Employers learn that keeping their Millenials happy is essential
Born between 1981 and 1996, Millenials are shaping the future of the workplace and their expectations are beginning to drive many aspects of business service design and delivery.
The Millenials are changing everything, and that goes for how they want to be treated when they travel for business on behalf of their employers. With technology at the forefront of their wishes, it highlights that arguably most corporations are not ready for this fundamental shift.
Born between 1981 and 1996, Millenials are shaping the future of the workplace in the broadest sense. As Baby Boomers retire over the next decade, Millenials will dominate the workforce; estimates say Millenials will make up 75% of the global workforce by 2025 and by next year they will make up 36% of the US workforce.
Millenials have grown up with technology and will expect to use it in their workplace; they will favour video conferencing rather than in-person meetings for example, and expect a smartphone that they can download a multitude of apps to.
Already, corporations have made the correlation between the type of travel policy in place and attrition rates. Treat them nicely and keep staff turnover rates low is the general way forward. Such a policy impacts directly on a company's bottom line so it makes good business sense.
Arguably, if one employer allows business class travel on mid-haul and long-haul flights and another doesn’t, or allows stays in more luxurious hotels perhaps, your highly-prized Millenial employee may swap being squashed in the back of a plane or staying in a budget hotel for a job with a company whose travel policy allows more creature comforts.
Such a shift in travel policy strategy is do-able for many companies, but there are some who haven’t cast off the post 2008 straitjacket and are still being driven by cost savings.
What is more, more traditional industry verticals, such as banks, are still struggling at a more basic level with fundamental technological developments, such as downloading apps on company mobiles. To their credit, however, banks tend to be more lenient when it comes to status on flights and in hotels.
So it is those companies in more techno-savvy industries such as media who are in the vanguard of change. These forward-thinking companies are changing their travel policies to be more traveller-centric, giving travellers a greater degree of freedom of choice when it comes to choosing a hotel or airline.
Some companies are allowing what’s termed ‘open booking’, which allows travellers to book what they want, with whom they want as long as it is within a pre-arranged budget. Employers including Google and, to a lesser degree, Salesforce.com are giving their travellers this degree of freedom.
However, open booking calls into question an employers’ duty of care for their employees; they should know where they are at all times and ensure that the airline/hotel/car hire firm that has been booked directly is reputable and that bookings can be tracked in case of emergency.
Homeworking will be another demand of the Millenials, so they are not confined to a 9-5 day and therefore achieve a better life/work balance. Employers are gradually accepting this step change and a Gallup study showed that remote workers are more productive and more engaged.
Lastly, Millenials want work to be fun - the fledgling gamification concept, that rewards good, policy-compliant behaviour with rewards using a scorecard, is gaining traction. All in all it’s a fine balancing act between keeping travellers happy and motivated and keeping a watchful eye on the bottom line.
Technology is the key, with self booking tools that seamlessly process all point-to-point journeys and provide robust data and management information, aggregators that combine GDS and non-GDS content to give travellers more choice, mobile apps that inform travellers of flight delays and gate changes in order to smoothe out the disruptions in their travel journey, and in-house videoconconferencing units to avoid the hassle of travel altogether.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Information Daily, its parent company or any associated businesses.
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