CXO Bytes

Global tech companies are redesigning employee expense management to boost morale. Are their Indian counterparts overlooking it?

A survey conducted with 51 companies and 7,23,000 employees across sectors, including IT and telecom, manufacturing, general services, financial services, energy & utilities, and healthcare, revealed that 85% of Indian employers face challenges in attracting or retaining talent with digital experience, while 74% reported a similar challenge with positions in sales.


With a large portion of the working force permanently moving to a remote or hybrid work model, the problem of employee retention is not going anywhere unless Indian companies deal with the issue in a new light.


The global talent war has become increasingly democratic post covid, and employee experience remains one of the most underrated but most effective secret weapons a company can wield. For companies with a more distributed workforce, employee expense management is a significant pain point for employees.


Even today, many large companies work with antiquated paper processes or legacy systems that are digital only in name. Half-baked digital processes are worse as the employees need to manually execute them, leading to error, confusion, fatigue and demotivation. In the absence of a modern expense management system, even reimbursements can take very long, thus affecting the financial well-being of employees. This can bubble up feelings of resentment amongst employees and render the other nurturing efforts of the company useless.


Global companies renowned for attracting the best talent have the most employee-friendly expense management systems. For example, Google provides all employees with a company card, not just executives at the highest levels, which allows them to pay for business expenses with the company’s funds instead of forcing them to use their funds. Beyond that, company cards make it much easier for Google to automate elements of their expense management by eliminating the need for a manual expense approval process.


Modern expense management processes boost employee morale


Convenience in planning work trips, ease of submitting expense reports, faster approvals and shorter reimbursement cycles can result in a more conducive work environment. Employees who face less friction while traveling for work, are likely to focus more on getting the work done, resulting in more productivity.


Fortunately, this doesn’t have to come at a higher cost for the companies. With modern expense management tools, companies can save costs while providing employees with a better expense management experience. This can involve offering systematic approval workflows, a user-friendly mobile app, baking policy compliance and approvals in the expense submission, and integrated duty of care for traveling employees.


While many large Indian companies have moved from paper receipts to digital expense management, the approval, reconciliation & reimbursement largely remain manual. Modern expense management practices can solve this problem while offering the CXOs better visibility over the overall expenditure.


By making their employees feel more valued, Indian companies can beat the global conglomerates in retaining the best talent in the country.


(The author is Mr. Himanshu Singh, Senior Vice President, Happay and the views expressed in this article are his own)


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