Engagement, making change happen

In one of our last article, we challenged the travel manager to “think like a traveller.” To look at implementing changes to the company travel policy to appeal to the next generation of tech savvy, multi taskers with a passion for travel and a mobile accessible 24/7.

This article explores the importance of engagement to help identify, plan and implement these changes. Introducing any change and ensuring a smooth transition whether this be a technical or travel policy change, or both, needs careful collaboration, thoughtful planning and inclusion across the organisation.

It is well known that people support what they help create. In the business environment this is also true and can be used to work in the organisations favour. As a business traveller, I am more likely to view any travel policy change as an improvement, if I have been involved in the change process, this is human nature. Excluding vital stakeholders can result in reluctance to change, a “compliance-led approach” rarely works, impacting on the ROI of the project.

The first step is to therefore engage your stakeholders from the beginning, to form a working group. This means identifying all areas of the organisation where your proposed changes may have an impact and gain commitment through involvement in the process. Engaged employees are more likely to drive better outcomes in terms of adoption, employee satisfaction and compliance.

Over recent years we have seen a shift in the traditional leadership roles operating in silos and a move towards more collaboration as the scope of many roles widen. How we work is also changing, and technological innovation now means large parts of your organisation may be flexi-workers, home workers or even contractors, each playing an important role.  These roles are vital and should not be overlooked in this process. Ensuring a good cross-section of stakeholders in your working group will be key.

Driving any organisational change requires careful planning with effective targeted communications throughout. When implementing a change which is “new,” for example the implementation of a disruptor to your travel programme, particular attention needs to be given to explaining “why” the company has chosen this route. This is when analytical data from benchmarking or focus groups can be invaluable, as well as the input from your working group, a valuable resource for identifying any concerns from the outset.

Change is not easy and as consumers we recognise the importance of the user experience, this level of expectation is no different in the business world. Any business change therefore needs to be seamless, effortless (where possible) and efficient with a positive user experience throughout. Engaging your stakeholders from the outset will help manage any change to ensure you get the results you are looking for.

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