There is no question that businesses today are more global than ever. Persistent global instability, the quest for natural resources, volatile financial markets and the emergence of new centres of economic growth are compelling companies to go further afield and explore untapped territories to grow their businesses. As a result, more companies are sending their staff abroad and thus have to manage workforces that are dispersed across the Globe.
According to a recent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the global mobile workforce has increased by 25 per cent over the past decade. The report predicts that there will be a further growth of 50 per cent in mobile employees by 2020. This exposes both employees and employers to greater risk.
Recent history has proven that all regions are susceptible to incidents such as natural disasters, political uprisings, violent protests, opportunistic crime or even traffic accidents. Whether it is a super-typhoon in Hong Kong, piracy in Somalia, carjacking in Mexico or traffic accident in a war-torn country like Iraq, serious incidents can occur anywhere. In fact, an overwhelming 75 per cent of employees in the US feel that their employer is not well-prepared for a natural disaster.
Such circumstances therefore beg the following questions: What measures do employers have in place to manage the safety of its mobile workforce? Can businesses afford to wait until a tragedy strikes to adopt appropriate safety and security measures for its people?
I have worked in the security industry for over two decades, with a company based in the Middle East for the past six years, and I continue to be surprised by the lack of understanding of their duty of care by many international businesses. This lack of awareness puts companies at serious risk. For instance, if their employees come to harm, they as employers could face potentially severe consequences both legally and financially, not to mention the damage to staff morale and to the company’s reputation.
What is more, as more companies enter the international arena and start managing operations across multiple locations, the likelihood of experiencing some kind of incident is growing. They are increasingly exposing themselves to risk.
Despite this, only very few larger organisations actually have any security and safety processes in place. A majority of small- to medium-sized companies have little or nothing. However, the technology to help companies improve and simplify these processes now exists. Companies just don’t seem to be aware of this yet.
These technological advancements mean that companies now have access to affordable, highly advanced and reliable security tracking technology solutions that can be deployed across their entire workforce.
By leveraging advances made in GSM, GPRS and satellite technology, today’s security tracking and location management solutions help organisations track and monitor a dispersed staff; communicate with them and receive timely alerts in the event of an emergency. In addition, latest developments in mobile technology are making security technology solutions available to a wider workforce. As smartphones increasingly become an indispensable business tool, these devices are helping organisations bring safety and security solutions to all their employees, giving them the means to rapidly account for their global workforce.
With these comprehensive and easy to use security technologies that automate processes for satisfying their duty of care obligations, organisations are able to demonstrate to employees and their families that tangible steps are being taken to manage their risk. Equally, organisations benefit from the financial advantages of managing an incident more efficiently, reduced insurance premiums and operational savings.
The writer is the Chief Executive Officer of Track24.