By Will Tate, Partner
Is business travel a good or bad thing? We consistently hear travel studies showing the stress of business travel causes lower employee morale, personal frustration, and general unpleasantness. But, could there be a lighter side? This month’s GoldSpring survey asked just that – with some surprising results.
We first asked, “When you travel for business, is it a net plus (life is better because you traveled), or a net minus (life is worse because you traveled) for you?” 65% of respondents cited net plus, most often noting the improved ability for engagement: staying informed, making connections, creating opportunities for success.
Interestingly, the frequency of travel was another great indicator. “Net plus” responses (73%) were significantly ahead of “net minus” responses – up to the 10 or fewer trips frequency. After that, “net minus” responses (62%) were more prevalent.
As expected, commentary around “net minus” responses were led by stress as well as time away from family.
As travel professionals continue to build more traveler centric programs, managers must work to ensure travel is as hassle-free as can be possible. Consider these 3 key lessons from our client’s survey processes:
Seek to understand – Your travelers are working hard on their missions – which is not the getting to and from their homes and office. Via a formal survey approach, ask them what is working and what should be improved. Guide your questioning by choosing areas which you can control (preferred suppliers, company policies, etc.) as well as stretch initiatives (technology enhancements, non-traditional travel support, etc.)
Shape the conversation – With traveler and arranger results in hand, ensure the feedback loop is actionable, timely with measurable results. Travelers want to be heard and valued, thereby “pulling” information with their thoughts combined with your plan – a well-documented and advanced management strategy to create greater engagement.
Seal the process – Reporting the results, along with your intent to continue the circle of listening, acting, reporting back to listening, only solidifies your connection to the travelers and arrangers – proving the value of their insights and assuring them of their importance to the travel team and the larger organization.
“In times of stress, the best thing we can do for each other is to listen with our ears and our hearts and to be assured that our questions are just as important as our answers.” Fred Rogers