Many job roles these days provide scope to carry out business abroad or move overseas altogether. With countries such as Dubai, Switzerland, and Italy being deemed glamourous places to work, there are some locations which can be dangerous. Regardless of where you are sending your international assignees, their health and safety abroad is paramount. International travel insurance plans should be included in your employee’s relocation package and, you should confirm they are fully equipped with the global competence to deal with life in a new country.
Risks faced by business travellers and working expats stem from a number of sources. As an employer, it is your job to safeguard your staff from health and security issues, to language and cultural barriers. Just like health and safety management in any role, protecting your globetrotting staff requires appropriate advice, planning, and risk assessment.
No doubt your employees will do their own research when they have been informed of the opportunity to work overseas. However, to cover all bases and ease any nerves they may have, it is best to put together all information into a handy booklet for them. At the top of most staff’s lists is information about vaccinations, currency, visas, and entry requirements. As an employer, you should make sure staff are meeting all the specific criteria in regards to entry requirements and visas, and make the process as a seamless as possible. Before their impending departure you should saturate employees with practical information and carry out an individual risk assessment for every member of staff.
Comprehensive Medical Insurance
Do you have a number of your workforce overseas? It is imperative that your staff have access to first class medical treatment. Second-to-none medical cover is not only attractive to personnel, but can also give your employees peace of mind that they will receive the best quality care abroad if faced with medical issues or an emergency.
Keeping your staff in their role, with as little time off due to sickness or accidents, will help keep your business running smoothly overseas. Companies with as few as three individuals abroad can benefit from protection for corporate groups. Corporate group insurance from Expatriate Healthcare provides comprehensive cover for your staff 24-hours a day, 365 days a year and, there are no restrictions on the hospitals or clinics that they can receive treatment at. Furthermore, packages can be tailored to meet specific requirements and, there are different deals available dependant on the number of staff you need to cover.
Visible and Invisible Cultures
You may think you have covered all bases for your employee; a bespoke relocation package and more logistical information than they actually need. But, especially if they have not been abroad before, intercultural training should be delivered. Intercultural training provides a platform for individuals to understand another country’s cultural values. Physical manifestations such as dress, traditions, behaviours and customs can be understood and absorbed naturally. It is the invisible cultures, such as attitudes, values, assumptions and perceptions where uneducated staff may fall foul.
For example, in a multitude of Asian countries, the concept of ‘saving face’ is a huge part of everyday life. It affects home and business life and, expats can cause great offence if they do not absorb the tradition and carry themselves correctly. It can appear complex to foreigners and, therefore, teaching through intercultural training is extremely beneficial.
Create a Full Package
As an employer, you have a non-delegable duty to take reasonable care of your employees whilst they are abroad. This duty can often extend to housing or transport in your employee’s new country but, what constitutes as ‘reasonable care’ depends on a number of factors, including:
- Experience of the individual
- Nature of their work (level of danger)
- Their family commitments
- Period of time away from their home country
Providing your highly skilled and valued staff with full relocation packages can help soften the blow if they are reluctant to move abroad. Especially for individuals with families who are going to be abroad for the foreseeable future, an expatriation plan for them and their family that includes housing, medical insurance, schooling, and transport would be the absolute ideal. However, as previously mentioned, packages should be tailored specifically to each employee.