Enforcing Expense Policies With Repeat Offenders
Not all employees are perfect when it comes to following the company Travel & Expense (T&E) policy. Often times in organizations there is a small percentage of employees who disregard the rules. Considering T&E is the second largest controllable area of business spend outside of payroll, it is important to make sure offenders are dealt with effectively.
Here are six tips for dealing with those who don’t follow the T&E policy:
Identify repeat offenders
The first step in dealing with repeat offenders is finding out who they are. To find repeat offenders, all purchases must be tracked and analyzed. This can be a tedious task to do by hand or online spreadsheet, but luckily there are easier ways. Lola.com identifies your offenders in seconds using our powerful AI and notifies you whenever an employee violates the company policy.
It is important to deal with repeat offenders as soon as you know who they are. This is essential because most of the time employees are not trying to violate T&E policies, but rather they are misinformed.
One example of this can be when employees book via non-preferred vendors. Booking from these vendors may be cheaper than preferred vendors, making the employees think as though they are saving the company money. But what the employees may not know about is the company's corporate business loyalty programs. These programs give companies large savings, but not all employees are aware of these programs. Ultimately the "cheaper" bookings by employees via non-preferred members may end up being more expensive for the company.
It's a good idea to always reach out to employees who are going outside the T&E policy as quick as possible. This allows you to make sure everyone is on the same page and future conflicts can be avoided.
Discover the cause of the problem
Sometimes employees purposely go outside of the T&E policy. When this happens it is important to understand why. Often times it is because they want the company policy to change, usually in a small way.
An example of this is when multiple travelers continue to break the company’s policy by doing things such as not following the “no in-room movie” policy. When something like this continues to happen it is important for the travel manager to look into the expenses. If the travel manager finds that despite the charges, overall spending is within the set budget, it may be time for a change to the policy.
It is always important to consider the full picture and find the underlying motive of the offenders. Often times they just want the T&E policy to be catered a little bit more towards their needs.
Prioritize your company culture
T&E policy offenders can be annoying, but you should never yell at them and jeopardize your company's culture. It is important to be compassionate and calm when dealing with travel offenders.
It is wise to form a set of message templates which can be used to reach out to employees breaking the policy. Templates will save you a lot of time and allow you to be consistent when it comes to reaching out to employees about their actions.
Integrate your travel policy with your corporate travel software
If you use a corporate travel management software which permits you to integrate your travel policy, you should take advantage of this. With Lola.com you can build booking guidelines right into the platform. This allows travel managers and travelers to save countless time by not needing to communicate back and forth to check if certain travel options are within the company's policy.
It is extremely important that travel managers maintain a database of all travel communications and bookings. This database will be essential if policy breakers fail to change their habits. The database can ultimately be used against offenders to prove their wrongdoings.
Over time corporate travel managers will inevitably deal with those employees who violate travel policies. It is important to have a plan in place for dealing with them and knowing what the best practices are.