Congrats! You’ve done a major systemic overhaul, and you need to make sure all of your offices are on the same page. To help with this large outreach, the company has decided to send a few employees to help communicate and train other offices on these changes. It’s as easy as booking a plane ticket and sending them on their way, right?
Not so fast. There are a whole host of things to be considered before sending employees on business travel, even if it’s for a short stint, whether it be a few days or a few weeks. There are a lot of moving parts (no pun intended) when taking on such an endeavor, ranging from finances, to coordination, to the reception of the idea in general.
Here are some general Considerations to Keep in Mind with Short-Term Business Travel.
Ensure before you send someone out of state or out of country that the company is compliant with finances. You’ll want to guarantee the employee will not be mistakenly taxed more than once, or that you run afoul with filings yourself.
Know the rules and expectations around how long someone can work in another office and the kind of work they can do. If in another country, can they enact contracts on behest of the company?
Understand the whole picture before booking that ticket.
If travelling out of the country, this goes hand in hand with #1, but you want to make sure any visas that need to be secured are done correctly.
I’ve heard horror stories of employees getting packed and ready to leave, only to find out they’ve made a ghastly mistake on their visa, choosing the tourist visa over the business visa.
Make sure you provide guidelines for your employees if they are filling out this information on their own, or you take a look to double check the important pieces before they send it for government approval.
Also, this is not a last minute thing, and can take months to secure, so allot enough time in the plans for processing.
Can this be done online? Even though we’re talking short-term business travel, there is still a lot of cost involved. Ask your stakeholders if this meeting or arrangement can be done just as effectively in a webcam meeting, as it could in person.
It’s understandable that the “white glove” touch goes a long way with customer relations, or even keeping healthy relationships amongst many company offices, but if all of this travel is for four hours of meetings, it may be fine to do online.
Getting into the “people” part of this is important, also.
- Has enough notice been given for the office to properly prepare to have someone coming in for a few days?
- Have you made sure you are not infringing upon previously made plans that would be difficult to shift?
All of these should be thought about before sending an employee who may not know they could be walking into an awkward situation (…been there, done that!).
Take time to properly communicate why the meeting or training needs to take place and do your best to ensure all are on board. Speaking of everyone…
Enthusiasm of Employee(s) You’re Sending.
Make sure you haven’t sprang this on employees you’re sending as a last minute thing, either. They may have a child’s birthday party or other important family event that week, and making an assumption that the time you’re thinking of works for them may be a mistake.
You don’t need to send someone disgruntled with resentment on a business trip. They, too, should understand the reasons they’re traveling and why it’s so important. Albeit short-term, this can also be a drain physically and mentally, especially if outside of their time zone or if departure and arrival impacts their weekend.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to keep your employees safe when traveling, especially if they are traveling alone.
Trying to save money on a hotel just to end up putting them in a part of town heavily riddled with street crime adds more stress to them, as well as puts them in harm’s way.
Make sure your employees feel safe and are not put in any type of situation that could lead to them getting hurt, lost or finding themselves in danger.
Cultural Do’s and Don’ts.
Many companies hold harassment training, but rarely hold Cultural training and how to navigate cultural differences tactfully. It’s easy to dismiss this as, “oh, they’re not going to another country, so what’s the difference”, but think about it – even in your own country, you more than likely have sensitivities that should be maneuvered carefully.
While you can rely on the employee traveling to go by what they know, this is a risk you don’t want to take. Whether internationally or domestically, make sure they are prepared with a little bit of proper etiquette before they arrive.
Short-term business travel can be a great benefit, both for employees and the company. It can help foster positive relationships, and keep your company vision aligned across multiple locations.
Take some thought into considerations for short-term travel, but relish in the good it can bring, as well. Bon Voyage!
© Human Resources Global