Influencing and changing behavior can be tricky in the workplace, particularly when it comes to getting employees to alter their spending habits. Saving the company money is not often top of mind for employees as far as travel and expense (T&E) spending goes. Enforcing strict controls and implementing more policies can sometimes rub employees the wrong way.
But, you can rein in spending in a way that improves morale. Your goal is to create a culture of compliance where employees understand T&E policies and know that they will be reminded when they inadvertently deviate from policy. These quick tips can help as you look to transform your employees’ spending behavior.
- Model the behaviors you want to see. Employees typically follow the example set by others in the organization and take cues for how to behave from those in charge. Leaders must accept their responsibility to follow T&E policies and procedures. Employees are more likely to behave in the ways you want when your leaders do.
- Proactively communicate with employees and their managers. It is very important to proactively communicate with employees and their managers regarding potential T&E problems and their subsequent resolution. It’s also important to use a set of email templates to communicate a consistent message to all employees. If you don’t emphasize the behavior you want from employees in the spend program, you won’t get it. You must document and tell employees what you expect and what you don’t want to see.
- Monitor employees’ spending behavior. Every day, there are non-compliant transactions you should pay attention to in order to better control T&E spend in your company. You need to understand and address the root causes of employee behavior that leads to waste in your program. AI -based technology can be used to monitor ALL expense transactions across ALL expense reports and card transactions, to identify non-compliant spending automatically. Research shows that people behave differently when they know they are being watched. As a result, our customers who routinely monitor and analyze expense transactions can see reduced out-of-policy transactions of up to 70%.
- Respond to behavior consistently. Remember that employees’ motives tend to be human and subject to error. Helping employees correct wasteful spending habits requires that you be extremely consistent in your reinforcement and enforcement of T&E policy. Unfortunately, you cannot always rely on managers to properly enforce T&E policy. They’re human too, and will often opt to approve rather than confront employees about spend. Using an automated program to monitor, analyze, and remediate out-of-policy spending can help to ensure consistency and assign specific issues for further investigation so that root cause analysis can be determined and T&E policy adjustments can be made or employee training initiated.
Employee behavior in the workplace can be complex and difficult to change. If you want employees to make better spending decisions, then you need to make sure that your T&E program supports, encourages, and holds them accountable for their transactions. Always try to use positive approaches to influence spending behavior and keep employees in the loop about successes. Of course, there will be those instances where you must confront an employee in question and handle a potential fraudulent situation. However, most of the time you’re simply redirecting employees to make better choices that will make the most efficient use of your company’s T&E spend.
For a deeper dive on influencing your employees' T&E spending habits, download our new eBook.