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MENTAL HEALTH


whatever issues are there, they’ll remain until you start trying to do something about it. You’ll lose people; you’ll fail to attract certain talent if you don’t make changes. And you can improve.”


So, with that in mind, what are some of the tracking


tools that travel managers can make use of? At T&T they use employee engagement software Office Vibe, says Gunn. Via targeted survey questions sent to staff on a regular basis, touching on both work and personal life, the system “provides feedback to all our managers so they can see within their different teams which ones are doing well and where we can improve”. Though not solely aimed at business travellers the system does allow companies to segment data by those that frequently travel and those that don’t, so managers can compare and contrast experiences. More targeted is the Peer Insights dashboard, intro- duced by American Express Global Business Travel earlier this year. The benchmarking tool tracks positive KPIs (such as direct flights and access to business class seats on international trips) and negative KPIs (such as red-eye flights or time spent away from home) to calculate an overall traveller wellbeing score. “Organisations can then compare their performance in terms of traveller wellbeing with the scores of anonymised relevant peers,” explains Scott Trainor, global product marketing manager for data solutions at Amex GBT. “Depending on where a company falls within their peer group, they may decide that they want to adjust their travel policies to be more aligned with their peers – while at the same time balancing the costs of those changes. For example, a company may see that their travellers take more last-minute trips than their peers, which would have a negative impact on their traveller wellbeing score. This might be an opportunity to work with team leaders to better manage planning of trips for their staff to allow more advance notice.” Mobile app Remente, meanwhile, allows both travel managers to track wellbeing but also staff to monitor their individual mental health. That includes a goal-set- ting capability, explains chief executive and co-founder David Brudo, that allows employees to plan trips “with more clarity and simplicity” to reduce associated stress. “Another popular feature on the app, called ‘Mood Tracker’, allows users to rate their mood so that they can better understand what affects them mentally,” he adds. And “users can also track their sleep and physical activity, which can offer a great indicator of how their travel is affecting their wellbeing”. Employers, meanwhile, are “able to single out mobile workers and compare their mental health status with the rest of the organisation in order to fully comprehend how their staff’s business trips are affecting them mentally”.


EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT Companies will need to think carefully about how best to encourage busy employees to engage in these emerging technology platforms, of course, cautions Worrell. “The


buyingbusinesstravel.com


TRAVEL MANAGERS ARE OFTEN CONCERNED THAT THEY’RE STEPPING INTO THE DOMAIN OF HUMAN RESOURCES TEAMS


issue would be getting employees to engage with the app and input personal data honestly and regularly,” he says. “They would have to be fully confident that their data would not be shared with their employer, as they might be afraid of how this information may be used.” Travel managers should also remember that they


needn’t tackle traveller wellbeing alone, advises Gunn. “If you manage a large company’s travel programme with hundreds if not thousands of travellers you can’t always sit down with them and see how they’re doing. Yes, we advise companies to send surveys to regular travellers, ask for feedback and follow up. But also try to work with the leadership team and line managers. “Travel managers can’t do this themselves, they need to work with the rest of their company. This doesn’t sit inside the travel policy document, where you make a few tweaks and everybody is happy overnight, it requires a long-term concerted effort.”


2019 MAY/JUNE 75


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