Risk Intelligence, Travel Risk Management

A Higher Standard for Travel Risk Management

By Aaron Kuhn

It’s long been understood that employers have a moral responsibility for the safety and security of their people. In recent years, this obligation has taken on increased significance with the legal and financial consequences inherent in travel risk management (TRM).

Many organizations limit TRM to corporate travel and overseas assignments. But it’s a fallacy to design risk management systems that apply only when an employee is away from home.

In the United States, corporate responsibility is typically (and expensively) tested through lawsuits. A number of European countries have enacted laws that govern duty of care, and several U.S. States have followed their lead. While managing the impact of risk to employees was never really optional, the repercussions of inadequate preparation are being more clearly felt.

Often it’s a tragic or near-tragic incident that spotlights the need for a fully-integrated TRM program. The stakes are high when consequences come in the form of human lives, financial loss, and damage to trust and reputation. Planning and processes need to be in place well before a critical event happens.

It’s Time to De-silo Risk Management

Travel risk management is more than the right thing to do; a patched-together approach is as good as no program at all. In many organizations the heavy lifting is done in HR, but risk management has to be a company-wide concern. A robust protection program empowers multiple interdependent departments and functions.

When TRM was the purview of travel planners, it involved risk awareness, lists of contact numbers, and contracted support services for those personnel traveling to high-risk destinations. Now, companies are being held to account for any harm to an employee on company time, and the accountability test is “foreseeable risk.” As with organizational risk management, being uninformed or unprepared isn’t a passable defense.

Planning is the crux of risk management in order to assure defensible coverage for all likely scenarios. We’ve seen clients with a number of different blueprints:

Limited scope. Some choose to confine risk planning and protection to overseas travel, in which case only a subset of employees receive attention. Your responsibility, however, extends to employees whether on-the-road or at their home office as well as their family members, members of your board, consultants, contractors, suppliers – even customers and visitors to your facilities.

Unbounded scope. In contrast, an approach that weighs equally every critical event in every time zone risks paralyzing the security team. Without proper focus, you could be overwhelmed by noise, slowing your ability to pinpoint truly relevant risks, rendering your team unable to respond adequately in a timely fashion.

Ad hoc. A program that relies on manual processes and disconnected systems can leave people anxiously awaiting assistance as response teams call around to reach the right decision makers.

Holistic and modern. A holistic program lives centrally and satisfies the needs of multiple groups within an organization including HR, travel, security, facilities, and operations. It also  integrates a full range of functions: Critical event detection, asset/employee correlation, training, pre-assignment briefings, travel planning, critical communications, and two-way multi-modal communications. OnSolve offers the only AI-powered solution to analyze threat severity and relevance, augment findings with on-the-ground intelligence, seamlessly communicate through multiple channels, and allow your team to build, test, and deploy response workflows.  

Eyes on Your World and a Plan to Protect

We believe implementing a sincere travel risk management program is, by necessity, two-pronged: A fine-tuned system for monitoring risk combined with fail-proof response mechanisms.

Monitoring Risk: Truly anticipating and preparing for risk requires real-time critical event intelligence. And this needs to be overlaid with data on the proximity and movement of your people. Only then can you focus resources on relevant precautions and targeted, timely alerts.

Response: Critical event response plans have little value in the absence of operational preparedness. This means having processes in place for locating, communicating with, assisting, and potentially extracting your people. And it needs to be done across borders, time zones, and governments.

Artificial Intelligence: The Backbone of your Risk Management Solution

It all begins with knowing. Only OnSolve Risk Intelligence has eyes on 53 critical event types around the world; reporting faster and with more clarity than previously thought possible. The genius of  OnSolve’s risk intelligence is the clarity it provides your team. You’re not patching together disparate systems to mind the status of those in your care. A single dashboard allows you to integrate stakeholders across the organization including HR, training, logistics, facilities, and your executive team. The intelligence you receive is weighed in the context of your company’s unique footprint of travel plans, events, offices, and logistics.

Travel and overseas assignments inherently increase risk factors, if for no other reason than uncertainty in an unfamiliar environment. With its continuous monitoring, the solution is a highly reliable resource for planning and pre-travel advisories. It also supports geo-fencing so you can map safe-zone parameters. You’ll have the data to back decisions about additional protection measures like GPS tracking and mobile-device panic buttons.

With artificial intelligence as the backbone of the solution, your holistic duty of care program becomes a marriage of technology and services. Actionable intelligence pinpoints trouble spots so you can equip employees with tracking and emergency communications while at the same time giving them control over levels of privacy. When you’re receiving relevant information faster, you can more effectively plan the right level of support and response.

Beyond the legal vulnerability of a meager duty of care program are consequences that can lead to loss of trust and productivity. For example, employee anxiety can translate into hesitancy to travel or relocate. This could mean potentially losing out on valuable face-to-face business opportunities. You’ll know your program is working when all personnel can confidently fulfill their duties knowing you’ve got their back.

The OnSolve Difference

OnSolve fuses broad coverage with unparalleled speed to bring you the most accurate, actionable picture of your world, allowing you to protect your people wherever they are.

Speed: The time between when an event happens and when it’s picked up by your team is called “time to detect” (TTD). Rapid TTD can make the difference between pre-warning personnel and reacting to an event in progress. In a comparison of TTD, our AI-powered Risk Intelligence product detected an event in just four minutes while it took a team of human analysts monitoring news sources nearly an hour. Social media has been shown to detect events faster, but noise and biases impact reliability.

Coverage: Our solution connects to more than 17,000 sources from government, weather and geological services, local and international press, and social media. This includes sources that security and intelligence professionals rely on for comprehensive global coverage. It makes sense of it all by categorizing 53 critical event types. Validity is assured by cross-referencing multiple sources of events and even allowing for input from your own personnel on the ground.

Actionability: Our solution not only tracks critical events in real time, it maintains dynamic maps of your facilities, logistics, and personnel movements. This means your team can warn of potential impacts, take proactive security measures, and alert or extract – assuring the safety of all personnel.