Without compliance, a corporate travel policy is just a list of ways your company could be saving time and money but isn't.
But with all that goes into enforcing a travel policy, we understand how frustrating it can be to deal with change management and non-compliant travelers while trying to increase policy adoption. Oy.
In a recent BTN article titled An SME Travel Policy That Has Teeth, Andy Menkes predicts that a company instituting a policy for the first time will save 20 to 30 percent if employees comply with even the simplest possible version of a travel policy: book with approved payment methods, book through the OBT or TMC, and book preferred airlines and hotels.
More from the article:
All those requirements add up to a mandated policy, though, and not everyone agrees that's a good thing. "I've always heard that mandate is a four-letter word," said Menkes. "Here's the answer I give: Does your company allow employees to go out and buy their own office furniture and then submit an expense report for a desk and chairs or whatever? I doubt it. Can an employee go into Best Buy, pick out a laptop of his or her choosing bring it in and say to IT, 'Here, you configure it,' and then say to their boss, 'I need to be reimbursed for the laptop I just bought.' [Well], the average expense report costs more than a chair, a desk or a laptop."
It makes perfect sense to the rest of us, but if you are responsible for enforcing your organization's travel rules and regulations, here's a few tips to make your position a bit more positive:
Support from the top
Make sure you are getting necessary support from upper management and HR. Without their buy in, it's tough to make travel policy compliance part of your organization's culture and expectations. It's so important for your travelers to understand that you're all working toward the same goal, which is keeping your company smart and organized.
Shift the paradigm
Mandating a travel policy doesn't mean heavy restrictions- just helpful guidelines. To this point, we recently wrote another article about shifting the mindset of travel budgets... reminding travel managers that budgeting doesn't have to mean cutting back. It's more about acknowledging what you intend to spend money on and allocating travel spend for it. It goes the same with travel policies. Avoid going to extremes and creating pain points for everyone and instead, use your policy to gently (but firmly) guide your travelers closer to compliance.
Compliance is more than cost savings
Yes, your company wants to be sure smart financial decisions are being made in regard to travel, but there's so much more to travel policies than trying to cut costs. Compliance can save you and your travelers a lot of time (reporting is going to be a breeze!) and allows your organization to know where your travelers are to ensure they are safe and secure. That last part is priceless- but do your travelers know you're doing this for their benefit, too?
At the end of the day, it's really all about communicating the advantages of your travel policy and getting as much support as you need. Speaking of support, we love helping organizations out with writing and enforcing corporate travel policies. Having pain points? We're always here to talk.