U.S. Business Travelers Have a Better Grip on Compliance Issues, Report Says

A new report from American Express Global Business Travel found that U.S. employees had a better understanding of employers’ rules for business travel than counterparts in other countries and were less likely to “go rogue.”

Corporate travel policies are complex beasts, and in many countries around the world, compliance is a big problem.

One of those countries, however, is not the United States, where nearly 80 percent of workers claim to be “extremely familiar” with the policy, according to a new report from American Express Global Business Travel.

The company’s new Traveler 360º report [registration] found that just 21 percent of U.S. employees agreed with the sentiment that their company didn’t have a clear business travel policy—less than half that of other countries surveyed, including France (59 percent), Germany (58 percent), the U.K., India (53 percent each), Singapore (51 percent), and Australia (46 percent). This strong understanding of the travel policy among American employees seems to be a major reason why just 40 percent of U.S. workers say they “go rogue” on compliance—far lower than any other country.

The report emphasizes that the United States’ status as one that follows compliance rules is relatively unique.

“Regardless of how strict or relaxed their companies are on policy compliance, most travelers report not following the rules all the time,” the report states. “Here again, the U.S. is the only country that appears to be an outlier.”

So what makes an employee go rogue, anyway? According to the report, safety, convenience, and client proximity were major factors for breaking the rules.

The report suggested incentives, including paycheck bonuses associated with better compliance, was an effective strategy. (That said, a third of U.S. employees emphasized they did not need incentives to follow policy, far above every other country surveyed.)

Other key points of the report:

Reporting? Not so bad. As with other parts of the report, issues with booking and expensing were far less pronounced in the U.S. than with other countries. American employees were generally less likely than most other countries to book within two weeks of a trip, and expressed fewer complaints with the amount of time expense reporting and reimbursement took.

Pain points? Maintaining balance. Among U.S. business travelers, comfort and convenience seemed to be the biggest issues at play. When asked to highlight their three biggest challenges, U.S. employees cited day-to-day workload, being away from family, and travel outside of normal business hours (on nights, weekends, or holidays). But that wasn’t the case across the globe: While Australian employees picked the same three items in the same order, French employees focused on security issues.

Monitoring? No thanks. One thing that American business travelers don’t like is an employer who too aggressively attempts to track their every movement. Just 46 percent of U.S. employees said they were OK with their employer knowing where they were at all times, while 65 percent said their employer did not need to know. As far as communication, Americans seem to be fine with the level of interaction they have with their employer—just 16 percent said they felt their employer didn’t do enough to keep communication lines open.

(Lebazele/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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