Larger corporates twice as likely to conduct risk assessments if employees travel to high-risk areas than SMEs

13 April 2016
Double the number of HR professionals at larger corporates than SMEs (53% compared to 25%) say that they conduct risk assessments only if the employee is travelling to an area deemed high risk, according to the latest research(1) from Collinson.

Asked if their business has a corporate travel risk partner in place in addition to a travel management company (TMC) the research also found that one in 10 of larger corporates and one in 20 SME's did not. Furthermore, a quarter (25%) of larger corporates and just under a third (31%) of SMEs reported that they did not have a risk management strategy contained within their own corporate travel policy.

In terms of pre-travel briefings under half (47%) of HR professionals at larger corporates said they ensure employees are issued with company guidelines with regards to safety and security when travelling on business, reducing to 40% for SMEs.

A similar number of larger corporates and SMEs (28% and 23% respectively) agreed that 'internal coordination of responsibility' was the most challenging aspect of sending people overseas on business. However clarifying the risks presented by different locations was another top concern for both business types (22% of corporates and 25% of SMEs).

A further quarter (24%) of larger corporates cited 'staying ahead of risk drivers' as the most challenging aspect, as opposed to just 10% of SMEs.

Almost three quarters (73%) of HR professionals at larger corporates either strongly agreed or agreed that the process of sending employees abroad has got more complicated and difficult from a Duty of Care perspective over the last 12 months whereas less than half  (44%) of SMEs felt this way. Moreover, among the former 65% anticipated it getting more complicated over the next 12 months against 44% for SMEs. 

Separate research(2) commissioned by Collinson among business travellers found that over a third (36%) described the information and guidance received from their company pre-travel as; 'standardised and does not relate to my specific business travel needs or risks'. A similar number (34%) said the information provided 'sufficiently' met their needs whereas 15% said they were not aware of any formal guidance at all.

Randall Gordon-Duff, Head of Product, Corporate Travel, Collinson, said: "All companies have a Duty of Care towards employees irrespective of their size. What constitutes 'best practice' for each can depend on a range of variables, such as budget, risk appetite and the particular business travel requirements of individual firms. However, affordable solutions that reflect diverse needs are readily available and can be easily tailored to fit.

"Our research identified a lack of resource dedicated to risk management within some corporate travel policies (either in-house or outsourced). Given the evolving nature of risk globally it has become more critical than ever that employees sent abroad on business are protected and, importantly feel confident in their employer's ability to provide assistance on the move if needed. Now is a very good time for businesses large and small to review and reassess their current and projected traveller profiles, associated policies and their subsequent approach to Duty of Care requirements."

Collinson recently launched 360 Assistance, a unique assistance solution to help corporate clients proactively manage their Duty of Care towards employees who undertake international business travel.  360 Assistance is a fully integrated medical and security advice and emergency response service aimed at corporates employing frequent business travellers, short-term assignees or expatriate workers.  It has been designed to help users in any situation, in any time zone around the world through Collinson's extensive global network.

1 Research conducted by Atomik Research among 103 HR professionals in December 2015 - 52 respondents were from SMEs (firms with less than 250 employees) and 51 from larger corporates (those with more than 250 employees).

2 UK Consumer Omnibus conducted by Opinium Research between 4th to 8th December 2015 among 2,005 nationally representative adults.

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