During the coronavirus pandemic, effective communication of T&E information has become even more critical than normal.
The question is: How do employees want to hear coronavirus-related travel and expense news?
A recent study from BCD Travel asked employees what their preferred channels were for travel communications concerning COVID-19. Their responses were:
- email (92%)
- corporate or intranet portal (52%)
- travel app messaging (42%)
- webinars or virtual Q&As (25%), and
- social enterprise tools (10%).
Leveraging email, e-communications
With nine in 10 employees happy to receive T&E news via email, that may be the best medium to focus on, both for leaders sharing major COVID-19 news and finance staffers handling T&E.
And with another wave of COVID-19 hitting this winter, government regulations may change and your company-specific policies may need to be updated.
To make the most of email or other digital communication methods for T&E news during the remainder of the pandemic:
1. Keep it clear, consistent. You want employees to know as soon as the email enters their inbox or memo is posted that it’s time-critical – and that it concerns T&E and COVID-19.
If you haven’t already, going forward, it’d be a good idea to have your company use a standard headline/subject line format for every update. For example, you could try something like: T&E COVID-19 Update [Date]: [Message Topic].
2. Be aware of your tone. Given the seriousness of the pandemic, CFOs know it’s vital to strike the right balance in tone. If messages sound too light, they could come off as insensitive. On the other hand, if messages sound too somber, they could add to employees’ stress.
Remind anyone sharing T&E news to make sure their messages sound calm, objective, professional and – if necessary – sympathetic.
3. Show how you’re taking action. Employees want to see what your company’s doing to keep them safe and T&E on track during the pandemic.
Is your company adding more mobile options for employee expenses? Are executives updating travel safety guidelines? Is A/P reimbursing expenses quicker to account for the financial strain many are feeling? Be sure your T&E communications include that kind of language, too, so employees feel assured and content.
And to go a step further …
Though this survey highlights email as the top T&E communication method for the rest of the pandemic, it’s not the only one. You know getting news out via multiple mediums is a good way to ensure more people see it (or can access it later).
Since about half of employees also like to see communications on your company’s intranet or portal, it’d be smart to keep an archive of T&E COVID-19 updates there as well. (You may want to enlist someone on your finance team to take some time to get T&E communications from earlier in the pandemic that are still relevant posted, too.)
That way, there’s a full record of all your communications in one place. If employees can’t find a specific email or want a comprehensive look at A/P’s T&E news, they can head online.