The basics first: How do you define a corporate culture? Corporate culture entails the personality of an entire firm or organization. Or put in other words, it is a set of shared values, beliefs, traditions, philosophies, rules, and roles that generally direct how employees think, act, behave, feel and act within the designated corporate policy, rules of behaviour and professional ethics. Therefore, it is pretty much apparent that culture is the pivot that turns everything towards an organisation’s behaviour.
When it comes to travel, employee culture involves employees’ attitudes and beliefs towards where and when they travel, the mode of transportation they tick, and accommodation they decide to choose. The way they involve themselves in the decision making process can have a significant bearing on the overall effectiveness of business travel.
Tripeur believes there are a number of critical factors that play a vital role in shaping the corporate culture for cost-effective and efficient business travel:
Leaders show the way – Leaders at all strata of any organization must set a clear example on compliance to travel policies and adaptability to travel changes. This said leaders must lead the way through their own travel patterns and compliance behaviour.
Smarter choices –Smarter choices – Any company, by design, has to establish a strong travel policy that the entire organization has to comply with. The travel manager, as part of his or her role, has a wide range of choice from booking classes, advance fare purchase, low-cost carrier alternatives, and selection of hotels and accommodations, etc that help in cost-savings and increasing the bottom-line.
Robust travel policy – A robust strategic travel policy is of utmost essence to change the travel behavioural pattern across the entire organization. The travel policy should be long-term focused and must integrate all aspects of how corporate travel is conducted in the organization. This must be approved, recognized and stuck to by all company travellers and travel bookers.
Education – Travel policy compliance shouldn’t stop with simply creating one; company travellers and travel bookers should clearly understand the need for change. A Travel manager should closely with business owners, CFOs, procurement managers, company leaders and/or internal travel bookers to make people, both on an individual level and company-wide, understand the importance of travel policy implementation through the right training and education.
Training – Companies looking to save on corporate travel costs should look to invest in educating and training their employees on the impact of business travel and how it should be conducted within the designated travel policy. Some of the knowledge areas that employees should be trained include corporate travel protocols, work flow and best practices, common airline routings, fare rules & regulations, hotel/accommodation price negotiations, among others.
Induction Programs– Organizations should also invest in induction programs that cover travel management polices to new inductees involved in travel management or likely to travel extensively in future.
Celebrating the little successes – A company must try to huddle and celebrate those little successes and thank everyone if the travelling employees’ adherence to business travel policy is yielding good results. Whatever little appreciation the company shows will go a long way in cementing long-term cultural association between the employees and company.
In any organizational structure, big or small, cultural changes take time to sink deep in the ranks. A travel policy is worthy of following only when it is approved by those who swear by business travel and its magic. Don’t expect change to happen overnight; it requires integration of conscious effort, time and yes, some right people onboard.