Whether you’re implementing a travel policy for the first time or are just trying to inject a breath of fresh air into a dusty document, take a look at our best practice advice for getting buy in when changing your travel policy throughout your organisation:
#1 Understand why
If you or your Travel Management Company (TMC) has identified a need to change your travel policy, make sure you inform key stakeholders early on in the process. Key stakeholders will have an opinion about any changes to your travel policy and will include a number of other departments; at the very least this will be HR and Finance. You’ll need to understand their priorities and make sure the new travel policy aligns with these.
Make each individual stakeholder aware of why you need to change your travel policy, the issues you have with the current travel policy and the benefits that a new travel policy is likely to deliver. If key stakeholders sign off the project at the beginning, they are much more likely to view your final decision more favourably.
#2 Collaborate with your TMC
Your account manager will be able to work in collaboration with you to understand your business goals and culture, ensuring your travel policy is aligned to meet them. They will be highly skilled in offer travel policy best practice recommendations based on your specific travel patterns and will have the tools to compare your performance against “best in breed” and make evidence based recommendations.
Introducing a new travel policy then only really works if you address what happens if the employee wants to book out of policy and your account manager will be able to advise of the best ways to implement your policy and any pre-trip approval governance across your travel programme.
#3 Show your organisation other businesses that are benefiting
Sharing examples of how your TMC has supported other organisations through a travel policy makeover, as well as the amazing results they’ve achieved, will help to give stakeholders much more confidence in what your new policy is going to deliver. Don’t be afraid to let key stakeholders speak to their peers within other customers’ organisations to hear it all first hand.
#4 Engage with the wider organisation
In our experience, engaging with your employees leads to greater buy-in and is crucial in gaining support for your change in travel policy. Engaging with employees throughout the implementation process and coaching them through the changes will enable them to make the adjustments they need, without feeling too daunted.
Our experience shows us that by creating excitement about the benefits, employees will view the changes in a positive way, which will ultimately gain buy in.
Your TMC will work closely with you to introduce and launch your new policy parameters, which may include a structured training and marketing communications programme. A series of communications is a very effective way of launching the new travel policy. Typically this would include a warm up communication, followed by marketing material and training sessions to ensure user buy in.
You may not necessarily need to train everyone on the new policy parameters – instead you could opt for training a smaller number of ‘Super’ bookers, who then pass their knowledge on to other bookers within your organisation.
#6 Implement the new Travel Policy
Integrating your travel policy into your online booking tool is the best way to bring your policy to life and ensure that it’s more than a dry document that only gets looked at on an employee’s first day.
If the user can’t easily determine which options they’re allowed to book, it can lead to frustration and confusion, which may result in the user booking outside of the contract and your controls. Depending on your booking tool, a fully integrated travel policy means that your travellers should benefit from clear indication of which booking options are within policy and which aren’t, therefore guiding their booking behaviour and operating visual guilt.
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