Like corporate culture, travel policies can vary greatly from one business to the next. Your company’s approach to business travel may not work for others, and vice versa. There are, however, general guidelines you can follow when setting or amending your travel policy to effectively balance employee and strategic needs with expense management.
So let’s talk about them. Here are 4 tips for a friendly travel policy, both for your employee and expenses,
Tip #1: Keep it simple
Divide your policy into sections: air travel, lodging, dining, entertainment, car rental, miscellaneous, and provide a section that helps your employees easily determine what is not reimbursable.
Do not make your policy hierarchal. It can create animosity and it’s just harder to understand. If a salesperson can’t book a $500 room, then a manager shouldn’t be able to either.
Technology can also make compliance incredibly simple. Your travel booking tool can give employees the green light to book pre-approved options. Expense solutions can allow you to set per diems based on travel rules and provide multiple options for handling overages.
Tip #2: Answer the “ifs”
What if an employee wants to travel with a spouse or significant other? What if the employee decides to stay an extra day or two? What about business travel charges if the employee is a no show, or cancels? What if the employee wants to consume alcohol at meals with clients? Is it covered? And what about paying for a cab should that employee need a lift back to the hotel?
Business travel is loaded with “ifs.” The more details you can provide, the better prepared your employees will be to handle situations as they arise.
Tip #3: Think of your business travel policy as a dynamic document
Things change – reimbursement rates change, prices change and employee needs change. Your travel policy needs to be flexible enough to change with the times.
If you’re getting the same question from multiple employees, it’s probably a good sign that your policy needs to be updated.
Making your policy digitally accessible and providing a log of recent amendments to your policy will also allow your employees to easily adhere to your business travel guidelines.
Tip #4: Give employees a say in your business travel policy
Giving a say doesn’t mean you’re giving in to all requests. Rather, it means you’re making sure your on-the-go employees know their input is valued, and when it makes sense, put into action. They’re the ones out there sitting in airports, standing in lines, coordinating, meeting, wooing, etc. Doesn’t it make sense to give them a say in what works and what doesn’t?
Allowing employees a say may lead to the realization that strict policies don’t work all the time, and that general guidelines work better in some instances for more effective business travel.
Looking for more ways to create friendly, helpful policies that all of your company can follow? Check out our quick step-by-step guide to expense reporting.