Even a perfectly-written policy is useless if no one bothers to read it. A travel policy’s distribution can be as relevant as its content. That being said, is email really an effective way of distributing a policy? How can you overcome the natural aversion people have to policy documents? Are there creative ways to ensure policies are not only read, but understood?
Let’s be quite honest; travel policies aren’t the most riveting thing in the world. They can also be wordy and complex, which doesn’t amount to the most heartening combination. An employee might be tempted to skim, get the gist from a colleague, or assume their common sense will be enough to steer them. This doesn’t reflect poorly on your people per se; they might feel belittled or confused by the tone or language of the policy, or even feel that dedicating too much time to its interpretation reduces their productivity.
So what’s the fix? The usual distribution methods, email, portal, or paper, are all valid approaches with their own slight downsides and upsides. Acknowledgements, signatures, and various other kinds of confirmations are all easily bypassed, so that you’ll never be really sure of an employee’s comprehension of the policy. The simple reality is that policies need support.
It all starts with the writing of the policy itself. The policy should be worded in the simplest language possible, and be as short as you can stand to make it. It should also offer definitions for terms specific to the travel industry, and maybe even strike a fun or casual tone. These efforts cut down the intimidation factor of the policy, along with the time it takes to consult.
Essentially, once an employee has started to read the policy, you’ll have made it so that they won’t get discouraged enough to put it down.
So now we just have to convince them to pick it up in the first place. Your travel policy is an internal initiative, and its success relies on vocal champions, in each department and at multiple levels. These champions should not only direct their colleagues to the policy, but encourage them to ask questions, so that they’ll never feel ashamed for failing to understand. These champions should be empowered to host training sessions whenever required, whether in the event of changes, or when new hires are brought on. Attributing your policy to human faces makes it infinitely more approachable and accessible.
Finally, consider quizzing! Tests and quizzes on travel policy comprehension might seem juvenile or a waste of time, but they can be a great tool to not only establish knowledge in your people, but to evaluate how successfully the policy stuck with them on their initial reading. For instance, widespread bad grades could indicate that a rewrite is needed. A comprehension test, however short, is significantly more communicative of an employee’s understanding than a simple signature or acknowledgement of an email. If your champions are hosting trainings, an end-of-class test is a perfect way to ensure the lesson sank in.
In essence, the methods of distribution for travel policies have never been the issue. Bad writing and insufficient support are the real problems. Reviewing the policy language, appointing champions, and establishing a curriculum are the solutions.