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Taking a New Look at Duty of Care 06.9.2020 | Jennifer Connell

We’re fortunate to have technology that allows us to stay connected through virtual meetings, but it just doesn’t replace the feeling of working side-by-side with clients and colleagues to brainstorm new solutions, develop new programs or address a challenge. Truth is that “light bulb” moments often happen during breaks or impromptu conversations over lunch.

Companies will continue to hire talent that isn’t easily recruited locally and organizations have long recognized the importance of global experience. An article from the Harvard Business Review found that those who have worked overseas are better problem solvers and display more creativity, and are more likely to create new businesses and products and to be promoted.

Weichert has assisted clients in addressing a variety of emergencies, from hurricanes and earthquakes to political unrest. Now we can add “pandemic” to the list. The COVID-19 outbreak has once again thrust duty of care into the spotlight as companies with mobile talent on assignment worldwide must learn to handle the unique circumstances and effects of lockdowns, illness, border closures, travel restrictions, resource shortages and more.

Whether relocation rebounds slowly or sporadically, the circumstances around COVID-19 are far-reaching and underscore the responsibility that an employer has to its employees. When freedom of movement resumes, having a perspective on Duty of Care will be more critical than ever. As a reminder, Duty of Care, as it relates to mobility, is a company’s legal and moral obligation to ensure the safety, security and well-being of its business travelers and assignees and their accompanying family members.

When an employee accepts an assignment or transfer or even takes a business trip, he or she typically assumes that the company is aware of the risks and is prepared to take reasonable measures to ensure their safety. And while Duty of Care addresses all mobile employees, the policy must be administered to each individual in a way that addresses the unique circumstances of the individual and his/her move.

Education and preparation will reinforce sound decision-making and create a level of awareness throughout the move or assignment. With ongoing security briefings, education about the host location and training, they can actively participate to minimize risks related to their safety and security while knowing that they have the support of their company in the event of an emergency.

For more information on the considerations and best practices in ensuring your company’s readiness under Duty of Care and Emergency Preparedness, please see our latest whitepapers on these respective subjects.

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Written by Jennifer Connell

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Jennifer Connell, SCRP, SGMS-T, is Vice President of Weichert’s Advisory Services group. She has over 25 years of experience in the workforce mobility and employee benefits industries and is a recipient of Worldwide ERC’s Distinguished Service Award. She has spoken on workforce mobility topics at industry conferences throughout North America and written for mobility- and HR-themed blogs and magazines worldwide.

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