Paul McCorkell's blog: Putting mobility on every leader's agenda brings business-wide benefits
13 November 2023
In my experience, organisations that involve people from across the business in the creation and implementation of their travel policy experience a host of benefits.
While still primarily the domain of procurement, travel and fleet managers in terms of the nitty-gritty of sourcing suppliers, evaluating emerging options and getting the best deal, mobility is now recognised as an important part of how employees experience working life.
It enables them to be more productive at work, to balance their commitments beyond the office, and to help organisations drive greater efficiencies.
Employee mobility should therefore be everyone's business. Across the C-suite, from HR to finance to operations, employee mobility needs to be on everyone's agenda to create an informed, flexible travel policy with transport options that meet a diverse and constantly shifting range of needs.
Organisations can then be sure that they are implementing a travel policy that has a positive impact on job satisfaction and talent retention, helping to achieve employee and business goals.
Employee expectations around business travel can have a significant impact on job satisfaction and is intrinsically linked to their overall engagement with the business.
The reasons for this are varied, but perhaps the most important is travel's impact on job satisfaction and quality of life. Placing the traveller at the heart of the ground transportation policy will help ensure employees feel valued and able to balance the competing demands of work and personal life.
For example, sometimes taking a car is the most relaxed and convenient solution. Or if you're arriving somewhere unfamiliar late, it may help you feel safer.
When workloads are intense, taking the train can help employees keep on top of relentless emails and calls which means they don't have to work late to play catch up. Picking up a rental or car club vehicle at the train station for their onward journey helps make best use of their time, particularly when visiting multiple sites.
Being able to make that choice is empowering, makes the employee feel valued and enables them to perform at their best.
Being able to shape a journey can help keep life manageable for those juggling work with caring responsibilities. In this scenario, the car may be the right option to enable a multi-point, time-sensitive journey, or to combine several trips into one so they're not having to make several journeys over several days.
For younger employees, access to multiple modes of transport is appealing because it provides the opportunity to try something new. They also value lower-emission travel options, in part due to pressure from friends, family and colleagues to travel more sustainably.
Back at the office, providing facilities like bike storage and showers enables people to incorporate active travel, such as cycling, running, walking and scooting, into their journey, improving wellbeing while reducing vehicle mileage and emissions.
Employee travel requirements are more nuanced and complex than ever before and especially because of hybrid working. Putting choice in their hands is perhaps the only way to ensure the delivery of a comprehensive, flexible travel policy that works for everyone.
Travel policy can also be a valuable tool in encouraging employees to change their travel behaviour to support organisation-wide goals around sustainability and decarbonisation. Leaders and managers can help facilitate a modal shift towards shared and public transport choices through education, promotion and collaborating with travel and mobility specialists.
Creating an effective travel policy requires an in-depth understanding of both employee requirements and expectations. Companies need a detailed understanding of where, when and why employees are travelling, which in turn requires input from a breadth of stakeholders from throughout the organisation.
Paul McCorkell is director of business rental UK and Ireland at Enterprise