RISK MANAGEMENT DUTY OF CARE
Asia – Fewer Asian firms are taking the necessary measures to protect their employees overseas from unfamiliar risks and threats than their Western counterparts.
Such firms may be aware of the importance of duty of care, but tend to look at the topic from a cost-angle, Philippe Huinck, regional managing director, International SOS of South and Southeast Asia, said. Hence, they tend to look at the fringe benefits – or offsets of the deal – before adopting such a plan.
“I think companies that are socially responsible will also look at the well-being of the staff and their families, specifically in the cases of business travelers and expats,” he said.
With reference to the ‘International SOS Duty of Care and Travel Risk Management Global Benchmarking Survey’ released in December last year, he highlighted emerging social responsibility practices in Asia which are especially present in Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan. And even though countries in India and the Philippines are lagging behind in adopting such practices in region, all countries in they are moving in a positive direction.
However Huinck also noted duty of care is “pushed” by the companies that implement it rather than a particular country. “What we often see is that a company will execute duty of care in a certain manner in its headquarters. If they also operate in other parts of the world, they would exercise the same duty of care. This is good exposure for firms in Singapore because they see what is going on and pick up from there.”
Passing an analogy comparing duty of care to a financial investment, he said companies that do not execute the responsibility are putting their company’s reputation at risk – in addition to the wellbeing of their expatriates and business travelers. From a HR angle, it can also be used as a tool to attract and retain talent.
For companies interested in implementing a duty of care structure, Huinck said it is easy as a straight-forward “plan-do-check” cycle.
“They have to first plan for their expatriates to go to a certain location by getting information about the city they are working in, their accommodation, and transportation details among others. As most incidents are road accidents, traffic safety measures are important and the individual needs to live according to the rules in the guideline. Secondly, check if the information is up-to-date,” he advised.
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