By their very nature, most company policies are long, and travel policies are no exception. They aren’t as guilty of this phenomenon as some others, but they are several pages at least. This can create a compliance problem for businesses with frequent travelers. The longer and more complex the policy, the less likely employees are to actually read the document.
Whether they keep putting off imbibing such an overwhelming amount of information until they “have time”, or they actually did read your business travel policy and just can’t recall the important information buried amongst the minutiae, long policies aren’t a practical way to present critical information. Condensing your travel policy onto one succinct page will make your rules and guidelines easier to read and recall later. This is not to say that you should throw your long form travel policy into the trash, but the creation of a TL;DR one-pager will certainly improve compliance.
Identify the Key Policy Areas
To begin creating your one page business travel policy, start with your original policy. What are the most important points in the original that generally apply to all employees? These can be areas of the policy that come up often, or things that affect employees’ most frequent mode of travel or reason for traveling. Some examples of points to include in your one-pager could be:
- Transportation (such as by road or air, in their personal vehicle or company vehicle, etc.)
- Allowed expenses (such as food, lodging and other T&E expenses)
- Your process for submitting expense reports and requesting expense reimbursements (For instance, if you are following an accountable plan, what does this mean for your employees?)
- When prior approval for expenses is required
- Guidelines for employees for tracking their travel and expenses (such as using a log book, using a mileage tracking app and how to save receipts)
Of course, these are just examples. What your business finds integral to their travel policy may not be what another company finds important. Another way you can generate this list of key areas is through crowdsourcing. The employees who travel for work the most will have the most experience with this information and may offer a perspective different than management’s. They can help you edit down your information even more.
Be Concise in Your Delivery
The purpose of a one page travel policy is to give employees the most relevant information in the most practical manner. In the spirit of practicality, avoid extraneous explanation and descriptions on your one-pager. Listing your key points in bullets or lists is a good way to stay as brief as possible. This brief is a place for the what, not the why, of your business travel policy. For those employees that want to seek out an explanation, they will be able to find the details in the long-form policy, but most employees just want to find what they’re looking for as quickly as possible.
Make Supplemental Information Accessible
Every detail can’t fit onto a one page bulleted list, and it’s not supposed to. Some employees will need to do further reading in order to find the answer to their question. In these cases, the supplementary information should be easy to find and access. If employees read the one-pager and don’t find the answer they’re looking for and don’t see a way to continue looking, then they’re likely to simply resign themselves to the possibility of noncompliance.
To help your employees out, provide a way for them to continue looking in the long-form policy within the short-form policy. For instance, you can tell them that a full list of allowed expenses can be found in section 3 of your travel policy. This can be done for full explanations, descriptions, exceptions to rules or complete lists – anything that may not be vital for everyone to have at their fingertips, but for those looking, you can point them in the right direction.
Technology Improves Policy Compliance
The goal in creating a one page business travel policy is to promote compliance and meet the needs of both management and travelers.The easier it is for employees to meet the standards of your workplace, the more likely they are to do so, and technology can be a helpful aid in this pursuit.
A mileage tracking app such as SureMileage by CompanyMileage ensures your policy compliance by automating and simplifying the tasks your mobile employees do everyday. Whether than handling the responsibility of manually tracking mileage, employees document each trip in our system. We use point-to-point calculations whether than GPS tracking so you can be sure employees aren’t claiming personal mileage on their expense reports.
CompanyMileage will also alert you of certain behaviors in the system such as when employees report mileage exceeding travel limits or submit duplicate reimbursement requests. Through close monitoring, SureMileage will increase compliance and reduce instances of expense fraud at your company.
CompanyMileage can be an asset to your business travel policy, both by taking the strain off of employees and giving management peace of mind. Request a demo with us today and learn how our end-to-end solution has saved our clients 20-30% on mileage expenses.