12 December 2022, etc.venues Monument, London
Business Travel Show Europe, presented by The BTN
21 November, London Hilton Metropole
Moving to a new travel management company can be a major shift for your employees in terms of ways of working, new relationships and different systems.
It is highly unlikely that all of your people will be on board with the move from the outset, so before you go live with your new TMC, it’s worth considering the nature of change and how best it can be managed.
So if you are implementing a new travel management strategy or simply bringing about major changes in your organisation, travel management firm Click Travel have listed the key points you should keep in mind:
1. Provide incentives to encourage employees to adapt to change
Often, the first question an employee will consider when dealing with change is simply, ‘What’s in it for me?’ Before you inform staff of the change, make sure you consider all of the benefits to them that will result from taking on a new travel management company. For example, the time travellers spend booking and organising travel will be reduced, or, the new online booking tool will be much easier and simpler to use.
There’s no better way to encourage employees to embrace the new changes than providing them with incentives that will directly appeal to them, in this case less time wasted and a better experience. Another, simpler example of offering incentives to change is pledging 10% of the money initially saved in moving TMC towards to the next work party or event (not always possible, of course!).
2. Form a change A-Team
Choose and invite key employees from all parts of the company to help get the rest on board. Ideally, these individuals should have a good internal reputation, and great relationships with numerous colleagues. Don’t leave out any relevant departments, this can lead to resentment, and make sure that you cover different levels of staff, from managers to juniors.
Involve this team early on, provide them with all of the details about the change up front, be sure they’re happy with the new systems etc., and keep them abreast of any developments as they happen. Involving such a team will make the transition much smoother, as you’ll get early feedback from them, meaning you can address any issues before the bulk of the organisation comes across them. Equally, the rest of the workforce are likely to listen to their views and take on board their (hopefully) positive approach to your new TMC.
3.Measure how effective the implementation is and let everyone know of successes
It’s unwise just to implement change blindly, so it’s crucial to have in place an agreed plan on how to monitor and measure how successful the whole process has been. Setting out measurable objectives, such as, ‘Achieving an online adoption rate of 85% by month 2’, is essential, as it allows you to analyse how your people are finding the new systems and what your new TMC is doing to make the change a success, as well as providing information as to how you could improve similar processes in the future.
When the process has been completed successfully, show your employees how much you appreciate their efforts during the transition. Not only is it great to share success with everyone who’s helped make it happen, it will also help with any further adjustments in the future.
4.Remember communication is king
Communication is key; if you roll out a major change out of the blue, you simply cannot expect your users to react positively. It will be beneficial to involve key stakeholders in the earliest stages of your transition to a new TMC, as people are naturally happier to accept a decision they feel they have played a part in, rather than one that has merely been imposed upon them. Make sure that everybody knows exactly what is being changed, why the change is happening and what benefits the change will bring in advance.
Keeping key stakeholders abreast of any unexpected changes during the transition process is also vital. The best bet is to meet regularly with both your new TMC and your internal A-Team, making sure everybody is happy and singing from the same hymn-sheet.
It’s often impossible to please everybody when change is involved but by following these key points and having an engaged workforce you’re giving yourself the best opportunity of ensuring that all bases are covered and making the transition a major success.
Sergio Cabrera-Howell is Click Travel’s resident market research analyst