Written on November 28, 2012 at 9:00 am, by Guest Blogger
Want to know how your peers manage day-to-day challenges in travel and expense? Concur is sharing the best practice stories of its clients about everything from travel booking to policy enforcement. From the technology industry to the education field, the process varies – this is how they do it.
Company: PMI Mortgage Insurance Co.
Industry: Financial services
Overview: PMI Mortgage provides residential mortgage insurance coverage in the United States.
How they do it: Policy compliance
Policy compliance doesn’t always sound like the most popular job in the office – none of the employees want me contacting them because they know they’ve done something they shouldn’t have. But in the beginning, I dealt with travel policy compliance issues daily. As people became more educated about our policies, the problems came weekly, then monthly, and now I deal with compliance on a rare occasion.
Tricks of the trade
People always need to believe that you are not out to get them when they have gone out of compliance. The mantra, “You attract more bees with honey”? It’s always worked for me. However, if they are repeat offenders then you have to move to a much harsher approach and get folks involved who can really help you drive the point home.
I always made sure everything was documented in email so I could show management that I had worked with their employee multiple times to correct the behavior – at a certain point, I needed them to take over, understanding the history of the situation.
Communicating the policy
We have an internal website that we built a whole travel page on. On that site we listed our policy as a manual, and then put some high level “quick tips” on that page. This gave folks a quick reminder at a glance. Additionally, we worked closely with our TMC to build a landing page that would look similar to our internal website page.
Our policy enforcement generally works. When employees used to go out of compliance, the usual suspect was air travel. But mandating the use of our travel management company (TMC) made that problem obsolete. These days, people go out of policy with meals. We had a situation where employees were spending money like water on very elaborate meals with either their colleagues or customers. It became a huge issue one quarter and we had to have some very difficult discussions with people around their spending habits while on the road.
As a result, we don’t incentivize our policy enforcement. Instead, we use the threat of non-payment as encouragement. In essence, that’s our incentive.
Our biggest challenge has been getting buy-in from the top down. Most of our issues with non-compliant employees had been pre-approved by managers. It took some additional approvals within Concur before we found evidence of items being out of policy. It was only after discovering this that we could really hone in on the culprit – usually managers who didn’t understand the policy either.
Compliance has to be something that all management has bought into or it will never work. People will push the envelope and you have to have the ability to run things up the food chain and be supported, or your policy will never accomplish what was intended.
For PMI Mortgage, additional approvals within Concur really helped drive home the compliance issue. Peer pressure can be very useful when you are trying to correct behavior that is spinning the wrong way! Additionally, when we finally put a TMC in place and mandated the use of that TMC helped drive the compliance point home for employees. Before they were free to do whatever they wanted and no one really policed it – now, we’re all over it!
Lisa and her daughter
Lisa Kemper has been the Senior Corporate Services Specialist at PMI Mortgage for 10 years.