Everyone knows that expense policy is the most important travel and expense policy you can have. Your company may not explicitly mention it, but everyone understands that a lack of money for personal expenses will ultimately leave you with a tight budget and no time to plan your professional life. When it comes to setting an office travel and expense policy, there are several key considerations so that you don’t end up creating an unwieldy mess. Here are some steps to follow in order to make sure that your new travel and expense policy is a success!
Define your expectations upfront
Not everyone working in an office has a fully developed travel and expense policy in place. You’re unlikely to notice if someone is only halfway there as they move into their new role. So, before you start the implementation process, get into the habit of defining your expectations upfront. You can start this process by writing down your expectations for your new colleagues and managers. Are they free to travel when needed, and allow for personal expenses when the need arises? Are they responsible with their spending, and ensure that the office remains financially sound? These kinds of questions will help you clarify your expectations and avoid problems later on down the line. A good travel and expense policy will be flexible enough to address the changing needs of your organization, while still maintaining consistency across the building.
Consider the consequences
Shipping a small suitcase to a new city is one thing. Sending it back with a full bag after that is another story entirely. What you take with you on flights, trains and in cars may not seem like a big deal to someone who’s never been away from home before. While you don’t need to go to extremes to ensure that your new colleagues feel safe and secure while abroad, you do need to consider the consequences of their actions. If your new employees are constantly carrying large bags with them to work, you’re likely to incur some frustration and bad vibes from other stakeholders in the organization. This can be costly in the end, not only to you but to your company as a whole. It’s important to remember that no two people will travel and work in the same way. It’s ideal to have a general outline in place that all staff members can follow, but each individual’s experience is likely to be different and requires consideration.
Make it enforceable with proper punitive measures
A common mistake that new travel and expense policies make is to stress the word “will” instead of “should.” As soon as you start to enforce your policy, you’ll discover that it’s difficult to take away. If people don’t want to talk or don’t feel able to discuss their plans, they may decide to ignore you. This can be a huge bummer. There are several ways to address this problem. You can either make it a company rule, have a training session for managers and HR leaders, or create a written policy that is enforceable within your organization. The key here is making it clear that you will take punitive action if your employees don’t follow the policy. If people aren’t following the rules, you can always refer them to the “should” part and let them off the hook. You don’t need to be overly punitive, but it’s important to establish a “do something” standard if you want to see improvement in the near future.
Reward Top Savers
As a competitive business, you have to save up as much as possible so that you can stay ahead of your competitors in the market at all times. One way of doing this is by nudging your employees to save money when they are traveling by making the right choices. These clouds include budget hotels and airlines, shared cabs and affordable restaurants. If your business requires international travel, it’s essential to plan ahead and obtain the necessary visas for your employees. For instance, if you’re planning a business trip to Egypt, you’ll need to obtain your Egypt visa before you leave. One way to do this is by rewarding the employees who travel frugally and save as much money as possible for the office. This will encourage and inspire others to do the same. Another way of achieving this could be appointing a travel manager who will manage all the bookings, which will ensure that the office has greater control over itinerary and the money being used for other purposes. It will allow you to standardize expenditure across your team of employees.
Your new travel and expense policy should be a priority as soon as you move into your new role. As your new manager, it’s my job to make sure that the policy stays top of mind and is well-implemented throughout the company. By following these steps, you can ensure that your new travel and expense policy is a success!