NC INSIGHT – 10 Ways to Keep Global Employees Safe Amidst Political Unrest

August 25, 2023

Many countries have experienced some level of unrest due to local politics and legislation, and it’s happening in “safe” countries like France and not just developing nations. This article highlights practical ways to keep employees out of harm’s way. 

Political unrest is a growing concern in many countries, affecting developing as well as traditionally stable countries. As companies expand their global presence, it is crucial to prioritize the safety and well-being of employees—especially in environments characterized by political volatility. Foreigners will be even less prepared than locals when managing social cues and understanding how and where to get help in chaos. 

We believe in growth and uniting our world through business, but we recognize that ambition comes with risk. By understanding the nature of political unrest, assessing potential risks, and implementing effective strategies, organizations can ensure the security of their employees while growing a thriving business across borders.

What is political unrest?

Political unrest can encompass civil movements, demonstrations, protests, and other social disruptions driven by deeply held and potentially divisive personal beliefs. Some examples of recent political unrest include protests against racial injustice in the United States, anti-government protests in Brazil, farmer marches in the Netherlands, and protests against inflation and the cost of living across Europe.

How can companies assess potential risk? 

Effectively managing geopolitical risks is a full-time job. Companies must constantly evaluate the geopolitical landscape, understand regional tensions, and identify areas of concern to assess potential threats. Organizations can prepare short-term, midterm, and long-term response strategies and assess situations with a trifocal lens approach. These strategies enable companies to navigate fast-changing situations, make informed investments, and build resilience. 

Assessing circumstances through macro, micro, and organizational lenses is also important. The macro lens allows stakeholders to evaluate the broad geopolitical landscape, including trends in international relations, shifts in global power, significant economic developments, and other large-scale factors that could affect an organization’s operations. 

The macro lens involves a more localized examination of geopolitical risks, such as the political, economic, social, and security conditions within specific countries where the organization operates or plans to operate. The organization lens considers how geopolitical risks could affect the organization, given its industry, business model, operational strategies, and other unique factors.

How can companies keep employees safe and help them deal with political unrest? 

The path to international expansion will contain challenges, including tax implications, cultural nuances, and the ever-looming possibility of political unrest. However, these complexities should not be perceived as deterrents but as inevitable elements of the global expansion process that, when navigated successfully, can lead to significant triumphs. Strategizing for global growth requires a meticulous understanding of local laws, tax structures, and cultural differences. Political stability, a vital determinant of business success, is perhaps the most unpredictable challenge.

A thriving global enterprise fundamentally requires thorough strategic planning, equipping your team with necessary resources, and demonstrating resilience in the face of uncertainties. Unforeseen political upheavals can be daunting, but a well-structured risk management plan can mitigate their effect.

With that in mind, here are 10 pragmatic steps to prepare a business for political turbulence. Remember, it is not the challenge that defines us but how we rise to meet it.

1. Provide accurate information and intel

Companies should offer accurate and up-to-date information to their global employees, including details about high-crime neighborhoods, transportation safety, and local customs. Employees equipped with this knowledge can make informed decisions and blend in with the local environment.

2. Establish effective communication channels

Setting up multilingual crisis hotlines can serve as valuable resources for emotional support, evacuation assistance, and real-time updates on the situation in affected areas. These channels ensure employees can access immediate help and relevant information.

3. Implement a robust travel policy

A comprehensive travel policy helps address safety concerns. Guidelines can cover the selection of safe accommodations, transportation options, and routes to avoid high-risk areas. Companies can enhance employee safety during travel by establishing clear protocols.

4. Monitor global events

Stay informed about political developments. Companies can adjust travel plans and assignments by closely monitoring the countries where employees live. This proactive approach enables organizations to mitigate potential risks.

5. Offer training and resources

Provide employees with safety training and resources, such as emergency contact information, evacuation procedures, and guidance on responding to threats. Companies can empower employees to make informed decisions and respond effectively during the unrest.

6. Coordinate with local partners

Collaborate closely with local partners and authorities to gather reliable information and ensure employees’ safety. By establishing solid relationships, companies can navigate challenging situations and receive critical support.

7. Prioritize employee well-being

In addition to physical safety, organizations must prioritize employees’ mental well-being by offering emotional support and access to resources for stress management and encouraging open dialogue about the effect of political unrest on employees’ mental health.

8. Encourage vigilance and personal responsibility

Companies should promote a culture of vigilance among employees, urging them to be cautious and observant of their surroundings and report any suspicious activities or concerns to the security team. Individual responsibility is crucial in maintaining a safe working environment.

9. Develop contingency plans

Establish clear procedures for emergencies. Companies should develop comprehensive contingency plans that outline evacuation steps, shelter-in-place instructions, and communication protocols. Organizations can minimize the effect on employee safety by preparing for potential crises.

10. Provide travel insurance and assistance services

Offer comprehensive travel insurance that covers emergency medical care, evacuation, and access to assistance services. Insurance ensures that employees receive the necessary support in case of an emergency. By addressing potential risks through insurance coverage, companies demonstrate their commitment to employee well-being.

Newland Chase Insights

As political unrest becomes increasingly prevalent worldwide, companies must prioritize their global employees’ physical and mental safety and well-being. Organizations can create a secure working environment by understanding political unrest, assessing potential risks, and implementing effective strategies. By taking proactive measures, companies can build a thriving global business while protecting their employees in an ever-changing geopolitical landscape. An experienced immigration specialist can help you navigate the complexities of border-crossing requirements. Contact Newland Chase for a quote today. 

This immigration update is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal or scenario-specific advice. Furthermore, it is important to note that immigration announcements are subject to sudden and unexpected changes. Readers are encouraged to reach out to Newland Chase for any case- or company-specific assessments.