How to encourage employees to travel better and to adopt a virtuous behavior?
Interview with Phonemany Sackda, Account Manager at FCM.
This is a topic that is generating a lot of interest and questioning among industry professionals. Many organizations are now willing to be flexible with their travel and expense policies for the safety of their employees. According to a GBTA survey, 62% of organizations reported changing their travel safety and security policies and 55% reported implementing new travel approval procedures. Whether it's contributing to a more sustainable environment, facilitating employee well-being or improving their brand image, companies have a real opportunity to do so.
Travel managers must create systematic ways for their companies to set new guidelines for more responsible business travel. FCM's mission is to enlighten decision-makers on the importance of involving employees in the implementation of a CSR travel policy and the tools to be put in place to raise their awareness.
The perpetual quest for meaning in business travel
Since the onset of the pandemic, the notion of business travel has changed dramatically. Indeed, the sustained and often increased productivity during the pandemic has highlighted the effectiveness of decentralized workplaces. The relationship to travel has changed. Companies learned that they could continue to operate without having to travel. It became essential for them to review the qualification of travel according to its essentiality.
Business travel is undeniably different. They have become less frequent but more thoughtful.
Re-evaluating travel in terms of its impact on the environment and on the well-being of employees, as well as the way in which it can be replaced by technological platforms, are now essential criteria for players in the sector to take into account.
How then can we determine the essentiality of a journey?
FCM has developed a consulting methodology to determine whether or not a business trip is essential, using the Why we Fly matrix developed by Deloitte. This matrix can be adapted to the needs of both the company and its employees. The objective is to distribute, on this matrix, the reasons that encourage the company to make a trip. Phonemany explains:
This will allow to determine, according to the priorities of each company, the nature of their activities or even their corporate culture, the essentiality of a business trip. Working with a fully customized tool will help travel managers move towards more responsible travel and propose alternatives when travel is not deemed essential. Once the reasons have been identified, the objective will be to quantify these reasons in a reporting tool in order to regulate and analyze them. Technology allows to measure this essentiality, but to do so, we need to know the criteria and the challenges of business travel in the coming years.
Employee empowerment at the heart of the travel policy
When drafting a travel policy, it is clear that the economic pillar remains the number one criterion for many travel managers. Nevertheless, it is essential to understand that mobility has an impact on the three components of CSR. For this to happen, travel managers need to empower employees and help them become aware of the impact of their travel. The aim is to encourage the adoption of the travel policy and to initiate good practices, on the one hand, and to encourage proactive behavior on the part of employees, on the other. In order for them to become responsible travelers, they must have the information and ask themselves the right questions in order to make the right decisions. To do this, the travel manager's role will be to guide and support them in their choices.
In addition to the development of online reservation platforms and mobile applications allowing the implementation of functionalities that are available at any time, FCM proposes new offers that make it possible to measure the ecological impact of travel and to help employees make better decisions. The provision of CO2 reporting, the establishment of a precise carbon footprint or the comparison of different modes of transport for the same journey are all tools that now support employees in their sustainable transition. The aim is to guide employees towards a complete and sustainable CSR approach.
Leveraging digitalization to improve the traveler experience
There was a time when the business travel process was purely functional, a necessary part of an organization's day-to-day operation. The goal of reducing travel expenses went hand in hand with this practical approach to business travel, but in recent years, most companies are looking more into improving the traveler experience. Today, employees have more say than ever in how they travel. Increasing the comfort, convenience and simplicity of business travel is becoming increasingly important. We are facing a new mindset of the business traveler. However, implementing these changes is not an easy task. It requires the implementation of tools to evaluate employee satisfaction.
FCM measures the traveler's experience through satisfaction surveys based on several criteria such as the comfort of the accommodation, the choice of supplier or the level of well-being of the traveler. This allows the company to know if the employee is stressed during his trip, but above all, it allows for continuous improvement of the travel policy, thanks in particular to the data that accompanies the traveler and helps him become aware of his carbon footprint, for example, thanks to quantified data. Phonemay Sackda reports:
Data is key for companies to achieve their environmental ambitions. Data is going to be at the heart of climate issues in the coming years...
Following this data collection, FCM will propose solutions to help employees make better decisions in a more sustainable approach, but also to help the account manager to take more into account the comfort of the traveler by proposing bleisure options for example. According to Phonemany, "there is a real relationship with the customer. We can even talk about a partnership between the TMC and the company. The objective is to continuously pilot, personalize and complete the travel policy".