• Europe lags behind U.S. and Australia in protecting its workforce abroad
• France leads the way globally with exceptionally high Duty of Care awareness, while Germany is found to be the worst performer
20 March 2012, London, UK – International SOS, the leading global medical and security services company, has released the results of a benchmarking study into how well European companies protect their employees from risks and threats when working abroad.
Based on the responses of nearly 200 European companies, including many from the Global 500, the study found that despite a highly regulated environment, European companies lag behind their U.S. and Australian counterparts in implementing Duty of Care practices. Although respondents carried out risk assessments and put policies and procedures in place, they do less than the rest of the world to implement the necessary actions to protect their employees.
France scored higher than other European countries in all areas of the Duty of Care risk management model, with a much higher score of 69, than Germany which fell short of the mark with a score of 60. The only area where France fell short was in managing global mobility and control and analysis. In terms of assistance, only Switzerland operates above worldwide respondents, whereas the Netherlands ranks the highest for managing global mobility.
The level of risk for European employers is certainly no lower, than elsewhere globally, with European companies more likely to have employees of all types working or travelling to high risk locations than other worldwide companies. The highest risk countries are also major destinations for international business, with Nigeria ranked (1), followed by Pakistan (2), India (3), Mexico (4) and Russia (5). European respondents also reported a higher occurrence of employee threats during the past three years for situations related to travel-related infections and road accidents.
"In the 21st century, Duty of Care should be on the sustainability agenda of any smart employer. Proactively looking after your people is not only the right thing to do - it’s much less costly than managing incidents once they've happened,” explained Kevin Duffey, managing director for Northern Europe, International SOS. “We would recommend European business leaders view these findings as a first priority. After all, a company’s employees are its most valuable asset and companies must be prepared for the unexpected.”
Whilst there was a high level of awareness of the importance of Duty of Care amongst medical directors, a lower level of awareness was notable among European senior management, at an executive and country level. International SOS advises that Duty of Care should be considered everyone’s responsibility, as the author of the report, Dr Lisbeth Claus explained: “A joined-up corporate approach to owning Duty of Care is as lacking in Europe as it is worldwide,” said Claus. “Decision-making responsibilities around Duty of Care are paramount to an organisation’s ability to pro-actively manage risks and threats effectively. Security, risk management, travel and medical professionals already know this, but they face huge challenges in gaining the momentum and resources to implement the necessary strategy. Companies must expand their teams beyond security and collaborate together to provide higher standards of Duty of Care.”
Notes to Editors
Further information about the study can be found by registering for your copy at:
To request an interview with International SOS Managing Director for Northern Europe, Kevin Duffey or Benchmarking Study author Dr Lisbeth Claus, please contact:
+44 (0) 20 7395 7124
The International SOS Duty of Care and Travel Risk Management Global Benchmarking Study surveyed 718 employees around the world from 628 global organizations on international travel issues and challenges faced by expatriate workers and their families. 177 of them represent 15 European countries – almost one quarter of all Global Benchmarking Study respondents. Of the European respondents, 91% of were employed in for-profit companies, and 18.6% came from Global 500 companies. Specifically, the study considered perceived high-risk locations, risks and threats faced by employees, awareness by company and industry stakeholders and departments, decision-making processes within companies, and legal and moral obligations. A summary of the study can be viewed by registering at www.internationalsos.com/dutyofcare
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 more than 1,000 full-time physicians and 200 security specialists provides services including planning, preventative programs, in-country expertise and emergency response to 70 percent of the Fortune Global 500 companies.
About the author
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.
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