How To Develop A Corporate Travel Policy
Having a robust corporate travel policy is essential for any company that employs more than one person. Eliminating misinterpretation, it’s important to have a set of corporate travel policy best practices, so that everyone is aligned and treated fairly.
It’s also important for due diligence and legal formalities – to protect your business and its employees. With more and more colleagues working remotely and travelling for business than ever before, it’s essential to have a clear considered corporate travel policy in place.
Although impossible to consider every eventuality, most corporate travel policy best practices should cover all the key elements essential for duty of care. These range from expenses submission to personal safety.
If you’re currently developing a set of business travel guidelines, here’s some key points to include in your document:
As with any piece of work, it’s important to define your objectives from the outset. If one of the main objectives is to keep spending down, or to provide best practice for sharing rooms for instance, this should underpin each section.
However, at the very least, a corporate travel policy should encompass; an expenses policy, preferred suppliers list (hotels, airlines, etc), loyalty schemes, booking process, capped costs, per diems, safety and security, travel insurance and responsibilities. It should also dovecote into your Duty of Care manual seamlessly.
For the avoidance of doubt corporate travel policy best practices include being as detailed as possible. Nothing should be left to misinterpretation.
Particular attention should be paid to grey areas such as who should be responsible for paying business meals in a team dynamic, how to manage expenses in terms of receipts and dates for submission, and etiquette in accepting gifts from third parties. Furthermore, every member of the company from the top down should be compliant with these.
Since there is no one-size-fits-all corporate travel policy, it’s important to consider elements that may be specific to your company. For instance, if colleagues travel by car frequently, you may wish to include a mileage calculator to use. Feel free to make the document bespoke to your business.
Although you it’s never needed, it’s important to be clear about your business travel insurance. This should include everything that the policy does and doesn’t cover. Since this isn’t an area most people will give too much time reading, pull out any key take-outs. For instance, is the colleague covered if they miss their train, and what if they decide to extend their business trip for pleasure?
Colleagues should also be given an emergency contact for travel or medical insurance, in the event that they need support out of the office.
However, guidelines shouldn’t be so rigid that there’s no room for choice. Employees enjoy the option to pick and choose preferred hotels, cars, train operators and so forth. Therefore, it’s a good idea to offer some choice and flexibility, while offering fair parameters for capped costs and suppliers.
Sustainable travel is an area that all businesses should strive towards. Therefore, you may want to consider digital receipts and expenses as a preferred method for submission.
You may also wish to include a section about the benefits of sharing cars or using public transport over flying, as and where appropriate. Corporate social responsibility should be the joint efforts of every individual employed.
Enforcing the Policy
Essential to corporate travel policy best practices is enforcing the policy. Consider how will this be handled?
Smaller companies with HR teams may be able to implement this internally, whilst large companies may decide to outsource it to specialists. That said, companies of all size are moving towards digital resources more than ever, since these can be an affordable way to manage teams out of office hours.
To make your policies easy to enforce, keep them clear, relevant and to the point. Keep documents formal but user-friendly, avoiding business jargon where possible.
Format them with numbers and bullet points, under relevant headings – this will make them easier to reference.
As a final point, considering that most employees will need access to a corporate travel guide out of office hours, they should be easily accessed.
If possible, the guidelines should be downloaded onto desktops, iPads or devices. If it’s hosted on your company intranet, make sure it’s easy to find.
New starters should always receive a hard copy when joining a company as a priority, or better still in digital format – it’s more sustainable after all!
So there you have it, seven useful steps for developing your policy with corporate travel policy best practices in mind.