car-in-trouble-1560004Organizations operate in complex and rapidly changing environments.  With more and more employees on assignment or relocating across borders, it has become increasingly critical for those companies – and their business partners – to be prepared to protect the security and well-being of their employees, clients and operations.  Consequently, a key component of any successful talent mobility program should include a formal Duty of Care strategy.

Why be Concerned About Duty of Care?

A strong Duty of Care strategy involves developing a comprehensive program philosophy and structure that supports the key areas of crisis readiness, response and business continuity.  Your strategy should include proactive processes and tactical measures to manage across a range of events, from natural disasters and catastrophic episodes, to crimes, misconduct and potential information security issues.

A successful program will allow your company to:

  • prepare for and anticipate a range of crisis events
  • effectively train employees to handle issues
  • establish a designated Crisis Management Team ready and able to follow detailed protocols
  • communicate with and track employees abroad, keeping them informed and offering guidance and support throughout each phase of a crisis
  • communicate with clients during an event, letting them know the status of their assignees; and
  • establish business continuity plans ensuring operations can carry on – or quickly recover after an event.

Building Your Plan

The first step is to define what Duty of Care means for your organization and how it will shape your customers’ experience.  At its core, Duty of Care usually refers to the legal obligation of an individual or business to adhere to a standard of reasonable care while performing any acts that could foreseeably harm others.

Another useful step is to set standards for consistency across your global strategy while tailoring execution of your plan within each region of your business.  Regional implementation allows greater ability to control factors like communications, timing of any action steps, and local nuances.

For example, by combining the guidance of a leading security-consulting firm with best practices from global Fortune 500 companies and its collective experience from past crisis events, Oakwood Worldwide was able to successfully create a plan that includes a formal crisis response process and safety and security standards for our offices and properties.  The plan allows the organization to:

  • swiftly identify clients or guests in need and deliver required, and often, lifesaving assistance
  • provide proactive, timely communication to support our associates, guests and clients, including using an automated Mass Emergency Notification System
  • quickly supply a tenancy list to clients so they may identify any assignees impacted by a crisis and share steps taken to ensure their safety

A service provider must regularly collaborate with clients to share best practices and solutions, guide strategy on how to enhance the safety and security of their employees, and protect their assignees staying at numerous locations.

Keep in mind that it is never too soon – or too late – to start planning your Duty of Care strategy.  Whether you are enhancing your company’s overall talent mobility program, or you are a service provider taking accountability for the people under your care, a successful Duty of Care plan will ensure you are well prepared to protect the security of your employees, clients and business during a crisis

Kevin Brown, Director, Global Account Strategy, Oakwood Worldwide