Only a quarter of SMEs routinely conduct risk assessments when employees travel

Just one in four SMEs say they only conduct risk assessments if an employee is travelling to an area deemed particularly high risk, according to a new study.

The research, by marketing and insurance providers Collinson Group, found that the problem was exacerbated in larger corporate businesses, with more than half (53%) saying they only carried out risk assessment for journeys to high risk areas.

This is despite the fact that almost three quarters (73%) of HR professionals at large corporates say that sending employees abroad has become more difficult and more complicated from a duty of care perspective. 44% of SMEs agreed with that statement.

All companies have a legal duty of care towards their employees, irrespective of their size. This can be particularly important when sending employees on business-related trips abroad. It’s essential to have the right cover in place but contingency planning and an ability to provide assistance on the move can also be very important.

Around a third (36%) of business travellers surveyed said that the guidance they received from their employers before travelling was ‘standardised and does not relate to my specific business travel needs or risks’.

A similar proportion (34%) said the information provided sufficiently covered their needs, meaning two-thirds of business travellers felt the information and guidance they were given was not sufficient. 15% said they were not aware of any official guidance at all.

From the businesses’ point of view, 47% of HR professionals at larger businesses and 40% of SMEs said they ensured employees were issued with company guidelines regarding safety and security in the form of pre-travel briefings.

Most businesses that required employees to travel had a corporate travel risk partner in place alongside a travel management company. Only one in 10 larger corporates and one in 20 SMEs did not.

A far higher proportion of businesses reported that their own corporate travel policy did not incorporate a risk management strategy however. Some 25% of large businesses and 31% of SMEs did not have such a strategy in place.

By Phil Smith

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