Some employees travel regularly as part of their primary job functions. When this is the case, they tend to conduct themselves in one of three ways:

  1. They learn the art of socializing with colleagues and customers in a friendly manner while maintaining a professional distance.
  2. They try to get noticed in the crown by becoming “best friends” with everyone in the room. Oversharing is a noticeable characteristic of this circumstance.
  3. They develop a feeling of entitlement and superiority, as if they are in another class above other employees and sometimes even customers. They often act as though company rules and policies do not apply to them.

It’s quite obvious how two of the three of these can open doors to harassment and discrimination policy violations.

On the other hand, there may be employees in your company that travel infrequently for meetings, training or conventions. They may only travel once or twice during their employment with your company. In most cases, this does not create a problem. However, an employee who has a problem following rules and policies while in the workplace, will be more likely to step outside of the rules when given more freedom such as during business travel.

Here are a few tips on how to get ahead of potential business travel related problems before they happen.

  • Provide employees with travel rules and policies that apply as soon as you are aware of the scheduled trip.
  • Meet with the employee prior to travel to answer any questions about the process, such as hours or mileage that may need to be tracked, and if they are required to share rooms or purchase a separate room.
  • Ask the employee if they have any special concerns about the trip that need to be addressed before travel commences. This may include people the employee is traveling with, where they are staying, or how to handle a business dinner or social function where alcohol is being served.
  • Notify the employee that he or she is not required to take part in any event that makes them feel uncomfortable or does not feel safe, such as getting in the car with a colleague or customer who is intoxicated.
  • Be aware of behavioral and/or performance changes in the employee while traveling or upon return.
  • When the employee returns, don’t just assume everything went well. Follow up with the employee in person to ensure there were no problems during the trip.

And, as always, if there is a complaint and you need to investigate…!