I’m writing this from 35,000 feet in the air somewhere between my home in Oklahoma City and my destination on the East Coast. As someone on a virtual team, I enjoy the opportunity to venture out from my home office, spend face-to-face time with my team, interact with our clients, and experience the cities where they live and work.
But travel can be stressful too. Flight delays and cancellations, sleepless nights in unfamiliar places, time away from loved ones, missing out on things happening at home - it can add up to a less than pleasant experience.
When it comes to corporate travel, organizations tend to focus on the financial impact but the effects on employee recruiting and retention are often overlooked. According to a 2017 report from the Global Business Travel Association, 79 percent of North American business travelers said their corporate travel experience impacts their overall job satisfaction. (<-- Click to tweet this!) 59 percent indicated that a company’s travel policy is an important factor when considering a potential new employer. Given the significant role business travel plays in employee satisfaction and candidate attraction, what can organizations do to help make corporate travel better for employees?
Here’s a round-up of 5 ways to make time on the road easier for your travelers:
1. Ensure policies are clear, well-communicated and easy to reference
Go beyond the standard review of your organization’s travel and expense policy during new hire onboarding. Prior to a new employee’s first trip, follow up with a refresher of corporate travel resources. New hires are inundated with information in their first few weeks, so take a moment to remind them about the policies to not only help with compliance, but to also help them feel at ease while away.
2. Incorporate traveler preferences
Allow your employees to earn points or frequent flyer miles for their preferred airlines, hotel chains, rental car companies and the like, that comply with your company’s travel program. Though you can’t make up from time away from home, you can offer this simple perk that can accrue to a free flight or hotel stay.
3. Offer road warrior wellness programs and incentives
Let’s face it - no matter how prepared you may be, travel can be stressful. Offering your road warriors travel-friendly wellness programs is one way to help them keep stress in check. From gamified wellness apps to reimbursing gym passes, ensure that your health incentive programs are travel-friendly (and get creative!). Take a look at another exaqueo blog post, 25 Employee Wellness Ideas that Cost Little to Nothing for ideas to build healthy habits inside and outside the office. Take it a step further by rewarding employees who’ve proven to stay active and healthy on the road by giving them company-branded travel swag.
4. Simplify processes
Making reservations and submitting expenses can be time-consuming and cumbersome. Look for ways to simplify the process for employees, whether on the road or in the office. An easy way to uncover your employees’ pain points is to conduct an online survey. Take a sample of your organization’s frequent, as well as not-so-frequent flyers, to gather multiple viewpoints. If your employees’ feedback supports it (along with your budget), consider deploying a travel and expense program that addresses their feedback.
5. Give virtual meetings a second thought
There are times when video conference calls just won’t do it and in-person meetings are a must. But there are other times when virtual meetings can be an easy alternative. Not only does this help with T&E and reduces your company’s carbon footprint, it also means employees spend less time away from home. With today’s technology, there are countless tools and vendors providing services to help facilitate virtual meetings. By using online resources like webinars with video camera integration or virtual office spaces, you can provide your employees with an experience that is comparable to in-person meetings.
Improving your employees’ corporate travel experience before departure, while away and after returning to the office, is one of many ways to increase employee satisfaction.
If you enjoyed this post, check out this one: What PTO Can Do For Your Employer Brand.
Alyssa Bani (@alyssa_bani) is an Employer Brand Strategist at exaqueo, an employer brand experience firm building employer brands and the talent strategies that drive them through research, consulting and creative and digital execution. Contact exaqueo to learn more about our employer brand innovation, workforce research and recruiting strategy offerings.