Measuring business traveler “feelings”—or “sentiment,” in business parlance—at scale is the goal of a new set of feedback collection and reporting tools called Concur Experience Optimizer announced this week by SAP Concur and experience analysis company Qualtrics.
On the verge of recovery from Covid-19, business travel looks different on a go-forward basis. Anecdotes from buyers reveal how many companies are putting travelers’ feelings about personal safety and well-being above cost considerations and preferred supplier compliance. Some say that position can’t last forever and eventually programs will find equilibrium as concerns around the pandemic fade. Other companies will be more proactive to enforce policy as business travel ramps up in earnest in 2022.
Either way, in a world in which a tight labor market has made retaining human capital more critical than ever, Concur and Qualtrics predict companies will need a deeper understanding of how travel and expense policy changes impact employee experience—whether that’s in terms of health and safety expectations, productivity or other concerns. Research from SAP Concur released this summer showed 20 percent of employees would seek other employment if travel and expense policies failed to meet expectations to protect their health and safety. Among the youngest tranche of survey respondents, that number leapt to 56 percent.
According to the companies, the new suite of tools uses Qualtrics’ EmployeeXM tools together with SAP Concur operational data to gather traveler reaction to program parameters and “capture employee sentiment with science-backed feedback templates” and allow users to “view the results through simple, intuitive dashboards that show the impact of sentiment against operational data metrics.”
Once the data is in hand, Concur clients can tap the company’s new “Experience Management” consultants, who have completed the Qualtrics certification program for the XM and IT platform. The new practice area will assist clients in how to use the data to shape travel and expense program policies to match not only new traveler expectations but also budget goals and to drive compliance.
“Demand for business travel is returning to pre-pandemic levels, but getting the employee experience right is more nuanced and complicated than ever before,” said Qualtrics chief product officer Jay Choi in a statement. “It’s critical for organizations to understand how employees feel about the new world of travel and use that experience data to meet their evolving health and safety needs.”
SAP Concur solution area lead Mike Koetting added that a companies’ travel and expense programs can directly affect employee experience. Understanding that impact, he said, would be key to retaining employees who need to leverage these programs. “It’s no secret that retaining employees has become even more critical,” he said.
Until January 2021, Qualtrics and Concur shared SAP as a parent company. SAP bought Qualtrics in 2019 for $8 billion but spun it off as a public company just two years later. Qualtrics has 13,500 customers and 3,300 employees. SAP retains majority ownership of Qualtrics, holding more than 80 percent of its stock.