11 June 2018 - Once considered the hallmark of jet-setting executives, work travel is becoming the norm, with nearly
9.2 million British workers taking
business trips in 2017, according to the annual ONS Travel Trends release. Workers travelling cross-country and internationally poses a specific challenge to HR when it comes
to ensuring compliance is upheld and standards are followed. As jurisdictions and working patterns become blurred, so do the rules.
Work travel is generally well received as an opportunity to do something different, and with
employee wellbeing high on the agenda, it's worthwhile opening up
opportunities. For new and experienced staff, there are patterns and rules to follow. As an HR professional, there are a few key ways to ensure your employees are aware.
Using costs correctly
Consider the nature of the travel and the policies you have in place for employees to follow. For public-facing organisations with a good reputation, ensure that
you don't overspend on public travel as there is a
risk of reputational damage. Ensure policies are in place for your employees to follow that entail reasonable travel costs.
This can be helped along by making the use of affiliate and promotional deals to
negotiate the costs of travel; if your sales department is able to bring in a certain level of
business, many retailers will be willing to negotiate bespoke deals for your employees.
Encourage cultural learning
Heading abroad for business is wrought with cultural difficulty as language barriers and cultural norms are thrown up in front of business people. Even figures as
high profile as France's President Macron have slipped on their words, demonstrating the need for clear and effective communication. Consider creating a knowledge base in your
company, and have a clear policy about behaviour whilst on business trips that is enforced rigorously to prevent cultural faux pas.
Remote compliance measures
When workers are away from the office and working away, normal compliance measures can become inefficient. This can be mitigated through utilising modern
technology to implement digital HR management systems. The
proliferation of high end smart phones, both in terms of personal devices and work mobile, makes this a reality rather
than an exception. This way you will be able to keep tabs on employees and retain collection of important MI and HR data, like expenses claims, productivity and hours worked.
Managing workers remotely as they head about for business trips is a tough task that requires vigilance and careful management of expenses and behaviour. Being able
to network internationally is, however, a boon for many businesses and an opportunity to develop and enhance employee experience. As an HR professional, deploy employees carefully
and with rigorous controls.