For organisations of any size, recruitment and retention is critical to remaining profitable and successful. But what makes a workplace attractive, and how can employers think outside the box when it comes to employee satisfaction?
Research conducted by Booking.com for Business has revealed that almost a third (30%) of all working professionals accepted their job fully or in part because of the business travel opportunities it offered and over a third (38%) would actively pursue a new job if it offered more business travel. Travel opportunities are even more of a lure than salary for some, with 31 percent prepared to take a lower paying job if it meant more travel. With this in mind, has business travel been underestimated as a highly valued workplace benefit?
One potential reason for this is that business travel is not what it used to be. In fact, the way business travellers book, manage and conduct their corporate travel has evolved dramatically. Thanks to a rise in tap as you go technologies, business travel is not as burdensome as it might have been in the past. With these tools, last minute bookings and travel arrangements are not only feasible, but make the process as seamless as possible.
What’s more, many businesses are now building in more flexibility when it comes to work travel, with some even creating specific policies that enable employees to add leisure time to a work trip. Thanks to this increased flexibility, the majority of those that travel for business now make time for leisure activities during work trips (73%). For many, this is now a key work perk, with almost half (45%) of those surveyed valuing the ability to blend business travel with leisure activities over more traditional workplace benefits.
Recognising its many benefits, both personal and professional, it is unsurprising that an increasing number of professionals today seek increased opportunities and roles encompassing corporate travel. It brings a significant value add to their professional fulfilment, with 60% agreeing that experiencing new cultures and destinations adds value to their job. Of course, what exactly underpins this value varies between professions.
For creatives, business travel can provide inspiration, for those in professional services, face to face meetings often strengthen client relationships and provide networking opportunities – and for those who work for an NGO, having the opportunity to travel for business is a fundamental part of international development. More generally, we are living in an increasingly connected world, and the reality is that for many businesses, global appeal and reach is crucial. In such a world, travelling and getting to experience different destinations and cultures has something to offer every professional, no matter their industry.
Whilst the benefits of business travel can be seen clearly across a wide variety of professions – business travel, or at least the opportunity to incorporate leisure travel during a work trip, has been found to be most valued by the ‘millennial’ generation. Business travel is even more of a motivator for the millennial employee – 46% would pursue a new job for more travel and 37% accepted their job because of it. This must be a wake-up call to employers, considering that millennials are expected to make up 50% of the global workforce by 2020 and will be critical to the future of many businesses.
Employee loyalty goes hand in hand with employee welfare, and business travel is an underused bargaining chip when it comes to maintaining a high level of employee satisfaction. Professionals are recognising that being able to travel for work purposes is key to their development, performance and ultimately, fulfilment – to the extent that for some employees, the opportunity for business travel can be more important than compensation. With an eye to the future, flexible corporate travel policies will be more crucial than ever as a workplace benefit, as the millennial generation come to represent the majority of the workforce. In this way, employers will do well to mirror the millennial mind-set – seeing travel as essential to professional success.
Ripsy leads the business’s Booking.com for Business division where she is responsible for overseeing product development and growing commercial relationships that help Booking.com build its presence in the business travel arena.