September 25, 2019

Win the Talent War with Corporate Travel Programs

How a Better Business Travel Experience Can Help You Recruit and Retain Talent

Enterprise executives often overlook corporate travel programs as an employee benefit. For decades, companies have treated corporate travel programs as a savings opportunity, with a focus on rules-centric compliance. This has led to policies that simply do not place employees at the center — where they belong.

There are many transportation challenges that employees face that affect satisfaction with their employer. From delayed flights, long commutes, or a rigid corporate travel program, travel and transportation friction points add up over time and can contribute to to turnover and retention. In fact, 63 percent of frequent business travelers feel that they have to fend for themselves when something goes awry on a work trip. When it comes to overall employees, 24 percent would leave a job for a better commute.

In order to recruit and retain top talent, employers must better understand their evolving workforce’s friction points and shift in expectations for travel benefits.

Understand The Changing Workforce And The Shift In Expectations

By 2020, Millennials will make up the majority of the workforce and Gen Z will dwarf Baby Boomers as boomers retire. These young professionals have a unique perspective when it comes to work and travel and have a different set of priorities when evaluating employers.

Data shows young professionals’ vastly different perspectives shape fresh expectations for business travel. 75 percent of young professionals see business travel as a perk, and 56 percent have been known to actually create reasons to travel for business. Nearly 40 percent of millennials indicate they won’t take a job that doesn’t allow them to travel for business, according to a survey by Hilton Hotels & Resorts.

But young professionals aren’t alone in wanting more from transportation. Employees of all ages increasingly blend leisure with business travel (“bleisure”) — extending work trips for personal reasons. And they want to be able to take advantage of familiar consumer technology, using their own devices and apps, as it makes it easier for them to book their travel. The easier it is to book and manage travel — as well as handle expense reports and other paperwork — the better.

Mutual Benefits For Employers And Employees

A well-designed and frictionless corporate travel program can substantially impact employees’ experience and satisfaction — making a company much more attractive to professionals, who consider business travel a highly desirable perk. Meanwhile, the same program can also deliver significant value to the business.

Your company will see better employee recruitment and retention, a more engaged workforce, and an increase in policy adherence — all of which can contribute to a reduction in costs. Employees will be more satisfied with their travel experience and therefore, less stressed and more productive while on-the-go.

Many organizations are already leading the charge to improve business travel and transportation benefits and seeing results. Savvy industry leaders at companies like Airbnb, Genentech, Salesforce, and Slack treat transportation as one of the most important levers to attract, develop, and retain their best people.

Learn From Legendary Companies That Unify Transportation Use Cases

Forward-looking organizations differentiate themselves with innovative, employee-friendly corporate travel programs that actually make it into the matrix when candidates are considering multiple job offers with similar salaries, benefits, desirable locations, and other offerings. As a result, employers are seeing reduced costs and increased employee engagement and retention. For example:

  • Business travel — One business consulting firm calculated a cost of $26 each time its 20,000+ business travelers had to create an expense report. After redesigning its corporate travel program to include integrated ridesharing, it now only has to intervene in 3 percent of expenses, and has slashed the $26 per employee cost to $8 per head. Employees benefited as well — the program earned traveler rating of 4.8 points out of 5.
  • Commuting — When industry leader, Slack, was frustrated with costly taxis, inflexible shuttle service, and inconvenient public transportation options. By offering employees monthly credit for rideshares instead, they provided thousands of safe and convenient rides home after work and events. The program provided visibility into ride habits and organization spend — allowing Slack to make strategic decisions into budget, usage, and employee satisfaction — all while eliminating commute stress for their employees.
  • Recruiting — World-class recruiting programs provide ride credits to prospective employees to make the end-to-end interview experience and first impression of the company as positive and stress-free as possible.
Assess Opportunities And The Potential For Impact

As you think about evolving your company’s travel program to be more employee-first, there are three key areas to consider: recruiting challenges, employee experience, and key differentiators.

These consideration areas and below analysis questions may help you assess the opportunities and the potential impact of a fully integrated, unified travel program in your organization.

Recruiting Challenges

  • What levels of talent are difficult to attract?
  • What is your current attrition rate? How does that correlate with employee travel and commute satisfaction?

Employee Experience

  • Does your current benefits program include commuter benefits?
  • Does your current travel program include rideshare?
  • Do you reward employees for staying in policy?
  • How are you currently capturing feedback on your company’s travel program? Do you have a continuous feedback loop?

Key Differentiators

  • How can you differentiate your benefits programs to compete for the best candidates?
  • How can you reframe the conversation and align travel with bigger-picture goals—from customer care and corporate social responsibility objectives, to prioritize program value over cost-savings?

For tech companies like Salesforce and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Lyft Business Profile rides are a way to give back to the community. One percent of every Salesforce ride goes to Cool Effect, an organization that reduces carbon emissions, and HPE donates a percentage of every business ride to an internal corporate social responsibility program. Corporate social responsibility can be an effective component when it comes to attracting prospective talent.

Design a Transportation Program That Sets You Apart

When you consider people have more options than ever to get from Point A to Point B, the real opportunity lies in unifying transportation into one holistic program across every use case.

Ground travel is the linchpin that ties all business travel together. Employees need a ride to and from every destination: airport, hotel, meetings, and meals. Get it right, and your people can deal effectively with the task at hand. Get it wrong, and the whole process breaks down.

When designing your transportation experiences and programs, keep in mind these points:

  • Make the business traveler your central focus. Design innovative travel policies including ground transportation that help your business travelers get seamlessly from Point A to Point B — with a minimum of hassles and maximum efficiency.
  • Take the friction out of reimbursement and reporting. Look for options that integrate with reimbursement platforms or allow employees to automatically charge business travel to a business credit card or account.
  • Surprise participants with perks and rewards — many frequent business travelers are looking to maximize their points with frequent flyer and hotel programs. Allowing them to earn points for their personal accounts makes business travel that much more appealing.
  • Enhance satisfaction through individualized offers and experiences that mean everything to your hardest-working, experience-driven young professionals — to attract and retain the top talent you need to succeed.

When companies put employees at the center of corporate travel, they attract and empower top talent. And this will only continue to matter more as the need for business travel — and the competition for top talent — increases.

Guest blog by Caitlin Gomez, Head of Corporate Travel Partnerships at Lyft. Caitlin Gomez offers the travel industry over 20 years of sales and relationship management experience. To learn more about designing a transportation programs and experiences that drive your business forward and reward your employees, visit lyftbusiness.com. Lyft for Business a Business Class sponsor you can meet at TRAVERSE 19 on October 2-3, 2019 in San Francisco.