Staff health and security under spotlight in travel risk report
Written by staff reporter
Following a year of heightened security risk, International SOS has published a new Ipsos MORI survey of global business leaders that charts and maps heightened travel concerns. It says two in three business leaders believe travelling has become more dangerous in the last year; and found that travel plans were changed predominantly due to concerns over security threats, followed by natural disasters.
International SOS today reveals the latest insights into the actions and attitudes of business decision-makers when it comes to the health, safety and security of their global mobile workforce. The Ipsos MORI Global Business Resilience Trends Watch 2018 survey, now in its second year, reveals that the perception of risk remains elevated and while organisations are increasingly implementing prevention and mitigation measures there are still opportunities for improvement as major strategic aspects are being missed.
At the same time, International SOS has also launched the latest edition of its award-winning Travel Risk Map. The digital map, produced with Control Risks, includes revised risk ratings and social sharing enhancements. Risk ratings are the reason why 42% of organisations modified travel itineraries in 2017.
The survey found that travel plans were changed, predominantly, due to concerns over security threats (58%), followed by natural disasters (43%). This was consistent across the globe, apart from the Americas where natural disasters was first and security threats second. At a global level these are followed by country risk ratings (42%) and civil unrest (34%).
63% of business decision makers perceive travel risks to have increased in the past year, reflecting a global softening from 72% in the previous year. However, the Americas and Australasia regions stand out with 78% and 72% respectively reporting increased risk in 2017. Risk rating changes on the latest edition of the Travel Risk Map include increase risk in some areas of the Caribbean and Puerto Rico due to the effects of the hurricanes and a decrease in risk in some European countries thanks to improved standards of medical care.
While the preventative agenda in medical and travel risk mitigation is clearly on the rise, the survey reveals that a strategic and far-reaching view may currently be a missed opportunity by many organisations. Only 9% of organisations updated their sustainability programme to include their travel risk policy and just 10% introduced a wellbeing policy, falling at the bottom of the risk mitigation techniques implemented in 2017.
Group medical director of Health Intelligence for International SOS, Dr Doug Quarry, said: “A staggering 91% of organisations have potentially not included their travel risk programme in their overall business sustainability programme and 90% are seemingly ignoring the impact a wellbeing policy could have on their travelling workforce. This is despite an increasing understanding of how these techniques can impact
Rob Walker, security expert at International SOS & Control Risks, comments, “Success in future global mobility programmes will be those that include consideration of the changing demographic of the mobile workforce and new marketplace dynamics, including the increase in use of shared economy services. The immediate obvious risks, such as the recent hurricanes and unforeseeable security incidents, will see organisations scrutinised in terms of preventative measures and recovery.”
Organisations continue to introduce risk mitigation techniques. The most frequent step taken in response to travel health and security concerns is the introduction of pre-trip and during trip emails, with 39% of decision makers reporting to have introduced this in 2017.
However, organisations still face barriers in ensuring the health and security of travellers, with educating employees about travel risk (53%) the most common challenge in ensuring the health and security of travellers, followed by communicating with employees in a crisis, and ensuring they have read pre-travel information (both 44%).
Dr Quarry, continues, “As threats, such as the plague in Madagascar, can be fast moving, timely insight is critical to travellers and organisations to avoid potentially disastrous consequences.”
“It is promising to see that risk mitigation techniques are being prioritised, including annual health check up’s, which can be key to spotting any potential health issues that need managing prior to travel or assignments. As organisations continue to review and enhance their processes, it is important that new actions to promote a safe, healthy and well workforce are taken into account to help support and strengthen business resilience.”
The Trends Watch research study was conducted among 667 business decision makers, across all types of organisations across 69 countries. Research was conducted online in October 2017. Respondents were those who organise, influence or are responsible for their organisation’s travel and risk mitigation policies. Security professionals accounted for 17% of the sample, with HSE and HR staffers comprising the next biggest segments, on 15% each.