Traveling for work: it can be as exciting as it is tiring and frustrating. And according to the U.S. Travel Association, there will be a slight uptick in business travel over the next few months.
While some employees may travel once a year, there are others for whom business travel is nearly a way of life. At exaqueo, our team travels to support the needs of our clients. Some of our clients jet set extensively around the world to meet the needs of their companies. From the casual business traveler to the road warrior, what are the best ways organizations can support their employees?
Whether you work for a small non-for-profit or a large, multi-national organization, here are ideas to ease travel stresses, while showing your employees you care. This is especially important for organizations who say they put “employees first” as part of their employer brand.
Provide On-the-Road Support
Your employees should have a safety net in case something happens on the road. Make sure your medical insurance will cover them in a different state or foreign country. Ensure they have transportation assistance, such as roadside assistance (e.g. AAA) or a travel agency to manage flights, whenever they might need it. And always provide them with a way to get in touch with key managers in case of emergency.
Precheck and Global Entry Perks
In May 2017, 97 percent of TSA Pre✓® passengers waited less than five minutes. And by participating in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Global Entry program, travelers avoid processing lines and receive expedited entry benefits in other countries. These can save employees time and make traveling a little more pleasant. Consider hosting an on-site enrollment day for employees to take advantage of these benefits.
As a mom, I can vividly recall an airport moment when the baby food I was carrying was cause for a TSA search. And, it wasn’t too long ago that breastfeeding moms experienced TSA-hassles when carrying pumped milk. Enter Milk Stork to the market. Milk Stork provides a convenient shipping solution for employers to offer to breastfeeding employees who are traveling for work.
During extended stay trips, consider allowing suite hotel rooms to show employees you value their time away from home.
Flexible Food Options
Not everyone wants to grab Taco Bell or eat out every night during business travel. Offer the ability to expense groceries for healthier food options instead of requiring restaurant receipts. And, not all employees will want to eat full meals when a smoothie and granola bar will do; allow these “snacks” to count as meals.
Make Your Policy Clear
Don’t make it hard for employees to discover and digest your travel policy. Make it easy to access, easy to understand, and have clearly designated points of contact for travel related questions.
Extend Your Brand
Company swag. It’s a great way to say “thank you” to employees and help them prepare for a business trip. Consider giving company-branded sleep masks, luggage tags or passport holders (low budget), or branded carry-on bags, earbuds, or back-up battery power banks (more expensive).
Time Off for Time On
Does an employee have to leave on Sunday to get to a Monday morning meeting and then work a full week? Or perhaps they worked all week and now have to fly home on Saturday. Provide flexibility to employees who travel on the weekends (or otherwise normal days off) by offering time off, a telecommute option, and/or to have more flexible hours. (And, you may want to revisit your telecommuting policy to ensure policy aligns with practice.)
Internet on the Go
In some parts of the world (and honestly, in some parts of my house!), Internet connections can be spotty at best. Why not allow for one-time personal hotspot use or the ability to expense personal hotspot during travel? Or, pay for business lounge access and Wi-Fi at the airport or services like Gogo Inflight access.
Take Care of Your Travelers
One member of #teamexaqueo had a former employer provide a traveler's first aid kit which included medical and miscellaneous travel items. This is a low cost, handy, and thoughtful gesture … and if caring for your employees is part of your company’s employer value proposition, this is a real tangible way to bring the EVP to life.
Earn and Keep Travel Points
Many companies are developing central banks for all employees to access. Understandable on one side, but recognition for the employee who is spending time away from home, events, and family goes a long way. Yes, they sign on for the travel role, but the personal impact can exceed expectation and over time it takes its toll on the whole self. Earning and keeping hotel and/or airline points go a long way to return some work-life balance.
Wow! There are many ways you can show some love to your employees who travel on business. We want to leave you with this: anything you decide to do, try to identify ways to weave in your employer brand, too.
Your employee travel tactics can indeed support your broader employer brand strategy. > Click to tweet!
If you liked this post, check out this one: 3 Ways to Make Your Wellness Program Work
This blog post is a #teamexaqueo collaboration, contributed to by Julia Zelenock, Emily Fritz, Chrystal Moore, Kathleen O’Brien, Shannon Smedstad, and Lexi Gordon, who have all had the opportunity to travel quite a bit over the course of their careers. Contact exaqueo to learn more about our employer brand innovation, workforce research, and recruiting strategy offerings.