The risks to traveling personnel that come from their jobs are, quite correctly, a concern for their employers. But there is an important aspect to employee safety that is often overlooked — namely the threats originating from the environment in which the staff member is traveling through or carrying out their work.
In this sense, threats may come from a host of different sources that include the local geography, disease and illness due to pollution or unsanitary conditions, local crime, political upheaval or even terrorism, which may be an increasing risk as companies look to expand into foreign markets.
How can companies address this ever present and developing problem in the same way that all other health and safety aspects are addressed — through travel security training?
Some employers don’t realize that the appropriate training can give an employee a considerable amount of control over a challenging or unfamiliar environment, which in turn, enables him or her to vastly reduce the risks it poses to them — and, by extension, to the company.
Others may see training as an unnecessary and unwanted expense, countering that experience is the important thing but overlooking the salient fact that experience is by definition, retroactive as well as a matter of luck. More importantly, they do not focus on the fact that there are direct and quantifiable business results from this investment that far outweigh the actual cost of training.
Through training, risks to the company assets (employees and facilities) are reduced — and therefore so are the costs. Operations are more effective because employees who have greater control over their environment are more productive and less distracted by their concerns about safety.
Employee relations and commitment have been shown to improve when employers make this investment in their staff, and because staff turnover costs companies a great deal money, significant results are seen here, too.
Teams work better together when they know they can rely on each other in a crisis. And the employer has an opportunity to fulfill its ‘duty of care’ by taking account of not only training for the job, but also for a challenging environment. This, in turn, decreases company liability. Shareholders appreciate the commitment to staff safety and corporate communications are enhanced.
A corporate commitment to travel security training also attracts the best employees, offering the company a competitive advantage over other businesses.
As the geopolitical maps continue to change and interact, companies looking to operate successfully in the more challenging regions of the World will want — need — to consider the way forward and understand that what looks at first to be a cost centre is in fact an important opportunity to improve staff safety, company operations and financial results — something no company will want to walk away from.