More often than not, business engagements will take you out of your country to another one. Businessmen and women travel in and out of different countries every day. Staying safe during these trips may require you to hire private security services.
Whether it’s a business meeting with investors or a business conference or training, an event will definitely take you to another province. You have to constantly travel to remain relevant in this highly competitive business world.
New countries mean new territories you are not used to. Therefore, it makes perfect sense if you have some safety concerns about where you’re travelling to. A different country from yours will have its laws and resources that are different from your own. You need to familiarize yourself with the laws of your destination.
Of course, different rules apply in different places. To that end, we are going to share some important corporate travel safety tips with you. These tips will help you enjoy safe and pleasant trips. However, before we do, you need to understand why travel security is so important.
The need for a corporate security plan
Like we said earlier, it is almost inevitable for you to travel and do business on a global level in modern times. Modern times also come with criminal and terrorist threats all around the globe. This makes it very important that there are corporate travel safety plans in place for your corporations.
Most companies have some written policies as regards employee travel. The travel policies are directed majorly to address financial rules like the costs and reimbursements for hotels, expenses of airline used to travel as well as other fiscal issues.
Most of these policies don’t include security, and it should. Better still, companies involved should have separate policies governing travel safety.
Depending on the size of your company, plans for corporate travel security can be done either internally, externally or both. While some companies outsource their corporate-travel-protection, larger companies sometimes hire in-house travel safety officers. Sometimes they also bring in security travel specialists and rely on expertise for the implementation and maintenance of corporate travel safety.
Studies show that many employees embark on international trips without a security review. Without sufficient advanced notification of employee travel plans, threat assessment, and logistical planning to support safe travel are impossible.
Improving the security of travelling workers relies on the extent to which different players fill the security aspects of their broader assignment. The in-house security team, external consultants and the employees, must all work together to ensure safety during business trips.
Components of a corporate security plan
The laws vary from county to county. Nonetheless, your employer, in most cases, is burdened with a legal responsibility, often called “duty of care,” to ensure your safety while travelling.
Savvy employers provide their travellers with training, emergency contact information and regular updates on weather and transportation interruptions, particularly for employees travelling to high-risk destinations.
However, not all employers do this properly. Most companies do not offer basic training detailing safety information, emergency, medical contacts and tips on avoiding food poisoning.
To travel safely today, you need to have an efficient corporate security plan. There are some important components that a corporate security plan must comprise. They include
Before we discuss other components of a corporate security plan, a travel policy must be fully established. It must be in existence. Also, simple, plain and highly comprehensible must be used to write a travel policy language.
It should also clearly outline the company’s corporate travel regulations. It needs to be easily accessible. It should be available on the company’s internal website. Aside from containing the details about airfare, travel preparations and hotel standards, it should also contain emergency contact for a travel command center or a third-party emergency center.
It should be exhaustingly comprehensive. So much so that after reading it, all employers will clearly understand it and know how to get assistance if the need arises. The policy should also define and prescribe employee conduct during trips.
A travel security plan should have a systematic model that helps to identify and classify risky travel areas. It should classify areas based on the level of security your employees can face.
An effective corporate travel security plan should identify regions of high crime rates, military conflicts, health concerns, political unrest and even potential threats of natural disasters. This method of risk assessment should be made easily available to the employees. It should be put on the company’s internal website and company brochures.
Effective communication with travelling employees, keeping track of their whereabouts, and extending help to them if necessary are all important parts of an organization’s effort to protect employees from harm.
Hence, communication is exponential in a travel safety policy. The program should explain the communication procedures available to the employees. The travelling employees should also be provided with toll-free phone numbers for both domestic and international travels.
Communication protocols are critical to any corporate travel security program. The line of communication must be on at all times during any travel. Also, rely on your fellow employees for intelligence.
If your company uses an internal social networking tool, chat with other employees who frequently travel to your destination about tips, good places to eat and other insider information that will keep you safe. You should also open a line of communication to private security services.
A company’s corporate travel security program should include training sessions for the employees. There should be ongoing training for employees several times during the year. The structure of these trainings can be flexible, but it must be a permanent fixture.
It can be done with people being present, or it can be via basic online training. The system of teaching should allow employers to record and track members of their employees partaking in training.
One of the major reasons for a travel security plan is to have a record of travelling members of the company. Travel tracking is essential. A travel security program should provide monitoring duties for every trip the company undertakes.
All the above components would be useless without the travel security program’s ability to respond to the crisis. There must be an effective method of responding to crisis. The response should be available to employees at all times in every part of the globe.
The crisis response technique should include provision for events such as security for the employee, accommodation, evacuation and medical assistance.
Related article: Toronto Home Security Tips
Travel Security Tips for Toronto companies
The major travel security tip for companies is to have a corporate travel security program. If you don’t have one, you can contract the services of a private security agency in Toronto to draw one up.
Nonetheless, there are other tips necessary which accompany the components of travel security we have discussed earlier. They are:
Carry out adequate research
Before a company sends any of their employees to any country, state or province outside Canada, there is a need to research the beliefs, culture and attitude of the country towards visitors. This is important for many reasons. What you consider to be a polite gesture can mean a totally different thing where you’re going to.
Some local places may not be necessarily welcoming of you based on preconceived beliefs they might have. Therefore, you need to be in the know of any existing complications based on the culture of your destination.
Find out as much as possible about where you’re going before you make the trip. The fact that an app works well in your home country doesn’t automatically mean it’s going to work in the country you are travelling to.
It is solely your responsibility to research on a replacement app that works perfectly in the destination country.
Learn about their culture, religious beliefs, their laws, diseases that are in their country, their relationship with your own country if any. If there’s an ongoing conflict between the country you’re headed and your own country, it is advisable to put the trip off.
Find a safe place to stay
This begins with proper research, make sure you do your homework well as regards accommodation. Most businesses will have ratings and reviews if you check online.
This will help you have an idea of how safe that environment is for you. You can ask people you know who have visited that area you’re travelling to for recommendations. Take their word for it when they tell you where you should or should not stay.
You should also find out details from sources online and your personal contact in your destination country. Learn about how safe the community is, what the proximity of the hotel is to emergency help centers like hospitals and nearness to your reason for travelling. You should also know how accessible your accommodation is to public and private means of transportation.
Bring emergency items
You should always prepare for the unexpected. Emergency situations can arise at any point in time, and it is better to be prepared for them than to be caught off guard.
There are a few items that you would find very helpful in the face of emergencies.
You should endeavour to travel with the following essentials:
- Backup passports or proof of a passport
- A map of the area and a compass
- First aid kit or items
- Backup of important contact information
- International pagers & international phone plans
- A passport that is unexpired or not due to expire
- Extra cash
Don’t be An easy target
It is easy for travellers to be easily exploited or taken advantage of. This is because foreigners can be easy targets for fraudsters. Locals in some places don’t take well to tourists. They even go as far as devising ways to rob them. Some even go as far as assaulting or enslaving them for human trafficking.
Try and much as possible to blend in with the people in the community you’re visiting. Dress modestly and avoid expensive jewelry. This will make you less of a target to thieves. Try and avoid looking like a tourist or a wealthy person.
Except when it’s totally necessary, don’t go anywhere alone and avoid unpopulated areas. People looking to rob or harm others will target underpopulated places and people who are alone or aloof.
Stay aware of your surroundings.
Always be alert when you are out in open spaces and stay aware of your environment. It is better for you to be aware of your surroundings and be prepared before situations come to the fore. When dealing with unfavourable situations, having situational awareness is expedient to ensure you come out on top of that situation.
Ensure to watch out for suspicious behaviour around you. Always be on the lookout for it. The moment you notice any questionable behaviour, remove yourself from the situation immediately.
Avoid areas that may be infected with diseases or illnesses. Be careful of what you consume. Don’t accept food or drinks from strangers.
On no account should you give away real or personal information about yourself to anyone. Do not reveal where you are staying while in a foreign city to anybody. When unsure, you should probably say no and refrain from whatever it is that you are unsure about.
Employees, of course, have their part to play where travel safety is concerned. You, as a travelling employee, bears a share of the responsibility for your safety while travelling on business. Follow your company’s travel policy to the letter.
Sure, you might prefer booking your trip on your own rather than through your company’s agency, but booking through the agency gives your employer data on where you are so you can be reached in the event of emergencies.
Ensure you follow all of the tips discussed in this article before and during your travels. If your company does not have the ability to support its own travel security program, it is advised that they employ a security consultant.
A security consultant will be experienced on how to implement all of the components necessary for your corporate travel safety. Here, we offer companies personalized security guards and consultation services for international travel. Get in touch with us today!
Have a safe trip!