Drafting a travel and expense policy that is technically correct may seem straightforward. However, writing a policy that employees understand and adhere to is tricky. Here are 9 best practices you must consider while writing a comprehensive T&E policy and ensuring that it is effective.
Before writing a travel and expense policy, you must establish what the policy will help you achieve. By defining objectives, you can align the policy with your company’s goals and values.
A well-defined policy acts as a roadmap for supporting specific business objectives. For example, if cost reduction is a primary goal, the policy can include guidelines to control expenses and promote cost-conscious practices. Plus, these objectives serve as a basis for evaluation when it comes to measuring the effectiveness of the policy.
While writing the policy, you must use simple language that all employees can understand. If you are writing any technical terms, then include a definition for the same. You must also avoid acronyms that people might be unfamiliar with.
If you are including any complex processes, break them down into step-by-step instructions. This will help employees follow them better. After you have written the policy, you can conduct a readability test to assess the ease of comprehension.
In addition, you can gather a focus group to seek input and identify any section that may need further simplification.
A comprehensive policy ensures that employees do not face any confusion when it comes to decision making. For this, you must provide detailed guidelines on all aspects of T&E, such as:
Reading a lengthy policy can be cumbersome. This means that most employees might skim through it and avoid reading important sections. To increase the likelihood that employees will read and follow it, you need to make it more engaging visually. Some suggestions to increase visual clarity include:
Logical Organization: Arrange the sections in a logical order that follows a coherent flow. Start with the overview and objectives, followed by specific topics.
Bullet Points: Use bullet points to break down complex information into easily digestible points.
Bold Headings: Bold headings help employees navigate through the document and locate specific topics easily.
Tables and Charts: These visual aids provide a clear overview and make it easier for employees to understand the information at a glance.
Consistent Format: Use the same font, font size, and spacing to ensure a cohesive appearance.
White Space: White space helps prevent information overload and allows the reader’s eyes to rest.
While writing your travel and expense policy, consider the needs and preferences of your employees. This will increase the ease of adoption and the likelihood of them complying with the policy.
Additionally, when a travel policy considers the needs of employees, it can positively impact their productivity. This is because it allows them to travel in a way that aligns with their comfort. As a result, they can better focus on their work during their business trip.
Further, taking the needs of employees into account makes them feel valued and increases satisfaction rate.
While explaining certain situations and processes, you can include realistic examples as well. Sometimes policies can be hard to understand, but when there are examples, it becomes easier to grasp the meaning.
Moreover, employees can refer to the examples as guides for their own actions. Providing examples also ensures that everyone understands the policy in the same way.
A travel and expense policy provides guidelines on major T&E processes. However, you shouldn’t overlook the importance of including the following sections in your policy.
Bleisure Travel: Emphasize that the primary purpose of the trip should be business-related. Clarify that personal activities should not compromise the company’s interests.
Expense Disputes: Outline the steps to be followed for filing an appeal and the authority responsible for conducting the appeal review. Provide guidelines on the documents that employees must provide when disputing an expense. This may include receipts or invoices that substantiate their claim.
T&E Fraud Prevention: Clearly state that any form of fraudulent activity, including but not limited to false claims or altering receipts, is prohibited. You must also communicate the result of engaging in fraudulent behavior, such as legal consequences or termination of employment.
Sustainable Travel: Encourage employees to choose the most sustainable mode of transportation for their business trips whenever possible. Additionally, provide information on carbon offsetting programs.
FAQs: The FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) section must clarify common doubts of employees. Some of these questions are:
Occasionally, employees may come across unfamiliar situations during their business travel. It is important for your travel and expense policy to provide guidance in these unique cases so that employees know how to respond to them. Here are some instances where guidelines can be included:
You must update the travel and expense policy regularly so that it stays relevant and up-to-date with industry standards. To revise your policy, you can analyze past issues, such as budget overruns. In such cases, you can modify the policy to change spending limits or make the approval process more stringent.
Further, you can also consider employee feedback in revising your policy. Employee feedback helps identify specific issues or pain points related to the current policy. For example, employees may let you know about difficulties in submitting expense reports. You can use this information to update the policy to improve your business travel management processes.
After you have written a comprehensive travel and expense policy, you would expect employees to follow it. To make compliance simpler for them, you can consider using travel and expense software. A T&E software solution allows employees to view the policy in real time, eliminating the need to refer to documents.
ITILITE is an advanced T&E solution that can help you automate expense checks and whether they comply with your policy. The software flags any expense that does not adhere to the policy guidelines. This ensures that employees do not submit false or non-compliant expenses. Further, you can configure your policy at any time, and the changes are immediately reflected in the system.
To know more about how ITILITE can help you simplify policy enforcement, book a demo now.
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