What’s the biggest challenge for higher education institutions when implementing a Travel Risk Management Programme?
As a global travel risk specialist working closely with organisations in the higher and further education sector, we have recognised that one of the most common challenges for you is to gain stakeholder buy in when developing a travel risk management programme.
Today, staff and students travel extensively overseas – as part of the sectors global connectivity. Financial pressures also mean that the global reach in search of new students can go into previously unchartered territories.
With any travel there is a degree of risk and developing a travel risk management programme aims to put the processes and procedures in place to minimise these risks and safeguard travellers. We have helped many of our clients overcome this challenge by working with them to identify and engage with key stakeholder groups including a tailored approach for senior management teams. Drawing on our experience, we have put together 5 TOP TIPS to achieve successful stakeholder buy in and engagement:
TIP ONE - Identify the right people
Identifying key stakeholders within your organisation can be complex but it’s important. Using a stakeholder analysis tool or matrix (also known as stakeholder mapping) can help you do this thoroughly.
Don’t just consider the budget holder but also other decision makers, for example, staff members who are responsible for booking travel, those whose role includes safeguarding and welfare and the travellers themselves.
Assess their influence and importance so you provide them information at the level they require. By involving the right people, they will be more invested and likely to make it a success when it’s rolled out.
TIP TWO - Effectively communicate
Once you’ve identified your different stakeholder groups, choose the appropriate medium and frequency to communicate. What are their key drivers and motivators? Focus on these in the communication, in a tone and language they can relate to. Make sure that it is two-way, and keep everyone up-to-date. You need to set a realistic timeline for stakeholder engagement.
Taking suggestions and feedback onboard, is crucial. Delivering a clear message to stakeholders will ensure that they completely understand what you are trying to achieve.
TIP THREE - Involve stakeholders early on
Include relevant stakeholders at an early stage of the decision-making process. By doing this if they have any concerns it will give you more time to address these adequately and enhance your travel risk management solution.
Staff and students who travel overseas regularly maybe able to provide valuable feedback on the existing protocols and support. This insight early on can help you develop a solid foundation for your programme ensuring any current gaps in provision are eliminated.
TIP FOUR - Highlight the benefits and outline the negative consequences if it doesn’t happen
State each of the benefits of having a programme including duty of care to stakeholders, safeguarding staff, students and the institution.
Also think about the negative consequences if processes are not put in place, for example, avoiding negligence if an incident occurs while travelling or preventing a negative impact on your reputation in a crisis.
Think about how these fit into the overall strategy and priorities of your organisation. If you provide a strong justification it is likely to gain approval from decision makers.
Remember that a travel policy should act as an enabler to travel and not something that simply gets in the way.
TIP FIVE - Evaluate and improve
Engaging stakeholders isn’t a one-off activity, it is an ongoing process. When you’re monitoring and evaluating the success of your travel risk management strategy it is also important to look at stakeholder satisfaction.
Have you built the trust of your stakeholders? Are your objectives aligned? Do they want the programme to succeed? Does the solution meet their needs sufficiently? If you haven’t received the buy in you were aiming for then look at what you can do to improve engagement further, for example focus groups and briefings.
Your institution has a duty of care for its staff, students and associates when they undertake any activity as part of their studies or work. The complexity within the higher and further education sector is reflected in the varied driving factors that different stakeholders hold.
It can sometimes feel like a long drawn out process to develop and implement a comprehensive travel risk management programme, but attaining the buy in from stakeholders is essential. To run a successful programme, you must have the engagement early on from all parties including the end user i.e. travellers.
If you would like any information or advice on the above please contact our team:
t. +44 (0)1548 856001 e. firstname.lastname@example.org