According to the Global Business Travel Association, up to 75% of company spending on meetings & events is unrelated to travel-related expenses. How can you shrink the huge black hole in your Meetings budget? Most cost-cutting exercises lead back to the crafting and enforcement of the company Meeting & Events Policy.
Establish the Ground Rules
A well-rounded set of Meetings Policies for everything from internal meetings to company-wide events starts with a set of guidelines that tell your employees, partners, customers and vendors how you operate. The first step is to document your program goals. Give preference to company needs like saving money, reducing risk and consolidating spending. Take the goals and align them with a data review of your current meetings spending before you devise your plan.
Once the policy is set, how you choose to enforce your Meetings Policies should closely mirror your company culture and business needs. When putting the structure in place, some organizations choose a strict mandate strategy while others take a more flexible and participatory approach. Let’s take a look at the relative merits of each.
Carrot or Stick?
Many organizations have to decide between the proverbial carrot or stick approach to managing costs. If the company decides to go with mandates (the stick), consider who will be the traffic cop that determines what level of management approval is required. A thorough accounting of invoices and receipts will keep everyone honest.
The carrot approach to meetings management can empower an employee to focus on compliance and have a stake in the level of savings they can get. Given this autonomy, your staffers may be more likely to adopt the practices necessary for cutting costs. Consider incentives for meeting planners to personally benefit by making cost-effective choices, similar to how Rocketrip is used to encourage compliance with company travel policies by letting employees keep a portion of the savings they generate.
Employee Support & Incentives
A Meetings Policy that includes a level of mandate and offers some autonomy could be the ideal solution. The next step is to demonstrate to employees - what’s in it for them. Meeting planners quickly see the benefits of following a policy when they know they will gain some type of benefit by being good corporate citizens.
Take a refreshed approach to meetings policies and track the financials to determine if the changes have proved successful. It’s important to communicate the purpose and benefits to internal stakeholders via proactive change management tactics like webinars, trainings and reminder emails. The ultimate test is to see how many employees become early adopters to the policy. And finally, take note of our Tips for Holding a Successful Meeting.