Duty of Care! And what next?
Updated: Dec 22, 2022
Does this sound familiar to you? You open a newspaper in the morning! The cover story features a natural disaster or, alternatively, describes recent political unrest in a distant country. You may also read about a new virus, or about a terrorist attack anywhere in the world. Shortly thereafter the same comes on TV, on radio a
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So far, so normal!
Later this day you may finally get a call from your boss! "Did you hear that? Does this affect us? What should we do? "What are you doing?" What if ...? »
The same questions a shortly later when you meet the CFO in the canteen.
You may now try to structure your thoughts before answering:
"But Mr. Doe from sales knows best where his people are!",
"Don't worry, our colleagues in China certainly know much better what is going on around them!",
"If something really goes wrong, our insurance will pay for the damage / wasn’t there a hotline available for these kind of things? "
"I'll check the website of my department of foreign affairs!",
"But we don't have any customers there, do we?",
«We may have to cancel our client event in country XYZ? Who is paying for that?»,
"Common, all will be fine, that’s not my affair”,
"Isn’t Mrs. Müller in charge of travel bookings, I'll shall check with her".
Two days later
All the above seems to be distant and forgotten by now. No one is mentioning these events anymore. Business as usual is back. Was there anything?
Nevertheless, you cannot let go the topic. Why, every time these things happen, are you so overwhelmed and apparently out of control of things? Your company has been operating successfully in international environments for more than 50 years now, 50% of its workforce is constantly on the move and highly experienced. Intuitively, you are sure that your organization is very well prepared to such situations.
You are right, experience shows that most SMEs are well positioned when it comes to protect traveling employees. On one hand, many in the company have extensive experience and employees often intuitively do the right thing. On the other hand, in many cases they have resources and procedures in place to mitigate risk - albeit these are not always obvious. Yes, colleagues may feel responsible, supervisors may of course stand by their colleagues, and when in doubt, safety always beats revenue.
Most managers who have to deal with the topic face difficulties in defining, recognizing, structuring and institutionalizing existing resources. A typical fail for example is the wrong (or none) allocation of responsibilities, alongside with non-adequate communication to managers and employees.
Of course, most people managers are aware the relevant legal obligations related to the protection of traveling employees. These legal provisions exist in any country in the world and require employers to take all necessary preventive measures to ensure the physical integrity and health of employees. Unfortunately, these legal standards do not specify how this to be achieved.
Where to start?
In a simple, two-hour lasting workshop, we’ll work with you and your team to identify the essential components of your own Duty of Care program. We don’t want you to spend money and time on things not right for you, which you may already have or which may not improve your ability to better respond to threats affecting your mobile staff. Together with you and your management colleagues we’ll find out what already works well, where you stand today and what simple and realistic measures are necessary to you.