Corporate travel policy compliance is undoubtedly a complex issue for many organizations, particularly as it can cost businesses a fortune if employees fail to follow the rules. As a travel manager, you will understand that there is no such thing as a perfect travel policy – what’s the point in a polished policy if non-compliance is costing your business enormous amounts of money? Travel policies are designed to help businesses and employees together; however, it’s more often the case that travel policies are misunderstood, ignored or employees are unaware that they are mandatory.
Business travel costs billions of dollars every year, so it’s vital that corporate travel policies are followed to ensure employee safety and maximize savings. An effective travel policy should educate employees about company travel guidelines to increase employees’ happiness and safety, as well as save the organization money that could be invested elsewhere. So, how exactly can you improve travel policy compliance?
What’s in this guide:
- What causes corporate travel compliance issues?
- Why should you track travel compliance issues?
- How to improve corporate travel compliance
- How to measure corporate travel compliance
What causes corporate travel compliance issues?
For some businesses, the compliance issue may be a simple one. Perhaps your corporate travel policy is outdated? If so, it’s no wonder why employees are not complying. Compliance issues can happen for any number of reasons, some of which are harder to control than others. Typical factors include:
- Booking tool or process
- Company culture
- Company size or structure
- Confusion among employees
- Individual employees or departments
- Inaccessible or outdated policy documents
- Lack of company-approved tools
- Outdated travel budgets
You don’t want to update your travel policy more than is necessary, however, you will need to amend it as your organization grows.
Why should you track travel compliance issues?
As a travel manager, you may be responsible for policies, processes and managing all business travel-related risks. Ultimately, it can be your responsibility to ensure departments and employees are compliant with the company’s travel policies. According to the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply, organizations with travel compliance rates higher than 80 per cent spend less money on expenses per employee. Compliance with corporate travel policies is vital to controlling your business’ expenditure, as well as ensuring employee security.
Tracking compliance issues can help you identify areas that require more attention, so you can manage outgoings in a controlled manner. It can also help your company refine its business travel processes, saving both time and money in the long run, by ensuring procedures are fit for purpose.
How to improve corporate travel compliance?
Travel policy compliance is vital to achieving corporate objectives. Whether it’s helping employees understand your policy or enforcing specific booking procedures, there are several ways in which you can improve travel policy compliance.
1. Communicate your travel policy effectively
Transparency is vital when it comes to your business’ travel policy: it’s the key to driving compliance. It’s important to update employees as and when changes are made to the existing policy to prevent staff from becoming complacent. Receiving the news of policy updates is never going to excite your employees but it will communicate the rationale behind the changes. Cracking down on complacency will help your business achieve company-wide compliance.
Communicating your travel policy doesn’t just mean sending an email to your employees – it means talking to them and ensuring they understand policy guidelines. Explain what types of expenses can be claimed and which booking platforms employees should use, and most importantly, provide insight on why these decisions have been made. You should have an open line of communication with your employees to continually update them about travel policy requirements.
Many booking platforms, such as Gett, enable you to create a travel policy within the platform and set restrictions to encourage compliance. Gett also provides in-app travel policy templates to improve your ground transportation policies.
2. Educate employees about compliance
Education is a powerful tool, and it’s no different when it comes to corporate travel compliance. Developing an education program for your travel policy is every bit as important as having an effective policy in the first place. Without a comprehensive understanding of policy guidelines and protocols, employees cannot be expected to fully comply with your organization’s travel policy.
Whether you hold regular training workshops or choose to distribute training packs, when educating employees on your travel policy you should cover everything from what booking tools to use to the approval process. Employees must have knowledge of how the travel policy affects them in order to encourage good practice. Provide employees with examples of how to book accommodation correctly, how to get travel approval and how to appropriately submit expense claims.
Be sure to include corporate travel training as part of your onboarding process for new employees, ensuring that they are well-versed from day one. Over time, this will have a significant impact on travel compliance within your organization, but it’s always beneficial to hold additional training to refresh their knowledge.
3. Equip employees with the right booking tools
Without the right tools available, corporate travel compliance is harder to promote. The market is full of cutting-edge technology, so there is plenty of innovative software that your company can use to help improve travel policy compliance. Some booking tools enable you to build your approval process into the platform from the beginning, making it easier for your employees to follow the company’s travel policy.
For example, Gett lets you build your travel policy into the platform to help employees stay within company guidelines when booking ground transportation. It prevents travelers from breaching the corporate travel policy, so you can keep within your business travel budgets.
4. Partner with a travel agency
One of the best ways to ensure corporate travel compliance is to partner with a travel management agency that is dedicated to delivering your organization’s particular needs. Travel agencies can give you the advice and the tools you need to ensure that your business travel spend stays within company guidelines. If an employee has booked travel outside of your policy you will be notified immediately, giving you more visibility over travel spend.
5. Allow employees to self-book travel
If your organization doesn’t allow employees to book travel for themselves within policy guidelines using a booking tool, you are more likely to have staff booking outside of policy guidelines. Having your company’s business travel policy integrated within the booking process will give employees the freedom to choose the experience they want within budget, thereby promoting compliance and staff satisfaction.
6. Provide strict expense reimbursement rules
When it comes to controlling travel expenses, having strict rules regarding reimbursement is good practice for any company travel policy. It prevents any confusion about what is or isn’t eligible for reimbursement by your organization. For example, confusion over whether room service charges are included in the travel expenses policy could mean that your business, or the employee, faces unnecessary costs or expense disputes.
To avoid incurring additional costs outside of your budget, it’s vital that you include everything from accommodation, entertainment, food, travel and tips in your travel policy. Clearly outline what is and is not acceptable for reimbursement to eradicate any ambiguity. This will make reimbursement procedures far more robust and can discourage employees from breaching policy guidelines.
How to measure corporate travel compliance
In order to improve corporate travel compliance, you must be able to measure performance company-wide. To do this, you will need to set goals, such as:
- Reduction in travel expenses – monitor how your corporate travel budget is being spent and identify opportunities where savings could be made. This will enable you to track which departments or employees are not compliant with the company’s travel policy.
- Optimized travel budgets – analyse individual areas of your business’ travel expenditure and measure how much is spent against your set budgets. You will be able to determine which areas need to be regulated more closely and whether business travel allowances should be implemented.
- Improved time efficiency – how much time do your employees spend on planning business trips? Break down the data by quarter or by month and compare it with the previous quarter or month – you should be able to identify whether departments or individuals are spending more time planning trips than others. This enables you to educate teams further, helping to reduce your business’ travel expenditure.
- Improved employee satisfaction – survey your employees and ensure they are happy that their needs are being met. Feedback could reveal valuable information that you could use to improve your travel policy and increase compliance.
Corporate travel compliance benefits both your business and your employees; however, there’s only so much a travel policy alone can do to discourage a breach of policy. To achieve full compliance, your organization must be flexible to the needs of your employees, the business and even the industry. Do this and your business can reduce its travel expenditure, improve employee security and meet company objectives.
Maintain your corporate travel compliance with tailored travel policies from Gett, designed to manage budgets and ensure employee security. Choose from Gett’s existing travel policies or create your own and stay in control of your business’ travel expenditure. Request your demo today.