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Corporate Travel [corporate travel policy discussion at interview?]

Corporate Travel [corporate travel policy discussion at interview?]

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Old May 30, 19, 2:46 am
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Corporate Travel [corporate travel policy discussion at interview?]

Thinking of switching jobs, and there is one on the horizon with potentially a lot of travel. Business is engineering/pharmaceutical consultancy. How do I bring up the class of travel without sounding like a plonker? potentially a lot of travel to US and SEA from IE. Sounds to me like they might be a Y or W only type of crowd. I'd be okay with W, not sure about Y. Also, they probably would let me book the travel myself (full flex fares seem standard now), so push comes to shove, I would be getting decent avios/TPs

How do you bring up the travel policy?
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Old May 30, 19, 2:53 am
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If there is definitely a lot of travel expected, would Y be a deal breaker for you? Or would you still take the job?

If it’s a deal breaker then there’s probably no harm in asking “since I’ll be expected to travel monthly, can I ask what the travel policy is?”
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Old May 30, 19, 2:58 am
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I think it's entirely pertinent to ask about travel policy in an interview. I don't think that it's the place to start laying down conditions unless they are truly showstoppers. My approach would be to ask what the policy is, ask any clarifying questions ("so does that apply regardless of frequency of travel?","does the policy apply to all roles?" etc) but not get drawn into whether I think that's acceptable or not.

Gather all the information about the job, including travel policy, reflect on it away from the interview and then if things get serious you can start to negotiate.
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Old May 30, 19, 3:00 am
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The other consideration is that travel policies can and do change. Most of my clients are large globals, and in recent years almost all of them have gone from J to Y for long haul travel for most grades. So whatever their policy today, unless you can negotiate it into your contract, it may well change.
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Old May 30, 19, 3:06 am
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Short term I won't have a problem with Y, if the role is exactly what I want (still exploring this and this comes first of course), but long term I don't know, specially on overnight flights from west coast, even these days I book my holidays in W so i can UUA into J

I will probably say something along the lines of "Since I understand there will be a lot of travel involved, I was wondering what the travel and short term relocation policy is for the company" and then if its Y only, I will try and get it up to W, and bring up productivity while traveling as a lot of airlines don't offer wifi in the air or on the ground if you're travelling down the back, and we should minimize billable unproductive hours to the client.
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Old May 30, 19, 3:29 am
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You could always also try and research it externally (eg on Glassdoor or equivalent)
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Old May 30, 19, 3:33 am
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Originally Posted by Pascoe View Post
You could always also try and research it externally (eg on Glassdoor or equivalent)
It's a very small outfit ¨ 75 people, but I'll do a quick search, and I'll bring up my current employer's policy which is W for 6hr+, and J for mid level management (of which I am not one)
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Old May 30, 19, 3:35 am
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Originally Posted by W213Sal View Post
Short term I won't have a problem with Y, if the role is exactly what I want (still exploring this and this comes first of course), but long term I don't know, specially on overnight flights from west coast, even these days I book my holidays in W so i can UUA into J

I will probably say something along the lines of "Since I understand there will be a lot of travel involved, I was wondering what the travel and short term relocation policy is for the company" and then if its Y only, I will try and get it up to W, and bring up productivity while traveling as a lot of airlines don't offer wifi in the air or on the ground if you're travelling down the back, and we should minimize billable unproductive hours to the client.
The above implies, given your stated travel pattern, that you will be working on o/night flights. Is that really the case? I know people do but that's usually an exception. Also minimising billable hours might be in the client's favour, but not necessarily that of your potential employer.

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Old May 30, 19, 3:41 am
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Personally I would be using the gambit of 'if you want me to travel regularly then that's absolutely fine, but I want to be arriving back refreshed enough to be with my family when I am not travelling, especially if the travel part will be eating into family time to begin with, and also to be rested and productive when I am working away'.

Of course, I don't know what your family circumstances are, but both the need to be rested when away, and the need to not be a zombie when you get back home are, to me, completely reasonable requests to make.

And frankly any firm that had a huge issue with you bringing it up would, for me, almost be a dealbreaker itself.

Often (although maybe moreso at larger firms) there's an HR interview that comes near the end of the process (ie when the hiring stakeholders have essentially made their choice, or at least got down to a short shortlist) to cover just these kinds of points (ie non functional stuff - benefits package, cultural fit, etc etc). If there's one of those then that's probably an ideal time to broach the subject.
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Old May 30, 19, 3:53 am
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Originally Posted by DoctorCopper View Post
The above implies, given your stated travel pattern, that you will be working on o/night flights. Is that really the case? I know people do but that's usually an exception. Also minimising billable hours might be in the client's favour, but not necessarily that of your potential employer.

Doc Copper
Hey Doc,

Well in the industry, travel hours are billable whichever way you take it, and no they are definitely not in the client's interest, however, if you're the interface between the client and the engineering firm etc, it's expected this will occur, and it's in both your interest and the client interest to maximize productivity, so if you're billing hours and not doing any work it doesn't work, of course, a few hours of "free work" is expected, so if you're not working on the plane you might have to catch up in your own time and not bill it, which isn't ideal either.

Edit: misread the night flights bit, no definitely not, but that would still be billable, day flights you might get some work done, I usually believe about 1/4 of a day flight can be productive, so if its a 10 hr flight, you might get 2.5 hrs work done

Originally Posted by Pascoe View Post
Personally I would be using the gambit of 'if you want me to travel regularly then that's absolutely fine, but I want to be arriving back refreshed enough to be with my family when I am not travelling, especially if the travel part will be eating into family time to begin with, and also to be rested and productive when I am working away'.

Of course, I don't know what your family circumstances are, but both the need to be rested when away, and the need to not be a zombie when you get back home are, to me, completely reasonable requests to make.

And frankly any firm that had a huge issue with you bringing it up would, for me, almost be a dealbreaker itself.

Often (although maybe moreso at larger firms) there's an HR interview that comes near the end of the process (ie when the hiring stakeholders have essentially made their choice, or at least got down to a short shortlist) to cover just these kinds of points (ie non functional stuff - benefits package, cultural fit, etc etc). If there's one of those then that's probably an ideal time to broach the subject.
That's probably a good idea, I'll bring it up once it looks like everything else will work out! Thanks!
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Old May 30, 19, 4:26 am
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Originally Posted by W213Sal View Post
Hey Doc,

Well in the industry, travel hours are billable whichever way you take it, and no they are definitely not in the client's interest, however, if you're the interface between the client and the engineering firm etc, it's expected this will occur, and it's in both your interest and the client interest to maximize productivity, so if you're billing hours and not doing any work it doesn't work, of course, a few hours of "free work" is expected, so if you're not working on the plane you might have to catch up in your own time and not bill it, which isn't ideal either.

Edit: misread the night flights bit, no definitely not, but that would still be billable, day flights you might get some work done, I usually believe about 1/4 of a day flight can be productive, so if its a 10 hr flight, you might get 2.5 hrs
I don't believe that a potential employer would accept the possibility of working on an o/night flight as reason to upgrade the company travel policy, mainly on the basis of being an unrealistic request.

If you do want to work on an o/night flight then this can be done in Y as well as any other class of travel. On the other hand, if the prospective employer expects its employees to be hitting the ground running on arrival, then travel class should be at least W. However, if the prospective company's blanket travel policy is Y, then that argument may not work in your favour. And, 75 employees is not a very small company!

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Old May 30, 19, 4:33 am
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Originally Posted by DoctorCopper View Post
I don't believe that a potential employer would accept the possibility of working on an o/night flight as reason to upgrade the company travel policy, mainly on the basis of being an unrealistic request. However, if you do want to work on an o/night flight then this can be done in Y as well as any other class of travel. On the other hand, if you [the prospective employer] expect me to be hitting the ground running when I land, then it should be W rather than Y. However, if the prospective company's blanket travel policy is Y, then that argument may not work in your favour. And, 75 employees is not a very small company!

Doc Copper
I'm coming from a company of 75K employees so 75 does seem SME sized, but they are excellent at what they do

I see where you're coming from I think it was confusing the way I posted it, I don't think a lot of employers/teams know what times you're travelling, specially if you're working independently with the client a lot, nevertheless they expect the work to be done!, plus if you're working on multiple projects with multiple clients, none of them will know your travel patterns and work will have to be done. Generally your time is yours to manage.
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Old May 30, 19, 4:50 am
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I wish you every success for the future! Do keep us informed of what happens.

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Old May 30, 19, 5:10 am
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As others have said, I think itís perfectly reasonable to ask what the travel policy is, particularly if you phrase it in a general request to know all soft benefits - pensions, life assurance, gym membership etc.

I canít imagine any reasonable employer would find that a problem. Whether you like the answer is a separate question of course!
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Old May 30, 19, 5:31 am
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Small companies may have a bit more flexibility than global Corporates. Iím the Head if HR for a company more than double the size than the one youíre talking about, but still an SME in some regards.

We treat employees as adults - for UK train travel you can go first class if itís cheaper than an Anytime Standard ticket - I guess something similar could apply to air travel.
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