Blog Image // What the Consumerization of Business Travel Means for HR
Oct 18, 2019

What the Consumerization of Business Travel Means for HR

Sarah Ramos

Technology & InnovationReturn to blog

It shouldn’t be more difficult to travel for work than for play — right?

Business, and business travel by extension, is facing a wave of consumerization; everything today is driven by consumer-grade experiences which are shaping employee expectations of every tool, app, and software they use to get their work done. Organizations can no longer settle for the status quo or business tools that are clunky and frustrating to use; they must keep up with their employees’ expectations for ease of use, instant gratification, and convenience in order to attract and retain the best talent.

That’s where HR and People teams come in. Traditionally, when people think about legacy HR systems or business travel tools, “easy to use” doesn’t come to mind as readily as it should, or that we’d want it to. What works for the business doesn’t always work for the end users, but thankfully, tools are getting smarter and more user-friendly, keeping both HR managers and their organization’s employees happy.

To unpack how HR and People teams can leverage digital consumerization to attract and retain talented individuals, Leslie Crowe, Chief People Officer at TripActions, sat down with Lorna Hagen, Chief People Officer at Namely. Here are a few key points they tackled about consumerization and HR teams:

Work-Life Balance

HR professionals talk so much about digital experiences because nowadays, there’s so little disconnect between life and work. In the corporate travel world, we talk about “bleisure” all the time, which is all but the epitome of work and life existing hand-in-hand ostensibly. The question thus becomes, how are we supporting the bridge between work and life?

While a lot of that work-life blending is technology-driven, as decision makers, it’s important we seek out tools and tech that were built with the end-user in mind — tools your employees actually want to use. This requires delivering an experience as good or better than what they would get from an app or platform they would choose as consumers.

Tools that simplify work bridge the narrowing work-life gap and give employees the freedom and flexibility to work in a way that best suits their needs.

Mobile-First Mentality

Today’s workplaces are mobile-first. And that’s no surprise — everyone’s always on their phones. Pick systems and tools that enter that mobile world and go with your employees to help them be productive no matter where they are. From a business travel perspective in particular, mobile experiences are essential for being engaged with your team and company no matter where you find yourself in the world.

“Employees have an immersive mobile, digital experience in their daily lives outside of work,” said Lorna. “They wake up from an alarm on your phone, pre-order coffee ahead in a mobile app, and set thermostat temperature so that when they get home their living space is the exact temperature they want. It’s about ease-of-use, instant gratification, and convenience, and that means you have to pick tools that allow your employees to be on-the-go but still be productive.”

Tools for Simplified Work

Employees are growing accustomed to a seamless, less time-consuming experience in their digital lives, which only highlights how time-consuming things are at work by comparison.

A 2018 Forbes survey found that corporate travel booking remains confusing for millennial travelers. 43 percent of respondents said they misunderstand what can be expensed and ultimately owe their company for personal expenses.

To us, that sounds like a poor user experience.

To keep your employees happy, millennial or otherwise, it’s up to HR and People teams to help eliminate friction created from the disparity between personal digital experiences with corporate digital experiences.

HR needs to become a functional innovator and help deliver experiences that are personalized, flexible, and above all else enjoyable.

What This Means for HR

When thinking about building your people team, hire people who are motivated by creating an amazing employee experience. Individuals with creative ideas on delivering an empowering experience, digital and beyond, will position your organization as an innovator in the HR space, a clear competitive advantage for both recruiting and hiring.

“Hire people who are motivated by employee experience,” said Leslie. “If you hire people with those motivations, they’ll give you the ideas for the experience you envision and help you deliver on that vision.”

Ready to digitally transform your HR organization? Check out our on-demand webinar, How to Build and Scale a Stellar Culture.

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