Four ways to navigate the human element of change management in your business travel program

Time for change

Whether you’re implementing a travel management program for the first time, or overhauling your current one, change is hard. Bringing change to your organization can feel like a balancing act, especially if you are looking for a change that not only sticks, but meets your company’s goals and makes everyone happy.

On one end, you aim to find a program that streamlines the business travel experience (costs, data, policy, safety), and on the other, you want to ensure that employees are satisfied and empowered by the business travel solutions available.

How do you juggle both aspects to ensure success? It may seem easy to rationally explain how the program benefits the company, but understanding how you can influence people’s behaviors and appeal to their emotions is the true key to change management.

Once people believe in the benefits and change occurs at the individual level, you and your organization can reap the rewards of a highly effective, streamlined company-wide travel program.

How can you influence people’s behaviors and make them excited about change? Communication is paramount. Here are a few tips to help you through the journey:

Develop Two-Way Communication 

OK, you’ve taken the leap and it’s time to be the champion of change! First, make sure you really understand where people are satisfied and where they are frustrated with the current system. This will help you determine how to tailor your reasoning, and the benefits, behind the change. The priorities of the CFO and CEO will be different than those of your road warriors, or even infrequent travelers. Open lines of communication will give you a good sense of what different teams are feeling on a day-to-day basis to properly address concerns, and ensure everyone feels listened to.

Leverage Early Adopters and Evangelists

Find your promoters! Who is an early adopter? Who would talk positively about your change to anyone? These people are gold dust. Find them, and then hang on to them. They will help you spread the word and lead initiatives within their peers. Egencia clients often start with identifying an executive sponsor, their frequent travelers, administrative assistants and technology teams. By connecting with these people, you have a ready-made group of effective ambassadors at your fingertips who can talk, very openly and very honestly, to the rest of your organization and help you promote the benefits of your new program.

Be Prepared to Address Change Resistors

There will be change resistors who are dissatisfied with the new program, it’s human nature. Most likely you will not win them over the first time you approach them, but reaching them through a diverse range of touch points, including your evangelists, will at least make sure they have all the information they need. Don’t give up on this group – persistence will pay off in the end.

Don’t Take Everything On By Yourself

Travel change management is a multi-layered process that takes time and effort. You can only do so much on your own. Make sure you utilize the talent around you, including your new Travel Management Company (TMC), to effectively roll out the program. Your TMC is your greatest ally and is equipped with the expertise to recommend best practices and provide continuous support.

While sometimes difficult, change in your travel program can streamline workloads, ensure greater compliance, bring cost savings, and increase satisfaction through improved experiences for your business travelers. The change is well worth the investment for the right solution.

Are you ready to make the change? Check out the tips below from Egencia customers on best practices in change management.