Whether it’s technology, the economy or people, if 2020 has shown anything it’s that the world is constantly changing. To survive and thrive, companies of all shapes and sizes need to move with the times or risk being left behind. But however necessary or beneficial changes may be for both employees and customers, getting your colleagues to embrace these changes can be easier said than done. In fact, the technical challenges of change often pale in comparison to the most significant obstacle of all — internal resistance.
So, whether you’re setting up new tech platforms, updating your payment processes, implementing travel policy changes or transitioning to a new travel management company (TMC), how can you remove the fear of change and get staff to actively embrace the new norms?
If it ain't broke... make it better
First things first: why should you make changes to your travel program if it’s working just fine - and especially if it isn’t? The travel landscape is constantly evolving, and the pace has only increased during the Covid-19 pandemic. To ensure your travelers’ safety, meet your business’ duty of care obligations and make your budget work harder, you need to make sure your travel program keeps up. This could mean creating a temporary travel policy, updating your supplier agreements or implementing a travel risk management tool.
But change isn’t just about ensuring you don’t get left behind – it’s about enhancing your travel program and making it the best it can be, so that you can reap the rewards in the long run. From getting greater transparency on costs and reporting to deliver cost savings, to providing a better traveler experience on-the-go by implementing mobile travel tech, there countless opportunities for savvy travel managers to develop and improve their travel program.
Turning 'But…' into 'Yes!'
Change is essential to improve your program, however it’s a universal truth that while people often say they like change, many of us naturally resist it. It feels risky. It threatens our routines and undermines our feelings of security. In fact, there are a whole host of reasons why we resist change; according to the Harvard Business Review these include loss of control, uncertainty, concerns around competence and extra work. Thankfully, there are several tried and tested best practices to follow to help get your colleagues on board.
Before starting, it’s essential to understand the lay of the land. What does your current system, process or policy look like? Do your colleagues follow them? And if not – why not? Get input and feedback from stakeholders across your business to help understand behaviours, drivers and pain points. You can then develop solutions that are easier, simpler and better for them – giving you the best chance of adoption.
A common cause of traveler friction is simply not being told the reasoning behind policy changes. Good communication is the cornerstone of any successful change management, so work with your travel team to identify the best ways to let people know what’s happening and why – and what this means for them.
One of the easiest ways to encourage your colleagues is to highlight the positive aspects of the change and make them active participants. Put simply, say what’s in it for them. From time savings to increased safety, by highlighting the benefits your colleagues will adapt because they want to, not because they’re being asked to.
4. Check in
Your implementation won’t happen overnight; even the smallest changes take time to become ingrained. Take regular temperature checks, ask for feedback to identify any issues and talk to your Travel Manager as the changes are being rolled out to gauge how you’re tracking against your objectives. They can analyze any policy leaks using reporting and metrics and create new tactics to combat non-compliance.
While resistance to change is natural, for a successful organization transformation it’s essential to get your people onboard. After all, companies can’t change if their people don’t. At Corporate Traveler we’ve helped thousands of businesses implement changes in their travel program quickly, easily and successfully. Our change management support takes the work off your hands, and is designed to save you time faster, save you money faster and deliver a better travel experience for your workforce faster.
Updating your travel policy?
New business travel policies are particularly vulnerable to internal resistance, as they directly impact employees’ individual experiences. While the rationale for implementing changes may be entirely sound, it’s often irrelevant to the traveler who has to accept a loss of loyalty status or a reduction in the comfort they regularly enjoy when travelling. Download our three-step plan to help you minimize resistance to your new policy.