Business travel is tough, both for travelers and for their employers. Travelers have to uproot, deal with the logistics of booking and being on the road, and wrestle with expense reporting. For employers, not only is travel expensive but it can sow disengagement among employees because of their aforementioned difficulties. Add restrictive, difficult to navigate company policies into the mix, and you’ve got a perfect storm of engagement troubles.
To combat disengagement, some companies keep loose travel policies. It’s a commendable strategy — refusing to enact strict control over employees — and it does often help engagement. Unfortunately, every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
Employees who are allowed more freedom in their booking but don’t feel the need to be conscientious when spending company money almost always choose comfort over savings. After all, why wouldn’t they? The result is that employee engagement may rise, but the bottom line suffers.
So how can thoughtful businesses prioritize employee engagement without leaving finances to take a hit?
Solving the puzzle
In a previous blog post, we explored the psychology behind motivating meaningful behavioral change. It explains that sufficient tangible rewards, also known as extrinsic motivation, are instrumental in driving behavioral change. Extrinsic motivation is much stronger than any employee’s inner drive to do what’s right or responsible.
Therein lies the answer of how to keep employee engagement intact without spending running amok. Companies must offer sufficient tangible rewards.
Travelers with proper motivation will not only follow their company policies but go above and beyond what’s expected of them. They will not spend at the upper limits of what’s allowed but will make cost-conscious decisions. Companies that harness extrinsic motivation are able to escape the catch 22 of deciding between disengagement and high travel costs.
A real life example
When Quantcast started working with Rocketrip, they were looking for a way to encourage employees to make cost-conscious booking decisions. They hoped to accomplish this without compromising the generous travel policy that they proudly offered.
Quantcast knows that spending time away from friends and family can be tough, and they want their employees to be comfortable when they travel for business. At the same time, they want every traveler to “act like an owner.” This means traveling — and spending — responsibly.
Before even speaking with Rocketrip, they knew they wanted a way to recognize and reward employees for making responsible decisions.
An additional challenge
Quantcast had another challenge they also hoped to address with Rocketrip, beyond driving extraordinary behavior among workers. They needed to address volatility in hotel prices. Because of the inherent seasonality of that market, especially in San Francisco, where they are headquartered, Quantcast was unsure of how to set a policy around hotel spend.
They hoped that in encouraging responsible spending among employees, they would address this challenge as well. If employees are cost-conscious instead of spending at the upper limits of what their policy allows, that should smooth some of the spikes in seasonal hotel prices. So went Quantcast’s thinking.
To date, Quantcast has saved 26% on travel costs, and employees have saved money on nearly 3,000 trips. A total of 2,815,818 Rocketrip Points have been awarded to travelers, which can be redeemed for cash cards or gift cards from many major brands.
They were successfully able to motivate their employees to treat company money as responsibly as they would treat their own when it comes to business travel. Internally, they say that employees have started to “act like owners.”
The bet Quantcast placed on this strategy to address hotel price volatility has also paid off. All in all, Quantcast’s mission to reward employees for extraordinary travel behavior has been a rousing success. Throughout their efforts, one tool has been indispensable: Rocketrip.
To read the full story of how Quantcast used Rocketrip to reward employees and drive behavioral change, check out the case study.