Who manages business travel in your company? Is it the finance department, a travel organizer or an administrator?
If you’re an HR professional, booking business travel might not be part of your daily duties in the workplace. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be involved.
As a human resources manager, it is your responsibility to ensure the safety and performance of employees, and to make your company attractive to new talent. Business travel is directly related to these areas.
When it comes to integrating a new tool to automate certain aspects of business travel management, HR teams often play an important role in the process, especially if they work for a small or medium-sized company. TravelPerk data shows that in nearly 10% of cases, an HR professional is the point of contact between us and the companies we serve.
Read on to learn more about business travel for HR departments.
Why should HR professionals be involved in business travel?
Ensuring the safety of employees on the move
Companies have a duty to protect their employees. When an employee is on a business trip, their safety becomes the responsibility of their employer.
Employee travel programs carry a certain level of risk. Although with a bit of luck everything will be fine, there is always a risk that travelers will lose their documents, fall ill or have an accident during their trip. It is up to employers to take precautions to reduce the likelihood of these incidents and to ensure that they are properly dealt with if they do occur.
Just as most HR departments have a plan in place to deal with emergencies (like an office fire), they must also create a plan to deal with emergencies on the road. This will protect the safety and well-being of travellers, while ensuring legal compliance.
Develop the employer brand and increase employee engagement
Business travel directly influences how employees perceive their work. A study by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) found that nearly 80% of North American business travelers report their business travel experience impacts their overall job satisfaction.
The same study also showed that almost 60% of North American travelers say a company’s travel policy is an important factor when considering a potential new employerThus, business travel initiatives are also essential for hiring and employer branding.
Human resources departments should be aware of their company’s business travel policies so that they can share information about these policies with candidates.
They should also consider how business travel can positively or negatively impact employee engagement, retention, and company culture (depending on what employees think of their travel experiences and reservation).
Maintaining compliance and performance
Human resources departments are also responsible for monitoring employee performance and compliance. Unfortunately, there may be situations where business travelers do not follow company policy on business expenses or reimbursements. If this happens, HR should be made aware of the issue (and if there’s a way to prevent this from happening, great.)
On the other hand, business travel can also have a positive impact on employee performance. 84% of North American business travelers say the quality of their business travel experience impacts their performance at work, according to the GBTA. In many cases, travel can boost morale and well-being, improve relationships, or provide unique learning opportunities not available in the office.
Clearly, business travel is linked to several HR-related issues. It is therefore not surprising that many HR professionals are directly involved in the purchase of business travel management tools.
If you’ve been tasked with choosing a business travel software provider for your business, you may not know where to start. Here are some of the most important features to look for:
Traveler tracking and risk management
To keep your travelers safe, you need to know where they are. Some travel management platforms offer real-time tracking, allowing you to pinpoint the location of the traveler in the event of an emergency. TravelPerk offers a travel and risk management solution, plus instant updates and alerts to help travelers stay safe.
Your travel booking and management tool should also allow you to easily communicate with travelers in real time, so they can update you on any changes (and vice versa).
Before the journey, you may want to perform a travel risk assessment to ensure you understand the potential risks of travel. This is particularly important in the case of international travel or travel requiring vaccinations or visas.
Fast customer support
Your travelers should be able to reach someone if they need help. Choose a platform that offers 24/7 customer support, so you can fulfill your duty of care and optimize the employee experience. If people need to make an urgent trip change or get help in an emergency, they need to be able to rely on your travel agency.
Business travel policy management
By allowing your business travelers to make their own travel reservations, you can offer them more freedom and convenience. But how can you make sure they are following company policy?
With a software tool like TravelPerk, you can integrate your travel policies and approval process directly into the platform. This way you will have full control over compliance without micromanaging. Travelers can request approval directly in the app, and you can add restrictions to help them book within the policy.
Sometimes travelers may need to rebook at the last minute due to an emergency. With flexible travel solutions, that doesn’t necessarily mean giving up airfare or other travel costs.
TravelPerk’s FlexiPerk program allows you to make all your trips fully refundable for a small fee. This way, travelers can cancel at any time up to two hours before travel, and obtain a minimum of 80% of the trip reimbursed. In the long run, this can lead to significant cost savings and will give your business greater control over travel expenses and the bottom line.
To learn more about how TravelPerk can help you achieve your business travel HR goals, book a free demo to see the software in action today.
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