HR professionals who haven’t reviewed their corporate travel policies in recent years may be missing a valuable opportunity – that’s the message from one VP who says they can serve as an important recruitment and retention tool.
“Business travel can be stressful,” says Patty Huska, VP of HR at American Express Global Business Travel. “It is often full of uncertainty, takes you away from your home life and places you in high-pressure situations so it’s no surprise that a company’s travel policy can be a deal breaker for current and potential employees.”
In fact, a recent survey by American Express Global Business Travel found that 48 per cent of travel managers feel that traveller-centric policies help organizations attract and retain talent.
Huska – who’s been with the firm for over 20 years – says attractive travel policies have become increasingly important over the past few years as organizations are now competing on a much more global level with business travel a regular function of many jobs.
“We are seeing many companies adopt traveller-centric policies as they are learning that employees that have positive travel experiences tend to be more engaged and more productive,” she tells HRM.
According to Huska, employers who are looking to amend their own policies must first realize that the needs and wants of the modern traveller are vastly different from those of their predecessors.
“Along with a deep understanding of your current program and traveller behaviour, regular evaluations will provide the insight to know what’s working and what needs to change,” she says.
“Millennials have shown they value comfort, mobility and convenience while travelling. They want to use their smartphones for ride sharing services or booking apps just as they would in their personal life,” she tells HRM. “When possible, a good policy will reflect these habits.”
Additionally, Huska says organizations should take steps to ensure employee safety by keeping up-to-date traveller profiles and full itineraries.
“Because of recent world events, it important to know not only who is travelling but also where they are at all times,” she explains. “Now more than ever, personal safety is a top concern among travellers. In addition to a travel manager’s duty of care responsibility, they need to make an active effort to address this apprehension.”
For organizations that already operate an attractive policy, Huska says it would be a mistake not to mention it during the recruitment process.
“During the hiring process, highlight all that your travel program has to offer as a company perk,” she tells HRM. “Keep in mind that not all companies have attractive travel policies, so this may be a prospect’s deciding factor.”