Travel program diversification

When it comes to environment, social and governance (ESG) strategies, some companies have a stronger focus on the environment, others are tightly governed by the industry they work in, while some companies have long been standout performers in the social space.

Most recently industry discussions have been heavily focused on the environmental aspects of travel. But what about the social aspects of a travel program? The pandemic has shone the spotlight on updating travel programs and policy to create safer workplaces and travel experiences for employees. 

If you haven’t already factored diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) into your travel framework, this article provides a good overview of what you may need to consider if you’re embarking on a travel policy or program update. It’s possible that in your existing travel policy, the unique needs of all your travellers haven’t been considered. 

people in airport

Designing travel fit for 2022 and beyond

As we slowly enter a post-COVID world, travellers are taking a greater interest in their physical and mental health, and businesses have an opportunity to be proactive and support these needs. Not only that, when sending your team out into the world, their safety should be of top priority as you ramp up your travel activity again.  

While this is, by no means, an extensive list, extra consideration should be made for people who are at higher risk of discrimination while travelling as well as people with accessibility needs including:

  • Travellers who are People of Colour
  • Female travellers
  • Travellers who are pregnant
  • Travellers with varying mobility needs
  • Travellers with sight or hearing impairment
  • Travellers with a chronic illness
  • Travellers with an invisible disability
  • Travellers who are transgender and/or non-binary
  • Travellers who observe salat or other faith practices
  • Multilingual travellers whose first language isn’t English
people meeting at work

Inclusive thinking encourages new foundations

By encouraging conversation amongst your travelling employees and across your business, you’ll gain an understanding of the unique needs of all your team members both at home and on the road. You’ll want to start by -:

  • Consulting your HR team, IT team, DEI manager or perhaps it’s your People and Culture Leader or department.
  • Run a survey of your team. Get down to the nitty gritty and dig into common concerns, gaps in information and areas where improvements are needed. Investigate what’s working in your current travel policy or travel program, as well as what isn’t, and listen. Really listen. 
  • Once you have a clear understanding, you can then begin redesigning your travel program and policy. Your FCM team can help you to capture key information for your program around traveller preferences, traveller requirements, business requirements, budgeting information, how much flexibility you can allow, and ensure that your people are visiting destinations that are safe. A transparent, inclusive travel policy means your team has clarity, flexibility and information when and how they need it. 

Check in and be flexible

Diversifying your travel program is not a one-and-done action. Check in with your business travellers regularly and offer a safe space for them to provide feedback.

It’s also important to make sure you’re checking in with your internal risk management team and your FCM team on the destinations your people are visiting.

Do your travellers need education or a refresher course on a particular country’s laws, customs or political situations? Travel conditions change constantly. And for any company with a large mobile workforce, this means a 24/7 global flow of information and communication is an important aspect of a travel program. 

Again, that’s just one of the benefits of working with a TMC like FCM – we can help you to design a program that suits your individual company’s needs.

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