
The laws, standards and regulations relating to both safety and risk management are very well developed…whereas security at domestic and international levels has little to no structure nor consistent application for commercial business entities or people. Therefore pursuit of so called “travel security” standards is both incorrect and dangerous for businesses and travellers alike. Compliance and travel risk management should therefore be safety based in order to align with well developed standards and legal obligations.
Travel risk management should be inclusive of potential productivity loss associated with business travel, financial considerations, the impact business travel has upon the business and the individual’s appropriateness or preparedness for undertaking specific business trips. All these elements will require input and direction from various departments within the business. It’s therefore also not exclusively safety either.
It does not mean that security can not support travel safety. For example, there may be a necessity for security as applicable to physical protection, information technology, intellectual property, brand reputation along with other sub categories managed by security specialists. However, the governing travel risk management process sits within safety when managing people risk. In short, if a company does not have a personalised travel safety system…it will NOT have an effective travel risk management system.
Products and services that exclusively focus on security or those that emphasise travel security or information, are not “fit for purpose”. Buyers and users should also be wary of claims that specific solutions are “duty of care” related as the majority have little to no safety or risk management compliance.
When it comes to travel risk management, it’s impossible to assume that one department can oversee and monitor all the aspects associated. While one department may assume an advisory role and perhaps ongoing management, they are not the owners of the overall systems and the processes.
All business travel must pass through the same travel safety process in order to prove a trip’s safety level, regardless of the destination or assumptions. If you can’t prove it…it’s not safe. Only with a specific assessment can you prove travel risk management.