Thursday 13 February 2020

*GUEST BLOG* How SMEs can enhance employee retention though a traveller-centric travel policy

Ninety-nine per cent of the time, travelling for business isn’t fun. Anybody who has ever travelled for business will contest. It can be stressful, long, tiring and lonely, but seldom fun. These days there is so much businesses can do to make sure the travel element of an employee’s role isn’t having a detrimental impact on them - and in turn, on the organisation.

There is so much focus these days on employee wellbeing and with good reason. As the most important asset an organisation has, negative impact on employees can have an adverse effect to the business as a whole, that is felt particularly strongly in SMEs where workforces are inevitably smaller. Businesses are becoming ever more aware of the need to take care of their employees for the greater good of them as people and in terms of their impact on business performance.

It isn’t unrealistic to think if people aren’t happy in their roles, they’ll leave. Gone are the days of staying in the same job for twenty years. If there are factors that negatively impact on your life and lifestyle, you can move on, and find something that you have a much more positive experience with.

Building a travel policy that puts the traveller at the centre of that and considers the traveller experience as well as their needs and wants first, can be a great thing in keeping these travellers – a business’s employees – happy.

At taptrip, that’s exactly what we try help businesses achieve. We offer an omnichannel, easy-to-use solution for travellers that takes some of the pain out of travel and frees up more time for some of the fun stuff. We try take that one step further in not only taking away the chore of booking travel, or filing expenses, with AI machine learning, the more a traveller uses the taptrip app, the better it gets to know their interests and tastes, and can make suggestions to nearby attractions, events, even restaurant recommendations. It puts the traveller back in control of their travel and means any down time they get when travelling for business, doesn’t need to be spent inside the four walls of their hotel room.

With every five bookings, it also rewards the traveller with things like free coffees and discounts at various retail brands, or a traveller can decide to offset these rewards against their carbon footprint by donating them to a relevant charity that plants trees and works towards more sustainable business travel.

There are so many ways that a traveller-centric travel policy can impact in a positive way for employees and that knock on is felt across an organisation. If employees are happy, they’re less likely to look elsewhere for employment meaning a positive effect on employee retention is almost a certainty. Employees are less likely to suffer with burn-out and it can reduce the number of sick days taken too.

There’s no doubt that it can also create a desirability factor in attracting new talent as well – if the perception of employee happiness in an organisation is strong, and the business’s policies put its employees first, people are more likely to want to work with that business.

We know that for a lot of SMEs – some 92% in fact - are unfamiliar with travel policies; establishing them, enforcing them, evaluating them, and this creates an unnecessary amount of work in booking and managing employee travel. It means the booking process is disparate, fragmented and causes so much more hassle than necessary for both the traveller and the organisation – and inevitable costs the business more money too. With a better, traveller-centric solution this cost saving is felt by the organisation and allows for better visibility on travel spend as a whole. It’s a win-win for the traveller and the organisation they work for.

Neil Ruth, chief commercial officer, taptrip. taptrip are exhibiting at this year's Business Travel Show, register for FREE and visit them on stand B3204

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