Getting employees to follow the rules outlined in your company travel policy is much easier said than done, but that doesn’t make it impossible.
Here are seven ways to sell your company travel policy to your employees for more compliant travel that benefits both your company and its talent.
1. Evaluate Your Travel Policy
Before worrying about actually getting employees to follow the rules, take a good, hard look at your policy and put yourself in your traveling team members’ shoes.
Is the policy easy to understand and clear, or vague? Can travelers quickly know what they need to do and how to do it, or do you frequently get emails with the same travel policy questions over and over again? Does the policy make team members’ lives more convenient or more difficult?
If your travel policy isn’t easy to understand and easy to follow, you’ll have a difficult time getting people to follow your travel policy, as it’s just more convenient and quicker for them to ignore it.
Beyond evaluating your travel policy, consider asking your travelers specifically what they like or dislike about the policy so that you can address concerns. If your travelers feel heard and know that you’re working to make the policy work for them, not against them, they’re more likely to be compliant.
2. Create a Travel Policy That’s Beneficial — Not Just Easy
Beyond creating a travel policy that’s easy for your travelers to follow, strive to create a travel policy that will actively benefit your travelers when they follow it.
- Allowing travelers to keep the travel reward points or miles that they earn from their business travel (so long as they’re traveling with an approved brand)
- Showing travelers that you trust them to make the right decisions, avoiding micromanagement
- Making expense reports simple and streamlined
- Allowing for flexible booking options, in case employees want to combine travel with leisure for a “bleisure” trip that extends their stay
Beyond these suggestions, you can get creative with your travel policy compliance benefits in other ways. Maybe compliant travelers receive rewards beyond points and miles in the form of monetary prizes or even days off.
3. Understand Generational Differences
With different generations in the workforce, you’re just going to have team members that operate incredibly differently. Your Baby Boomer and older Gen X team members may have an idea of business travel that’s starkly different from that of your Millennial and Gen Z team members. You might find that your older generations are more likely to make an effort to stick to your policy’s guidelines. But your younger generations are more likely to quickly adopt tech tools needed to remain compliant.
As you gain a better understanding of what kind of travel policy will benefit your team members, as well as where your current travel policy may have room to improve. Keep generational differences in mind and remember that you likely won’t be able to please everyone in the company. You may need to show flexibility in some areas to meet the needs of most team members.
4. Address Non-Compliance
If you’re not doing anything to address non-compliance, why would frequent offenders do anything to change their ways?
Track compliance violations and monitor them just as you would any bad behavior at work. Try to get to the root issues behind the violations. Are team members simply confused? Do they just not care? Or are they going out of their way to violate the company travel policy?
Discuss the issue with the offender, compile documentation that shows the offenses, and continue monitoring the situation for future offenses. If certain individuals just cannot comply with the existing travel policy, then further action may need to be taken from their direct superiors.
5. Don’t Give in to Demands for Reimbursement
Non-compliant travelers may demand to be reimbursed for non-compliant, out-of-pocket costs, but this is where you can easily reduce non-compliance — by simply refusing to reimburse travelers for costs that do not adhere to the travel policy.
6. Stay Flexible
As your organization grows and as senior employees retire and new talent is hired, you’ll find that your business travel needs to grow and evolve as well. Keep your travel policy flexible, and don’t hesitate to revise your policy to better meet travelers’ and the organization’s needs. Nothing should be entirely set in stone.
As you do make changes to the policy, be sure to thoroughly and clearly communicate those changes to your travelers. Educate them on the changes, why they were necessary and what they can expect in their trips ahead.
Additionally, as your policy continuously evolves, be sure you’re likewise continuously taking feedback from employees. So as to constantly keep your finger on the pulse of what they need and their business travel-related concerns.
7. Use a TMC
If you’ve tried all of the above and you’re still dealing with issues of non-compliance, you may want to consider working with a TMC. A TMC will often provide you with software that will monitor your employees’ travel booking decisions. They may even be able to stop issues of non-compliance before they occur by only allowing for certain bookings and other travel decisions.
Getting Employees to Follow Rules In Your Travel Policy is Possible
If you struggle with getting employees to follow the rules in your travel policy and non-compliance is more the norm than compliance, there is a way to change things. With the right resources and a trusted partner by your side, you can get a handle on your organization’s travel program, ensuring that each trip is within budget, compliant, profitable for the company and safe for the traveler.