Human Resources: how can you ensure road warriors stay motivated and how can you boost their motivation?

Human resources tips on how you can cultivate a spirit of rivalry and increase the added value for the company

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Synonymous with victory, expanding horizons and career success, business trips can also be a source of fatigue, exhaustion and stress, hindering what the business traveller came to achieve in the first place. How can you avoid this disengagement and give your teams a boost? 

The world of work has experienced an upheaval with the arrival of generation Y (those born between 1980 and 1995), which has shifted where priorities lie. What matters most now to company employees is not so much what they earn, (9%) but rather how stimulating a position is (46%), work-life balance (20%) and job security (14%). Business travellers also see the company's travel policy as a measure of motivation. According to the report 'US Business Traveler & Travel Policy 2018' (Travelport), 83% of those surveyed said they enjoyed travelling on business and saw these trips as a perk, yet business trips can also cause fatigue, which can put a dent in travellers' competitive spirit. 

No ordinary employee

According to a report published by International SOS, a health, safety and security foundation, more than a third of business travellers describe themselves as being burned out. When travelling, business travellers tend to work overtime, do less physical activity, eat a less balanced diet and have poor quality sleep. Stress levels increase for 45% of travellers and 46% of those surveyed admitted to consuming more alcohol. To prevent the risk of burnout or mental health problems (27% of those surveyed suffer from depression, anxiety and stress), it is fundamental for companies to have support and prevention mechanisms in place. Markus Keller, international sales manager for Accor, is one of these road warriors himself and is also an advocate of maintaining a balanced, healthy lifestyle to avoid suffering the consequences of travelling too frequently on business.

A travel policy that places the traveller first

According to Scott Gillespie, CEO of tClara LLC, a survey firm for the business travel industry, companies have a vested interest in implementing a travel policy that focuses on the traveller rather than on cutting costs. Whilst forcing them to travel economy instead of business class or to stay in a less luxurious hotel may lower the cost of the trip, it will increase the likelihood that the employee will leave the company for an employer offering a better travel policy. Indeed, 84% of "road warriors" said that they would be very attracted by a job offer from another company if their travel policy was better.

In response to this, tClara LLC has implemented a methodology it calls Trip Friction (R) to measure traveller friction. As it accumulates over time, this friction causes wear and tear. Trip Friction ® also comes with recommendations, including: - avoid very early morning flights or flights late at night - plan journeys that don't eat into weekends or quality time with family - establish a working-from-home policy or weeks with no travel, etc.

Customising the trip can also be a way to boost travellers' motivation and keep them happy. 

Trips that make sense
Expanding your professional horizons, meeting clients and acquiring new skills: these are just a few good reasons to go on a business trip. Reminding business travellers of these reasons can help boost their competitive spirit and refresh their sense of the main objective: to boost business and profits for the company. 

Technology for smooth travel 
From itinerary applications to online bookings to notifications of flight delays or cancellations, providing employees with all the modern-day tools will not only make their life easier, but will also make their business trip more enjoyable and stimulating.     

Communication for better engagement

The best way for a company to identify sources of demotivation for business travellers is to encourage dialogue with them. This dialogue should take place ahead of the trip, when the business traveller is assimilating the travel policy, as any lack of clarity at this point can discourage employees. According to the Traveler 360° survey conducted by American Express GBT, French business travellers are the most numerous (59%) when it comes to deploring this lack of clarity, compared with British, German, Australian, Indian, Singaporean or American travellers.

There should also be some form of dialogue after the trip for travellers to share their feedback. According to the 2018 EVP European barometer, only 33% of companies change their travel policy in response to travellers' degrees of satisfaction. More often than not, travellers are not consulted (43%) nor does their feedback have any impact (24%) on the company's travel planning. Companies will have a hard time getting business travellers to commit to their policy if it has been laid down without any regard for their points of view.

Being receptive to employees' points of view and the market would appear to be the key to success. The AFTM (the French Travel Management Association) at French and European level or ACTE on a global scale regularly organise events and meet-ups. These events are opportunities for travel industry professionals to exchange and share best practices with one another. 

Published by Thi bao on 09/05/2019 Photo credit: © Svetikd

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