Travel and Expense’s Key Role in Improving Employee Experience

Christene Oganov |

Here’s a dream world for many of your employees: Travel and expense technology and processes that make their work and lives easier instead of complicated, whether they’re on the road, in the office, or working from home.  

It’s technology that flags them if they’re breaking rules before making a purchase or booking a flight instead of after. It’s seamless, digitalized solutions that deliver up-to-date information to keep them safe or guide them to the right choice, whether it’s about price, compliance, or greener options that fit their and the company’s sustainability goals. 

Often employees’ experience is far from that ideal, as revealed in new research by Oxford Economics done in conjunction with SAP Concur. The survey found that a sizable number of employees – 1 in 3 – who expect a seamless technology experience from their companies just don’t get one.  

 

The stakes of good vs. bad experiences 

You’re a finance leader charged with finding savings, ensuring compliance, and meeting broader company goals, so you may be examining how your system and technology measure up. This is especially true as expense types and policies shift with business and the world. 

Have you considering putting automated solutions and processes in place or have existing ones you could enhance? Does your system work better for the finance team than for travelers and other employees? Do employees avoid using your system, lowering compliance, reducing efficiencies, and making it harder to satisfy your goals?  

If that’s the case, it’s often because your fellow employees have better, value-adding things they and the company want them to be doing. The fact is, if they’re frustrated or not engaged, they may go elsewhere to find more job satisfaction.  

As you debate the effects of technology and processes on users, consider that 60% of workers told Oxford Economics that the past two years made them reevaluate what they value in a workplace. Also consider Gallup’s estimate that replacing an employee can cost up to two times their salary. 

 

Solutions affecting the employee experience 

Add the numbers together and they lead to the conclusion it’s worth scrutinizing travel and expense technology through the lens of the employee experience. 

A new tip sheet, Working Towards Better, looks at the topic and discusses how a range of SAP Concur solutions and extensions can help you. 

Do employees view expense reports as tedious chores? 

Nobody wants to chase receipts, not travelers and certainly not the finance team. Make expense reports painful and confusing and employees avoid or delay, and your team ends up playing cleanup. To alleviate the pain, consider a mobile app that lets employees snap a shot of receipts and send the numbers directly to expense reports. Or capture spending from electronic receipts and corporate cards and stem the flow of paper and mistakes. 

Does the approval process get in the way of efficiency? 

Travel, spending, and policies grew more complex in complicated times. With money tight and safety top of mind, spending approvals got extra scrutiny and extra frustrating. Automation can smooth the process, ensuring all details are in and budget and safety policies met before money is spent. You can initiate travel and expensing with a simple request and later automatically match receipts to requests, streamlining time and frustration out of the system. 

Are your employees confused by ever-changing policies? 

The ground has been shifting under your business for two years now. Policies and processes shifted with it. Keeping up challenged employees, and now they’re relearning processes and technology they haven’t touched in ages. Make following the rules easier with an intuitive user interface that integrates request, expense, and travel solutions. Install in-solution tips and training, and automatically match itineraries and receipts to requests. You’ll raise compliance and lower the temperature. 

Can employees find all their travel information in one place? 

Business travelers want to get moving again, but many are nervous as heck about it. Information helps, so they know what they will confront at destinations and be alerted if conditions change. With apps that mesh with existing travel and expense solutions, you can put all that info in one place: itineraries, schedules, COVID-19 protocols, flight cancellations, gate changes, and plenty more. You can see where travelers are at a given moment, connect them with health care and other resources, and readily bring them home if it comes to that. You achieve duty of care; travelers have peace of mind. 

  • No matter the solution, the most effective changes and improvements require actually knowing what employees really think. By incorporating intuitive feedback tools within SAP Concur solutions, it’s possible to accurately gauge sentiment, respond, and fine-tune. The result is an approach than can improve the employee experience, affect retention, and achieve flexibility and efficiency. 

 

Learn more 

Get your copy of the Working Towards Better tip sheet and learn more about how adding and extending SAP Concur solutions can improve employees’ relationship with technology, processes, and your organization itself.