1. Corporate Travel: It Isn’t a Policy, It’s a Talent Management Strategy

    Written by: Rana Hobbs, Senior Director of Workforce Planning, Aasonn

    I was recently asked about how Human Capital Management (HCM) fits in with travel or as I chose to explore it, into distributed and matrixed global teams. If we think about the challenges organizations face regarding employee travel, it very quickly turns from a matter of corporate travel policy to corporate travel strategy. What was a simple question about technology actually started a much larger discussion on corporate culture, quality of hire and onboarding, and other larger areas within HR and Talent Management.

    Moving from a travel policy to a travel management strategy

      Travel is typically prioritized to support the sales force/revenue generating work with non-revenue producing employees having a more restrictive approval process. Think in terms of adapting corporate culture to promote video web conferences to connect teams so that travel restrictions don’t create a culture of lone wolf’s or isolation. Or worse yet have diminished work quality due to lack of collaboration and communication.

    Social technology as a cultural and productivity advocate

      With decentralized global organizations becoming more of the norm, there is a need to communicate and interact and personalize the work experience daily outside of just defined travel/onsite meetings. There is a democratization of the workplace by how employees exist as individuals and interact with each other and the work they do. Technology and culture can support that without a dependency on travel budget/supportive policies.

    Out-tasked doesn’t mean separate

      Recognize there is a continuing trend to out-task work within organizations to contractors that are not considered full-time employees. Though their travel is typically managed separate and under a time and materials contract, they are in many cases doing critical path work for key strategic business activities and working closely with full-time employees. It is important to think more holistically about the expanding team dynamic and travel budgets.

    Quality of hire and onboarding

      Think in terms of investing in travel for new employees to embed with team/corporate mission. This puts greater pressure on recruiting to ensure the right hires are being made so as to not increase new hire turnover cost increase by investing in travel for them upfront. Use early travel to HQ/team as a chance to fully indoctrinate new hires into organization and team.

    There are several ways how software [HCM specifically] can assist and address these challenges.

    Technology Recommendations

    Link spending and talent information to ensure you are targeting the right mix of permission and restriction in travel.

    • What are the pattern of spend across groups?
    • Across roles?
    • What correlations are there between spending patterns and the success of different groups/roles to achieve their goals?
    • What does that tell us about what to restrict and what to allow?

    Software should support showing matrixed organizational structures to see where work is being done among matrixes teams [including contractors]. Use that as a decision toward travel outside of reporting relationship. Segment business priorities being executing on by which teams/critical path activities and prioritize travel to support those activities with the same support provided to sales/other revenue generating teams. Web conferencing and regular team check ins for matrixed/remote teams need to be established as a corporate cultural standard [more than a mandate] to counter balance remote teams composed of diverse group of employees


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