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Duty of Care

Duty of Care is the idea that Corporations are responsible for the security of their employees during travel and when engaged in activities that support the company’s interests. The European Union’s Duty of Care Act is the most prominent regulation in Europe to codify this requirement. The EU spells out how companies should behave regarding employee safety and security, but the United Kingdom took this a step further with the UK Manslaughter Act (Telegraph, 2011) that allows companies to be held criminally liable for harm that come to their employees. The regulation applies to UK employees abroad, or the non-UK Company employees while they are in the UK to conduct business.

These regulations jump-started the Duty of Care industry in Europe and North American Corporations are still playing catch-up. Duty of Care describes the set of behaviors, planning, and actions companies must take to safeguard their employees.

Duty of Loyalty is the concept of employee compliance with their employers’ efforts on their behalf. If a company makes a car service available, or requires employees to meet minimum safety guidelines, Duty of Loyalty is the force that compels an employee to meet those standards. Companies that go out of their way to create a high quality of life during employee travel and are proactive about serving travelers on the road will generate much higher loyalty. Companies undermine their employees’ loyalty through cumbersome or overly-restrictive policies and should strive to strike a balance that rewards loyal behavior while not driving the employee to another company.

Nature, crowds, and criminals can overpower people and technology. Travel departments manage population statistics and risk factors before an event occurs. Corporate Security takes over after an event; Travel Managers and Corporate Security must be partners to achieve the best outcomes.

Attitude is the most important ingredient for survival and security. Survivors share a realistic belief about their capabilities and likely outcomes. Survivors trust intuition and have the right attitude to take action. Awareness is another powerful ingredient. Awareness is the mental preparation and the dynamic evaluations people make as they move through space – often called situational awareness. Awareness isn’t sufficient to find a solution in high risk situations or events. Awareness is a starting point. High awareness gives you an edge and allows you to consider alternatives as risk increases, meanwhile attitude is the motivation layer that guides you to safety. Survivors thrive because they understand that 9-1-1 is never immediate – it’s only a back-up. Survivors with an Armored Attitude understand that Police and Fire Fighters are Second Responders.

Travelers must be their own First Responder. Cheerleaders are people who let their guard down when the cavalry shows up (Sherwood, 2009). Survivors keep going, they don’t stop fighting until there are no choices left to make. In Tim Larkin’s book, How to Survive the Most Critical 5 Seconds of your Life, (Larkin & Ranck-Buhr, 2009) Tim asks how you would feel if a muscle-bound 300 pound man was paid to harm you? He doesn’t ask if you could defeat this opponent, only if you could “touch” him. It’s easy to imagine that you could put your hands on him, but harder for most people to envision walking away from the encounter. Tim teaches you how. It’s that attitude that gives travelers an edge. Tim’s program, TargetFocusTraining, teaches exceptional skills to average people that will help them develop an Armored Attitude.

Violent weather, mechanical failures, bad luck, criminal mischief, and civil unrest swallow targets everyday on any part of the globe. No matter where a threat comes from or what form it may take, an Armored Attitude combined with good situational awareness will give you an edge that may be the difference between an interview with you than an interview about you.

Initial Steps for Travel Management Teams

Every manager is responsible for employee safety at work, including trips between sites that don’t flow through the travel management group. Trips between a manufacturing plant and a supplier nearby fall into this category, but your organization may also be liable when a traveler tacks on a private tour to Petra, Jordan, after attending a conference in Istanbul. Travel Management and Corporate Security should work together to provide reports and business reviews that cover travel risk, employee health, on-duty accidents, and ‘near’ misses, to a steering committee that includes representation from Executive, Human Resources, Legal and other operating divisions and groups as necessary. At a minimum…

  1. Establish policies to protect travelers in high-risk locations and mission-essential personnel anywhere.
  2. Create procedures for travelers to add passive segments easily. Use this as a KPI to measure Duty of Loyalty and report it across the organization.
  3. Provide travelers with information about potential threats several days before travel.
  4. Publish information about after-hours service to support medical or travel emergencies and include phone numbers for international access.
  5. Publish your security team’s phone number and distribute it with every itinerary.
  6. Implement a traveler education program.


Create Duty of Loyalty

A sound Duty of Care program arms your employees with knowledge, skills, and resources to avoid problems on the road and respond appropriately when something breaks down. Employee training must focus on specific risks your top travelers may face. They need to know about the support available and who to call for help. Duty of Care must be traveler-centric, it’s not about management policies – focus on employee outcomes.


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