Why Orgs Consistently Struggle with T&E Policy Adherence

Roughly 77% of organizations have a formal travel and/or expense policy, but they have almost no way to encourage T&E policy adherence. Here’s how to disseminate and enforce your T&E policy at scale.

Make T&E Policies Accessible and Digestible

Even if you have an up-to-date T&E policy, chances are employees don’t know where to find it in the first place. Make sure it’s centrally-available and linked in many places frequented by both new and existing employees. That could include pinning links in central Slack channels and Salesforce sidebars, cross-linking from employee handbooks and trainings, adding it to the Finance team’s internal email signature, adding it to transactional emails within the T&E workflow, etc.

Also consider if your policy is human-friendly.  We’ve seen 10-, 20-, even 80-page PDFs stuffed with legalese!  Meanwhile the average American reads at the 7th- to 8th-grade level.  Employees can’t adhere to policies if they don’t understand them.  If you’re required to provide this level of depth/nuance in your policy, create a 1-page summary, or layer key takeaways into each section so that employees can digest policies at a glance.


Great Guardrails

Many finance teams are the leanest part of their organization. They don’t have the bandwidth to constantly enable employees on T&E policies.  Beyond setting a policy and publishing it somewhere, consider using software to encourage T&E policy adherence at scale.

TravelBank was founded with these behavioral guardrails: our software takes your policies and embeds them in the booking process.  Employees are automatically guided towards options they’re allowed to book, and blocked from things that aren’t allowed. 

Travel and Expense Policies flow for out of policy expenses on the TravelBank mobile application

Similarly, when employees submit an expense report, they immediately see why noncompliant expenses are out of policy, creating a feedback loop that boosts policy awareness.  It also spares management from consistently clarifying which expenses are compliant.  If a manager has 10 direct reports who are traveling all the time, how much of their week or month is wasted by basic policy questions?


Reduce Friction

When tools or processes are slow or cumbersome, employees simply forgo formal channels and book directly with vendors.  And when booking on their own, employees frequently choose their preferred providers to maximize individual perks, such as airline miles or hotel points. On average, employees strictly following company T&E policies spend 20% less than nonadherent employees.

Good employee UX isn’t just nice-to-have – it delivers real and significant ROI. In a recent TravelBank-commissioned Forrester study, we learned that T&E policy adherence is probably the most important part of T&E management. In Forrester Consulting’s study, they modeled that improving policy compliance nets significant financial benefit:

A bar chart showing the cost of t&e management challenges in travel expenses.