The Undervalued Business Asset: Duty of Care to employees is critical to business stability,
reveals new global benchmarking study
• 95% of companies sent employees on business trips to high risk locations last year
• High growth, high potential BRIC countries are perceived to be amongst the highest risk locations
• Concern for employee health, safety and security is a priority, although companies increasingly understand the positive financial impact of “Duty of Care” and preparedness
LONDON, UK – Today, International SOS, the leading global medical and security assistance company released the results of a global benchmarking study on how companies care for their employees abroad . More than 600 global companies were surveyed by International SOS over the past year, of which almost all (95%) sent employees on business trips to high risk locations. Lawlessness, terrorism, political upheaval, civil unrest and pandemics were identified as among the top-20 risks faced by employees abroad. The high proportion of employees in high-risk locations underlines the pressing need of companies to consider seriously the security and medical provisions offered.
Despite these growing requirements, a surprisingly high proportion of respondent companies – one third – did not know whether the companies in which they operate had legal requirements for a duty of care provision. This was a particular concern as a company can be held criminally responsible for harm to employees or their dependents in high risk locations abroad, should the risk result from a failure of duty of care in the UK .
Of additional interest is the survey’s finding that the top 20 primary perceived high-risk employee locations includes key high-growth and emerging markets. Mexico was rated as the highest risk location, with all the BRIC countries within the top 20: India (5), China (8), Russia (14) and Brazil (16).
Four of the identified top ten risks were related to health issues, including illness, lack of access to western standards of medical care, infectious diseases and travel-related infections.
Despite the legal implications and medical costs involved in taking care of incidents, companies still perceived duty of care as primarily an ethical concern. Caring about the health, safety, and security of travelling employees and doing the right thing were both more popular considerations in upholding a duty of care than avoiding outlay and legal repercussions.
“We are committed to helping companies, such as the Global 500, to implement effective duty of care strategies. Our study has found that such approaches are clearly linked to commercial success, and yet there are still varying levels of awareness among senior management and key stakeholders,” explained Co-founder, Chairman and Chief Executive of International SOS Arnaud Vaissié. “The global benchmarking study highlights the need for companies to focus on the best ways to pre-emptively protect their employees and – through them – their businesses.”
Amongst other findings, the study also identified some interesting discrepancies in the types of issues that are most concerning for certain industries. For example, the IT sector had pronounced concerns around opportunistic crime, illness while on assignment, road accidents and travel delays. The construction and real estate sector was mainly concerned with lawlessness, violent crime and organized crime. The energy and natural resource sector had elevated concerns about remoteness of work locations, language and cultural estrangement, and road accidents.
The study identified that companies operating in the Aerospace & Defence and Natural Resources Energy Sectors were ranked most highly above the Duty of Care benchmark, while Education, Construction and Real Estate ranked below the average.
Further information about the study can be found by registering for your copy at:
FOR MORE INFORMATION
For further information on International SOS or the Global Duty of Care Benchmarking Study, or to request an interview with a company or study spokesperson, please contact either of the following:
+44 (0) 20 7395 7078
+44 (0)20 7395 7124
NOTES TO EDITORS
About the author of the Benchmarking Study
The 47-page study was authored by Dr Lisbeth Claus, Ph.D, SPHR, GPHR, professor of global human resources at the Atkinson Graduate School of Management of Willamette University. Dr Claus, is a Belgian national and a former president of SHRM Global, previously the International Section of the Society for Human Resource Management.
About International SOS
International SOS (www.internationalsos.com) is the world’s leading international healthcare, medical and security assistance, and concierge services company. Operating in over 70 countries, International SOS provides integrated medical, clinical, security, and customer care solutions to organizations with international operations. A global team of over 10,000 employees led by 1,000 full-time physicians and 200 security specialists provides services including planning, preventative programs, in-country expertise and emergency response to 66 percent of the Fortune Global 500 companies.
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