HONG KONG, CHINA–(Marketwired – Nov 29, 2017) – International SOS today reveals the latest insights into the actions and attitudes of business decision-makers when it comes to the health, safety and security of their global mobile workforce. The Ipsos MORI Global Business Resilience Trends Watch 2018 survey, now in its second year, reveals that the perception of risk remains elevated and while organisations are increasingly implementing prevention and mitigation measures there are still opportunities for improvement as major strategic aspects are being missed.
International SOS and Control Risks launch the latest edition of its award-winning Travel Risk Mapi. The digital map includes revised risk ratings and social sharing enhancements. Risk ratings are the reason why 42% of organisations modified travel itineraries in 2017ii.
The survey found that travel plans were changed, predominantly, due to concerns over security threats (58%), followed by natural disasters (43%). This was consistent across the globe, apart from the Americas where natural disasters was first and security threats second. At a global level these are followed by travel risk ratings (42%) and civil unrest (34%).
Perception of Risk Remains at an Elevated Level
63% of business decision-makers perceive travel risks to have increased in the past year, reflecting a global softening from 72% in the previous year. However, the Americas and Australasia regions stand out with 78% and 72% respectively reporting increased risk in 2017. Risk rating changes on the latest edition of the Travel Risk Map include increase risk in some areas of the Caribbean and Puerto Rico due to the effects of the hurricanes and a decrease in risk in some European countries thanks to improved standards of medical care.
Striving for Business Resilience
While the preventative agenda in medical and travel risk mitigation is clearly on the rise, the survey reveals that a strategic and far-reaching view may currently be a missed opportunity by many organisations. Only 9% of organisations updated their sustainability programme to include their travel risk policy and just 10% introduced a wellbeing policy, falling at the bottom of the risk mitigation techniques implemented in 2017.
Dr Irene Lai, Medical Director of Information and Analysis for International SOS, says “A staggering 91% of organisations have potentially not included their travel risk programme in their overall business sustainability programme and 90% are seemingly ignoring the impact a wellbeing policy could have on their travelling workforce. This is despite an increasing understanding of how these techniques can impact within the context of the GRI Index.iii”
Opportunities for future business resilience through a robust travel risk mitigation programme
Updated sustainability programme to include travel risk programme
Introduced a wellbeing policy
Monitored the number of road traffic incidents
Updated travel risk policy to include diversity-related issues (e.g. LGBT, female travellers, travellers with disabilities)
Implemented a programme for people to understand existing health issues while away on business
Rob Walker, security expert at International SOS & Control Risks, comments, “Success in future global mobility programmes will be those that include consideration of the changing demographic of the mobile workforce and new marketplace dynamics, including the increase in use of shared economy services. The immediate obvious risks, such as the recent hurricanes and unforeseeable security incidents, will see organisations scrutinised in terms of preventative measures and recovery.”
Risk Response & Challenges
Organisations continue to introduce risk mitigation techniquesiv. The most frequent step taken in response to travel health and security concerns is the introduction of pre-trip and during trip emails, with 39% of decision makers reporting to have introduced this in 2017. However, organisations still face barriers in ensuring the health and security of travellers, with educating employees (53%) the most common challenge in ensuring the health and security of travellers, followed by with employees in a crisis, and ensuring they have read pre-travel informationv ( both 44%).
Dr Lai, continues, “As threats, such as the plague in Madagascar, can be fast moving, timely insight is critical to travellers and organisations to avoid potentially disastrous consequences.”
“It is promising to see that risk mitigation techniques are being prioritised, including annual health check up’s, which can be key to spotting any potential health issues that need managing prior to travel or assignments. As organisations continue to review and enhance their processes, it is important that new actions to promote a safe, healthy and well workforce are taken into account to help support and strengthen business resilience.”
View the Travel Risk Map at https://www.internationalsos.com/travelriskmap. International SOS and Control Risks will host webinars based on the key global issues and emerging trends in December 2017. The webinars are open to the public and you can register here.
Global Business Resilience Trends Watch is an Ipsos Mori research study conducted among 667 business decision-makers, across all types of organisations which have had previous contact relating to business travel health and security with International SOS, across 69 countries. Research was conducted online in the period October 2nd to October 20th 2017. Respondents were those who organise, influence or are responsible for their organisation’s travel and risk mitigation policies. Security professionals accounted for 17% of the sample, with HSE and HR staffers comprising the next biggest segments, on 15% each.
Notes to Editors:
The Analysis Behind the Travel Risk Map:
Medical Risk Ratings are determined by the International SOS Medical Information and Analysis team by assessing a range of health risks and mitigating factors including: infectious diseases, environmental factors, medical evacuation data, the standard of available local emergency medical and dental care, access to quality pharmaceutical supplies, and cultural, language or administrative barriers. Individual country medical risk ratings are determined via a proprietary algorithm based on 24 indicators with content coming from public data sources and the first-hand knowledge of International SOS Regional Medical Directors. Definitions or medical risk ratings are available at www.internationalsos.com/travelriskmap.
Travel security risk ratings are developed by International SOS and Control Risks and are based on the current threat posed to travellers and international assignees by political violence (including terrorism, insurgency, politically motivated unrest and war), social unrest (including sectarian, communal and ethnic violence) as well as violent and petty crime. Other factors, such as the robustness of the transport infrastructure, the state of industrial relations, the effectiveness of the security and emergency services and the country’s susceptibility to natural disasters are also considered where they are of sufficient magnitude to impact the overall risk environment for travellers. Definitions of travel security risk ratings are available at www.internationalsos.com/travelriskmap
About International SOS and Control Risks
Our alliance brings together two of the world’s leading medical and security specialists, International SOS and Control Risks. Our combined resources and expertise are well placed to meet the customers’ growing need for integrated travel security risk services. Our solutions ensure that mobile employees are safe and productive and help employers with their duty of care obligations. 50 dedicated experts, located across the globe with access to over 200 dedicated travel security experts through 27 regional assistance centres and a partner network of over 700 accredited providers, produce global travel security information and analysis 24/7. We also provide travel security training, preventative travel assessment, support with the development of travel security risk policies, evacuation plans and the latest technology to enable clients to track and communicate with their mobile employees. i The Travel Risk Map, the industry’s first integrated medical and travel security risk map, provides a comprehensive overview of medical and travel security risks by destination.
ii In 2017, 42% of decision-makers changed corporate travel plans due to risk ratings, compared with 32% in 2016, Finding from the Ipsos MORI Global Business Resilience Trends Watch 2018 and Business Travel Risks & Realities 2017survey respectively.
iii Sancroft and International SOS Foundation ‘Occupational Health & Safety and Workplace Wellness Reporting Guidelines for a Global Workforce: A Practical Guide for Internationally Operating Employers’.
Top 6 techniques introduced in response to medical and security risk concerns
1) Introduced pre-trip and during trip advisory emails
2) Included travel risk assessment in travel approval process
3) Implemented travel safety training and security training
4) Provided annual health check-up’s
5) Updated travel risk policy (excluding diversity related issues)
6) Implemented programmes to locate travellers
Top 5 Challenges in securing the safety and security of the mobile workforce
1) Educating employees about travel risks
2) Confirming employees have read pre-travel information
3) Communicating with employees during a crisis
4) Tracking employee travel
5) Having adequate resources to manage health and security efforts