Having a corporate travel policy is a valuable tool for any business. With traveling for work and business being an incredibly large sector of the market, many companies have adopted corporate travel policies that enable employees to travel to dazzling locations and have unique experiences, while also saving the business money. As with any dense money management system, however, compliance with these travel policies can be a difficult, confusing, or outright frustrating procedure without the right infrastructure to support the team. As such an important part of modern commerce, how can businesses promote and achieve corporate travel policy compliance?
Educate Leadership on Travel Compliance Policies and Procedures
Employee compliance with travel policies is certainly important, but direction for employees begins at the top of the company. Ensure all leadership roles within the business are well versed in the parameters of your business’s travel policy, and that they maintain compliance with the policy themselves. If leadership is seen taking a lax approach to travel policies, compliance from lower levels of the business will be even more difficult to promote.
With well-trained leadership, employees are guaranteed to get clear and accurate information regarding compliance policies and procedures. Though these policies are not typically tailor-made for a business, educated leadership can mold travel policies to best fit their chunk of business operations, ideally creating a seamless and concise process to help employees comply with travel policies.
Deadlines are incredibly important to businesses, creating a hard boundary for employees to measure against. Deadlines are more than setting a calendar date, however.
Once compliance policies and procedures are set in place, regular meetings with employees and employee leadership will help to outline the importance of travel policy compliance, as well as give opportunities for employees to check their own compliance. Surveys and scheduled reminders can regularly remind employees to manage their compliance by the deadline, as well as encourage them to reach out and contact leadership should any hiccups with compliance occur. Overly-frequent or rigid reminders can become frustrating for anybody, so be sure not to overload your employees with additional work. Offer clear lines of communication, but be careful not to micromanage, as the frustrations and stress that come from it can often hinder policy compliance itself.
Some businesses may also benefit from automating communications by using a software solution for translating policies and procedures. Policy management software can provide portals for employees to access information, automate emails on a regular schedule, and may even provide a help expert to guide employees through travel compliance. Automating communications and using travel policy management software will minimize the amount of hoops employees have to jump through, minimizing missed deadlines and simplifying the travel policy compliance procedure overall.
Tailor Delivery Format for Your Audience
Every department of a business operates differently, requiring unique and tailor-made solutions that reflect the values of each department. Some departments may travel more than others, or may only travel domestically, or within local city limits. Each department will have different amounts of work to do to maintain compliance, meaning that delivering travel policy information to these teams in the right way is of utmost importance.
Some teams may prefer to receive travel policy information in a physical seminar, where they can ask questions at the moment from a direct source. This typically works well for teams that have no work-from-home employees, or for small businesses that don’t have large department sizes. Other teams, conversely, may prefer a purely digital and depersonalized format, opting for FAQs or forums, or simply addressing issues as they arise. No one format is better than another, and all options should be considered on a department-to-department basis. This shows a care for the individual needs of a department, as well as streamlines the process to focus on what is specifically necessary for a particular department’s compliance.
Use a Travel Booking Tool or Management Company
Travel policy compliance doesn’t have to be tackled alone — hiring a travel management company or making use of a travel booking tool are great ways to ease management burdens and promote travel policy compliance.
Using innovative software and expert teams, travel management companies do the legwork for you, narrowing booking options to only bookings that are within policy. They also may have staff on standby to assist employees in their travels, ensuring that all questions about travel policy compliance and procedures are answered before deadlines approach. On the business side of things, travel management companies can also help businesses save money on bookings and travel overall, allowing for more cash to be used for reimbursements, policy adjustments, or just for more travel down the line.
Travel booking tools may also come with the travel management company, and enable employees to take clearer control over their travel while limiting options to only those that are within travel policy compliance. Filters such as costs, accessibility to key destinations, shuttles, transit rentals, and many others are available within these tools, allowing employees to make the most policy-friendly decisions from the beginning.
Travel booking tools and travel management companies are preemptive measures to maintain travel policy compliance and greatly benefit businesses who frequently engage in business travel or find they are growing into travel-friendly markets.
Maintain Strict Reimbursement Policies
Once a travel policy is set, maintaining strict reimbursement policies will help to set guidelines and precedents for travelers within the company. Clear and concise reimbursement guidelines prevent confusion over which incidental costs are covered under a travel policy. Small and seemingly inconsequential costs like room service, rideshares, particular meals, and even entertainment are easily overlooked until it comes time for reimbursement, and employees may be disappointed to find not all of their expenses are covered by the policy. Worse, it may incur significant costs to the company due to non-compliant spending, so this type of spending should be avoided when possible.
To combat this, businesses should adopt a robust but concise reimbursement procedure. Be clear about which aspects of accommodation, entertainment, meals, and incidental costs are covered by travel policies, and reject any expenses which do not fit. If the travel policy is fair and clear, compliance should be a simple matter for most employees.
Travel is frequently an incredibly stressful endeavor, and even more so when money and income are involved. As such, it is in a business’s best interest not to hammer down its employees with incessant reminders of travel policy information. Reward employees for maintaining travel policy compliance, and guide employees who struggle with compliance to resources and avenues that can help improve their knowledge of compliant travel policies and procedures.
A strong culture of workplace wellness is a valuable aspect to cultivate, and business travel can be a significant part of that. Rewarding well-performing teams with a corporate vacation, or providing bonuses for flawless travel policy compliance are ways to make employees feel valued and welcomed by their employer, while also promoting a culture of travel compliance as well. Workplace wellness is at the core of many business operations and will have resounding benefits if cultivated.
Promote Travel Policy Compliance at All Levels
From leadership to entry-level positions, maintaining a strong travel policy is beneficial for all levels of operation. By educating leadership, maintaining robust and strict policies, and communicating clear deadlines, strong guidelines and support can be set for employees to enrich the travel policy experience for everyone.
Using tools such as travel management tools, or hiring a travel management company can take the burden away from businesses and allow them to focus on their true work — running the business. Travel management companies are experts in their field, whose express job is to outline and assist travel policy compliance for businesses. They also improve accessibility, making policy compliance easier to achieve for employees. There are many ways to achieve travel compliance within a business, but there is no doubt it benefits companies greatly when properly deployed. Contact Telios Travel today for help with your travel compliance needs.