As the world tries to move towards establishing a new normal, many organisations are finding that the tools that worked as part of a successful corporate travel strategy before the outbreak of Covid-19 no longer fit in quite the same way and so now is the perfect time to step back, review and reassess.
The challenges presented by the pandemic have meant that the role of travel approval systems have changed overnight, with focus shifting from cost to now also prioritising the safety and security of employees as they adapt to a new way of travelling.
There’s no denying that cost reduction will remain important as corporates begin to navigate a dramatically different business landscape, particularly for organisations in sectors heavily impacted by an unstable economy. Travel approval remains an effective way of curtailing spend, as it allows stakeholders to prevent trips that break budget or indulge in unnecessary first class travel. However, the right travel approval workflow is now a powerful tool in the effort to reinforce your organisation’s duty of care programme.
Although a thorough approvals process might once have been a source of frustration to travellers, it now provides reassurance to many employees who might feel nervous at the thought of making their first corporate trip. Knowing that multiple stakeholders, who have access to detailed information regarding risk assessment and travel guidelines, have approved a trip can help travellers to feel more confident and as though your organisation is putting their wellbeing first.
The outbreak of Covid-19 has changed the criteria as to what constitutes as necessary travel for many organisations and so ascertaining the reason for travel is now more important than ever before. The right travel authorisation workflow will make these reasons more visible, allowing key stakeholders to assess the motivation for each travel request as well as highlighting which roles and departments need to travel the most and where to.
With the role of travel approvals changing, it’s important to feel confident in the systems and processes that you already have in place. Here is a short checklist to help you review your current travel approval workflow and ensure that it is fit for the future:
Can parts of the process be automated? The ability to automate parts of your travel approval process can greatly increase efficiency, both for those booking a trip and those authorising it. For example, if a trip meets your organisation’s proposed budget then a travel request can be automatically approved by finance and sent straight to HR.
- One-click response:
Can stakeholders approve/decline a trip with one click? Quick, mobile-compatible approval workflows are essential if your organisation is to avoid cumbersome admin and a backlog of requests. Prioritise implementing one-click approval or denials in order to lighten the workload of authorisers.
- Travel policy:
Can your travel policy be built into the process? Building a travel approvals system that accurately reflects your travel policy is a powerful way of bringing it to life and ensuring that your policy remains active within the everyday operations of your organisation.
- Multiple approval levels:
Can your process accommodate multiple approval levels? Now that safety when travelling has become more important than ever before, it makes sense to add more than one authoriser into your travel approvals process. For example, a trip might need to be approved by finance and HR, as well as an employee’s line manager.
Does your process work with your existing travel and people management tools? A truly successful travel management programme will collate information from around your organisation and use it to make the process of booking and managing travel more streamlined. An approval workflow that can pull in data from profile and reporting tools will only enhance your programme.
How much capacity for customisation does your approval system offer? Understanding the nuances and unique requirements of your organisation will enable you to adapt your operations to suit a post-Covid world and it’s important to find a travel approval system that can do the same. This includes customisable request forms and reason codes, multi-level approvals and editable reminder emails.