A leading provider of injectable drugs and infusion technologies has more than 19,000 employees and approximately 4,000 trips annually to 20 countries worldwide. Concerned with meeting its Duty of Care to thousands of traveling employees, as well as to dozens of expats stationed around the globe, the client established a relationship with WorldAware in 2009.
The client wanted to provide better travel and safety support for its employees, in addition to facility security. As their global operations continued to expand, it also needed to be able to scale its travel risk management (TRM) program accordingly and conduct business without disruption.
To address these concerns, the client built a holistic TRM solution over time, which includes the integration of security services provided by WorldAware alongside its insurance provider for medical services.
The client chose WorldAware as a partner because of WorldAware’s ability to design solutions that fit clients’ unique global footprints and protocols. WorldAware’s holistic approach to risk management is a continuous, proactive, and systematic process to understand, manage, and communicate risks from an organization-wide perspective. Creating a comprehensive solution with the client has been a remarkable journey in itself, with several lessons learned that are useful for others who want to develop an integrated and tailored risk management program.
The Journey: Gaining Stakeholder Buy-in to Develop a Holistic Solution
As many risk and security managers know, obtaining alignment and buy-in from upperlevel management around risk management is crucial to an organization’s success. It does not come easily, and sometimes, it does not come at all. However, according to the client, it is worth fighting for and can yield immense results.
Break Down Barriers
In the client’s experience, if a risk manager needs to address a security-related concern with the CEO or senior leaders directly, it is best not to hesitate, especially if the issue is relevant, shows a return on investment, and enables an organization to better protect employees or facilities. This way, the CEO or specific business leader knows that every time a risk manager is at his or her door, it is about something important.
Assemble the Right Support Team
One of the key steps to developing the client’s program was to implement a governance committee that not only handled travel spend but was able to enforce travel policy, as well. Then, one credit card and travel agency were integrated and used throughout the company and managed by the committee. The governance committee consisted of Procurement, Office of Ethics and Compliance, Travel, Finance, and of course, Global Security. With the assistance of this group, as well as face-to-face meetings with business leaders, a global program that allowed the full protection of the client’s people and facilities was developed.
Solid Communication and Consistency are Key
According to the client, communication is key. Face-to-face meetings build rapport with company leaders and are a must, because conference calls only go so far. It is easy not to pay attention on calls, but in person, as long as one can show commitment to protecting an organization’s assets, buy-in will usually occur.
It is also crucial for everyone to communicate effectively. When departments stay in their silos, the job does not get done. However, when risk managers respond to criticisms and answer questions from various departments – one-on-one and up close – the outcome is favorable for all.
For example, when the client first wanted local plant or country managers to stop using their local travel agency and instead use the client’s corporate travel management company, many said no. The chief risk and security officer explained that when the client utilized a centralized travel agency, it was better able to track its employees. Despite this explanation, the chief risk and security officer still received pushback from local managers, many of whom said they did not want to be tracked. The chief risk and security officer could have stopped there but instead explained what “tracking” actually meant – that there was no “following” of employees in any investigative sense; rather, tracking meant their whereabouts needed to be known in the event of a disruption. This personal communication finally convinced the employees, because they now understood the importance of why the client was watching them.
Centralize Risk & Security Functions
The client’s journey has been marked with a spirit of collaboration and communication. In the beginning, the client’s chief risk and security officer quickly understood that each country where the client held operations was “doing its own thing” and began to centralize the risk management function, including:
- Installing global access controls and creating one badge for all employees
- Centralizing the entire security department which allowed better communication, policy enforcement and visibility to issues across the entire organization that normally would not have surfaced
- Helping install the governance program for the global credit card, by collaboratively working with Procurement, Travel, Internal Audit and Office of Ethics and Compliance, and then subsequently launching the program throughout the company
For the client, the safety of employees was a big challenge. Before WorldAware came on board, the implementation of an internal risk management program had already begun. In this, 72 English speaking websites were monitored, ranging from Al Jazeera to BBC to the CDC. Any incident that had potential impacts on safety and security within a 25-mile radius of any of the client’s assets was to be forwarded to the client’s security analysts and triaged to the chief risk and security officer. If it was of high significance, it would be published on Global Security’s intranet page, and if the issue required immediate attention it would be escalated to the appropriate country or plant manager. Feedback from managers was extremely positive – because they knew the client was watching out for them.
Build a Productive Risk Management Partnership
Today, the client’s travel risk function has been expanded into a Risk Operations Center. With WorldAware’s assistance, the client has been able to unify the travel risk management function, making it easier to maintain visibility into the client’s travelers and threats to facilities. One of the benefits of the partnership with WorldAware is program customization according to client requirements, so the client receives only the services that are needed. In addition, when there is a problem, WorldAware quickly connects client personnel to the right person who can assist.
The client established a direct intelligence feed from WorldAware, which includes immediate notification and alerts regarding disruptions or potentially troubling hot spots. This solution is more comprehensive and less costly than the client’s original risk management program. The client continues to develop in-house international traveler trainings and pushes this out to travelers, and also to notify embassies of any employees coming to their respective jurisdictions – all these layers help to protect the organization’s assets. The chief risk and security officer also personally meets with employees throughout the world and constantly advocates the use of the WorldAware Worldcue Mobile TRAVELER App, understanding its vital role in delivering real-time intelligence to people on the go.
The client’s employees know there is an entire program protecting them – and this has helped relieve some of the stress of everyday travel. An expat risk management program is also now part of the WorldAware platform. Before the partnership with WorldAware, expats were tracked separately through Human Resources. Now, the expat program is integrated into their TRM program, automating the client’s alert notifications and centralizing the program into one database that is managed by the client’s Risk Operations Center.
Building upon a foundation of mutual interest and trust, the client and WorldAware have worked shoulder to shoulder to continuously improve the content of the client’s traveler safety program. The partnership has increased the client’s ability to make better strategic business decisions by being informed and proactive.
The greatest positive impact to the client has been the ability to understand the impact of global threats across all aspects of its business, not just its travel program. By tracking and monitoring assets, and increasing visibility into its people, including expats on long-term assignments, facilities and operations, the client’s travel risk management program has reached a new level. The return on investment is significant and can be calculated in months – not years – in terms of the support costs that would be needed to perform similar duties in-house, 24x7. In an industry where compliance and regulations are strictly enforced, and where there is high visibility in protecting assets and travelers, the client has been able to meet Duty of Care and save on reputational and financial costs. The client views WorldAware as a long-term partner, and its success has truly been our success.
The client’s journey yielded many lessons learned for other organizations looking to build an integrated and tailored risk management program.
- Engage a risk management partner that can scale your program with your company’s growth, streamline and integrate processes, and deliver actionable insights for longrange decision-making.
- Dedicate a seasoned chief risk and security officer to lead the project and assemble a support network.
- Remove obstacles and create a direct line of communication with key stakeholders.
- Centralize risk management functions and integrate vendors and partners for a common operating picture across the global organization.
- Develop and implement companywide risk management and business continuity plans and protocols.
- Communicate the purpose and benefits of your risk management processes, and ensure your people feel supported in a facility, as well as on travel.
WorldAware solutions enable organizations to operate globally with confidence by helping them prepare, monitor and respond to threats that could impact operational performance. Contact us for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.