The risks for globally mobile employees of international organisations are innumerable, but often our clients and their assignees tend to focus too much on the large, unpredictable, and extremely rare events. In reality, most of the most common dangers for expatriates come from the local environment in which the individuals live and work day-to-day.
It is this ‘macro-environment’ that poses the most risks, from poor local infrastructure and road safety to high levels of crime and political instability. More direct dangers to an assignee’s health, such as unsanitary conditions and local diseases, are also significant issues that employees should be acutely aware of. Depending on the locality, other risks, such as that of terrorism should be considered seriously, as businesses continue to push their global reach.
In many global destinations, businesses have a real duty of care with their employees, especially those where the risks to the individual’s health are significantly increased, whether it be from illness or violence. It is therefore essential that the assignees fully understand the potential for danger in their new home, and where to turn in times of need. Employers can get into serious trouble if they fail to properly inform and prepare their employees and endanger their health and safety while on assignment.
This begs the question then, how can organisations, with already limited global mobility resources, provide the full duty of care required for assignments? The first answer should be training, as it can give the assignee with all the information they need to better control and assess their situation for a relatively low outlay. Empowering the individual gives them a significant boost in morale and control when faced with challenging, unfamiliar and potentially dangerous environments. This, in turn, allows them to make clear decisions to reduce the risks for themselves, and by extension, the company.
Insurers are in a position to better understand the ultimate cost of these risks, and therefore the value of mitigating them appropriately. Unfortunately, many organisations see extra employee training as an unnecessary expense in an already costly relocation. Cross-cultural training is now becoming more popular and accepted into the global mobility community, but additional health and safety training is not yet the norm, and this needs to change.
The view that this training is unnecessary is, of course, a short-sighted approach to reducing mobility costs, as the benefits of such preparations will certainly be minor when compared to the direct improvements in employee safety and productivity that can be reaped downstream.
Business leaders often fail to remember that adequately preparing assignees for relocation not only makes them safer, but that individuals that feel more prepared are going to be more relaxed, and therefore much more productive. When you also take into account the massive hit to income and productivity an organisation takes when they lose a vital member of staff, whether it be temporarily or permanently, the value of pre-assignment training becomes immediately apparent.
As insurers, we are ultimately protecting ourselves when we drive for these improvements in our clients, but they undoubtedly benefit all parties. How much, and what type of training should organisations be providing to their assignees? That depends entirely on the company itself, the locales involved and the individuals who need it. Where should they get their information? You.
As a global insurer, you have a deep insight into the specific dangers and problems that can be faced across the globe, and the relative risk of them in each location. By providing your clients with such high-level insights, you fuel the drive to better preparation of assignees while also ensuring that the training is as accurate and specific as it needs to be for maximum effect. Having access to such valuable information is an opportunity that no organisation should refuse.
Get FREE quotes from leading global Insurers to compare and find a plan suits you.