Employers and employees are caught up in a remote finance tussle

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Hybrid working has sparked an onslaught of new ways of working, many of which are positive. Flexible working and a better work-life balance, for example, are among some of the major benefits to come out of the pandemic. This has led many employers to perceive hybrid working as beneficial for employees, and therefore an advantage when it comes to talent retention.

However, hybrid working can only be helpful to employees when processes such as travel and expense management (T&E) work smoothly. Currently, with the remote element, the employee experience of T&E processes has been made challenging, dampening the benefits of hybrid working for employees.

This is because when situations are out of sight, they can become out of mind with hybrid work resulting in a disconnect between how employers think a situation is going, and how employees are experiencing it. This places many businesses on the cusp of a mass exodus of talent. As such, companies need to consider why employees aren’t happy and what can be done to rectify this before it’s too late. Here’s how:

Use tech beyond cloud computing

Enabling remote and flexible working policies has taken up a large amount of employers’ time, which can lead to effective processes being overlooked. For example, while many businesses have invested in the hardware necessary to work from anywhere, they haven’t implemented technology that will streamline processes.

In fact, financial, compliance and travel processes are some of the most neglected areas when it comes to investing in tech to improve hybrid working. Less than a third (31%) of executives across Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) say they have completely optimised their tools and processes around vendor/supplier invoicing, while a similar number (37%) believes employees can manage their travel and expense reports from anywhere, anytime – according to SAP Concur research. Meanwhile, 31% feel that employee expenditure tracking is completely optimised, meaning there is lots of room for improvement.

Put an ear to the ground

When it comes to hybrid working, employees can become frustrated due to a difference in expectations. Consequently, not meeting and managing employee expectations is one way to fast-track employees out the door and straight into a competitor’s talent pool.

The first step to rectifying this seems simple: listen to your employees. But many mistakes are made here, usually as a result of seeing employees as a mass group of people with the same viewpoint.

However, each employee will have unique expectations within the workplace. This means businesses should have clarity on what employees’ feelings are on the ground, before taking further action to improve T&E processes.

Minimise friction

Once you’ve gained insights from employees, there are two strategies businesses can implement to ensure they’re removing friction in the workplace to make way for improvements.

Start by comparing employee expectations with what the existing T&E set up offers. From here, advanced technologies should be implemented, especially in the areas where processes are falling short. The aim should be to ensure these processes work remotely at the same performance level as when conducted in the office.

Technology shouldn’t be the only concern. The cultural aspect of setting T&E processes up for remote working goes hand-in-hand. Any glaringly obvious knowledge gaps among employees should be addressed through training as soon as possible.

Currently, only 37% of employees say their employers are providing training that enables them to keep up with changing policies and regulations. It’s a worrying figure, not only for employee happiness, but compliance.