Perilous perceptions: Why it’s time to double down on duty of care in corporate relocation

The world isn’t as safe as it once was, or, at least, that’s how most people feel today says Carrie Hartman, President at 3Sixty.

According to an IPSOS report published in November, the vast majority of people believe the world has become a more dangerous place. And a YouGov poll this month found 79% of UK adults think the world is ‘more dangerous than usual’. In a post-pandemic world marred by unprecedented economic turmoil, international conflict and environmental crises, a heightened sense of dread really should come as no surprise – especially when everyone has access to constant and, more often than not, unsettling news at their fingertips via their smartphones.But even if this dread is simply a byproduct of social media and 24/7 news cycles, the very idea that the world is becoming more dangerous can be harmful. It can impact the well-being and productivity of employees on relocation assignments, and it affect their willingness to relocate in the first instance. Companies and relocation decision-makers, therefore, must double down on their duty of care - ensuring that colleagues are not only safe and secure, but that they feel safe and secure, leaving no room for doubt.

Perception vs reality

Research points to a growing sense of insecurity generally, with up to 84% of the global population thinking the world is a less safe place than it was just a year ago. But we live in a globalized, post-pandemic world – one in which bleisure, workations, hybrid working and work-from-anywhere models are fast becoming the norm. Relocation decision-makers are now faced with the increasingly complex task of balancing a company’s relocation requirements, the ever-changing working preferences of employees, and both the real and perceived risks associated with international travel.To navigate today’s requirements, they must embrace a multifaceted approach to duty of care. This involves leveraging advanced technology for real-time risk assessment, guaranteeing strong partnerships with trusted providers, opening up clear lines of communication, and ensuring robust support systems are in place to reassure employees on relocation assignments. 

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Defining duty of care

Firstly, companies must get to grips with what duty of care actually means in the context of today’s heightened state of anxiety. Generally speaking, it refers to the legal and moral obligation businesses must uphold with regard to their employees’ health, safety and well-being. But through the lens of corporate relocation, duty of care encompasses a vast range of responsibilities. These range from providing safe and secure accommodation and access to good-quality healthcare, to assessing the political stability and environmental conditions of a particular destination. These requirements have only become more pronounced against the backdrop of Covid-19 and the subsequent conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East – each of these being a major contributing factor to people feeling less safe generally.Therefore, an employers’ commitment to safeguarding health and well-being must also extend to employees’ mental health. Regardless of where an employee is relocating to, the odds are – according to research – that they believe the world is more dangerous. Such a perception can lead to significant stress and anxiety, especially if employees lack adequate information about their relocation destination to reassure them of their health, safety, and overall well-being. This is where the use of cutting-edge technology becomes essential.Awards-2024-sponsor-intext

Sweeping supply chains

Advanced technology enables relocation decision-makers to provide real-time risk assessments, dynamic safety updates, and comprehensive support systems to ensure employees are safe and secure – and that they know it. Accommodation is at the cornerstone of best-in-class duty of care in the corporate relocation sector. Employees need to feel safe in their accommodation – something that travel managers can only guarantee through strict vetting of housing options. However, it would be far too risky to rely on individual property managers to meet duty of care standardization when the welfare of employees is concerned. This is why using a corporate travel provider is utterly essential. 3Sixty, for example, has established a network of accommodations with over one million properties across 60 different counties. We know for a fact that these properties are safe and secure thanks to the strategic partnership we have with Dun & Bradstreet Risk Analytics. This AI-driven service allows us to sweep our supply chain weekly to identify red flags on safety, security, financial health and business practices.

Reap the benefits of real-time

In addition to utilizing services like Dun & Bradstreet to gather data that proves accommodations are safe and secure, travel managers must also apply the same level of scrutiny to the country or territory where the property is located. This ensures that employees feel confident in both the safety of their residences and the overall security of their new environment.This is why we entered into a strategic partnership with Geosure, which provides real-time, hyper-local safety ratings for locations around the world. It assesses a huge number of parameters that can have a real impact on an employee’s overall well-being, measuring everything from potential health risks, risk of violent crime, LGBTQ+ safety, political risks and more. All of this data is made available to employees via an app on their smartphone or smartwatch. 

Adapt to thrive

Duty of care is a concept that never stands still for very long - it’s always evolving in one way or another in line with what’s happening both at home and further afield. That’s why it’s critical that all key decision-makers across human resources, risk managers, HSE professionals and C-Suite keep their finger on the pulse of both emerging trends and potential risks. As the world seemingly becomes more unpredictable year after year, companies must remain agile, ready to adapt their strategies at pace to protect their employees effectively – and ensure they feel protected. And although the proliferation of technology – especially social media – has undoubtedly contributed to the world appearing more dangerous, it is simultaneously the answer to enhancing our ability to manage and mitigate these fears. Providing they are using the right platform, relocation professionals can today draw on more data than ever before, enabling them to make as informed a decision as possible. Combined with vast networks of vetted, compliant accommodations to ensure employees feel safe and comfortable, these tools empower companies to go above and beyond in their duty of care.

A proactive approach to duty of care that leverages technology to paint as complete a picture as possible not only alleviates anxiety about relocation assignments, it also builds a sense of security and trust among employees. It could even be what’s needed for them to start viewing the world as a safer, friendlier place again.
Carrie Hartman, CCHP, is President at 3Sixty, helping companies better manage the global employee relocation experience via over one million quality, cost-effective rooms and properties around the world.
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