With the release of the ISO 31030 standard, organisations have a comprehensive framework for corporate travel policies, with employee safety at the heart of all processes, procedures and protocols.
Developing and maintaining a robust strategy to assess the safety of international travel from pre-departure training to emergency response is at the core of ISO 31030 and should installed in every organisations’ travel policy. An important factor which can sometimes be overlooked is employee engagement, which can be achieved with end-user simplicity, communication and understanding.
The first principle for any effective corporate travel policy is simplicity for the user. If the processes involved in a travel policy are too complex, then user buy-in will be difficult to attain. If prior to a trip, an employee is faced with red tape, complicated documentation and obstructive procedures, it raises the likelihood they will attempt to bypass the process entirely, undermining the purpose of the ISO 31030 standard.
Simple processes are best underpinned by sophisticated, digitised and streamlined travel risk management technology. If the risk assessment, itinerary scheduling, medical requirements and more can be done in a matter of minutes by a digitised system, employees are more likely to subscribe to the processes involved in any corporate travel policy.
In order to establish an effective corporate travel risk policy, processes must be communicated to employees in an efficient and appropriate manner. According to a 2022 survey by GBTA (Global Business Travel Association), 36% of responders stated they required additional information about their company’s trip approval process. Responders also indicated that they overwhelmingly wanted companies to disseminate information on travel risk management process via email.
It is up to organisations to decide what communication is most appropriate for their business model, while ensuring employees have access to the necessary information regarding policy processes and requirements. In some cases, employees may not appreciate blanket emails and a more personalised, one-to-one meeting is suitable. Information about travel risk policies should be simple and available, with formal or complex policies broken down into easily digestible chunks. With the jargon stripped away and key information stored on an easily accessible intranet site, mobile application or other portal, the likelihood of organisational compliance is increased.
Once an employee has been provided with the tools and knowledge of a company’s travel risk policy, it is then important they understand why compliance is necessary. Pre-trip assessments can be seen as cumbersome and unnecessary to the end user and providing the rationale behind such processes can ensure greater buy-in. Rather than a impediment to travel, risk assessments should be seen as having the travellers safety at their very heart, to ensure any risks are mitigated prior to departure. Communication is key to this, with policy benefits articulated to the end user. Automated risk assessment tools like Healix Travel Safe look at personalising medical risk, and produce results in a matter of seconds. These tools can also securely store previous assessments, medical data and personal information, allowing the user to both expedite assessments while keeping data up-to-date, while also producing tailored advice and actions.
Understanding is a two-way street. Organisations can be blind to processes which are inhibitive or overly complex, so employee feedback is vital for the development of travel policy programmes. Feedback through pulse surveys, feedback sessions or questionnaires can provide travel managers with information on how a policy can be improved from those that follow the processes most frequently. Employees are most likely to subscribe to a travel policy is they feel their input is valued. Understanding of the foundations underpinning a travel policy allows users to appreciate that compliance delivers favourable outcomes for all involved.
Mutual Benefits for Companies and Employees
A simple to use, well communicated and holistic travel policy is mutually beneficial for both company and traveller. From safeguarding employee safety to saving booking costs, international travel should not be a point of contention, but a valuable experience for all involved. Digitised tools facilitate greater end-user familiarity for employees, while two-way communication and understanding are crucial for buy-in. Well-informed and reassured employees make the best travellers, and the easiest way to achieve that is through acknowledged compliance with corporate travel policies.