Mobility is an inherent part of any company, in terms of how employees commute to and from work, how they travel for business-related purposes and how they are compensated for the expenses. Therefore, the focus areas of today’s HR professionals – and, more specifically, Compensation & Benefits specialists – are strongly intertwined with the ongoing developments in public, personal and corporate mobility. These are currently being influenced by three major trends:
the need for corporates to improve sustainability and their efficient use of (increasingly limited) resources – including labour
the growing percentage of millennials[i] in the workforce, which is creating demand for a more flexible benefits system that allows employees to select benefits tailored to their own situation and lifestyle
the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular in terms of how and where people work and how they travel for work-related purposes.
As a result, ever-more HR specialists and Compensation & Benefits experts are recognising the need to initiate a new corporate mobility approach. But where should they start? In this article, we dive deeper into this topic and provide five practical tips that will help you to enhance mobility as part of your Compensation & Benefits policy.
1 Build a clear picture and develop employee mobility profiles
As with any complex topic, it is important to first gain a clear picture of the existing mobility situation within your organisation and define the parameters. What is your mobility target group – the entire workforce, or only those employees who are currently eligible for a company car (or cash alternative)? Should the approach differ between employees for whom a company car is a status-related benefit and employees who need a company vehicle in order to do their job? Should you include commuters? What about employees who travel for work only occasionally? And how do you define ‘occasionally’ (e.g. less than six times per year, or less than 5,000km a year)?
Once you have clarified the target group, you can start analysing the data to create standardised mobility profiles or ‘personas’ for each of the various mobility behaviours, based on:
frequency of travel
average distance travelled (mileage)
mileage outliers (i.e. the maximum deviation from the average and the frequency with which deviations occur)
location (e.g. urban, suburban, rural)
current mode of transport
mobility spend (preferably specified as benefits versus essential corporate travel).
This can be a complex task, especially if you work for a large corporate and/or have operations in numerous countries. In that case, it can be wise to start by selecting a pilot group and focusing on one specific market or employee group. Use online surveys and/or existing telematics solutions to enhance your insights. And don’t forget the outliers – these often create the most headaches when developing a new policy.
2 Onboard your stakeholders
Since mobility is such an all-encompassing issue, your stakeholders may include colleagues from Operations, Sales & Marketing, CSR, Finance, Procurement and Facilities – not to mention the fleet manager as well as your own HR department (including Compensation & Benefits and Health & Safety). Different stakeholders will have different interests, and they all deserve to have their say. Make it clear that you understand each stakeholder’s perspectives and needs, but focus above all on their capabilities and how they can each contribute to making mobility a value-added solution for the organisation as a whole. Support this by communicating a common theme that is related to your overall company purpose and strategic goals.
3 Start small, start local and do it digitally right from the start
Today the term ‘mobility’ often refers to multi-modal-mobility solutions[i] and is still very locally driven. In other words, each country has its own specific tailored and practical solutions. For example, ‘ride-hailing’[ii] is a fairly common mobility solution in China, whereas the Netherlands is one of the more advanced countries when it comes to the inclusion of bicycles, e-bikes and other forms of micro-mobility in policies. In view of this fact, you are advised to start with a small number of local initiatives and gradually expand them. Transforming corporate mobility doesn’t mean abolishing company cars – and definitely not overnight! Instead, it is about introducing tailored, flexible and smart mobility solutions as an addition to the company car in order to support your company’s strategy and sustainable growth whilst ensuring corporate social responsibility. Starting small and starting local also makes it easier for you to get budget approval, set SMART targets and monitor progress. Additionally, you should ensure that the new mobility solutions are backed up by digital processes and services to optimise the user experience, ensure connectivity (e.g. integration in IT systems for HR, expenses and reporting purposes) and support re-useability and the sharing of solutions.
4 Celebrate success and stay agile as you scale up
Once your first mobility policy changes are live (such as bicycle or e-bike schemes, corporate car sharing, shuttle services or a company car combined with a season ticket for public transport, to name but a few), it is time to communicate the results and, above all, celebrate your successes. Make sure that everyone understands that an efficient, affordable and sustainable mobility solution supports the organisation’s overall business goals. After all, providing employees with tailored, flexible, convenient and smart mobility benefits will strengthen your HR strategy by helping your company to attract and retain talented professionals. Expand your efforts gradually, continuing to focus on ‘small, local and digital’ so that your mobility project remains agile. This will make it easier to scale up into other markets, business units or employee profiles.
5 Share best practices and gain new inspiration
The ever-changing mobility landscape means that HR specialists have to stay on their toes and keep abreast of the latest industry developments – and the upcoming online Smart Mobility Conference is an ideal way to do so. This number-one international conference for all stakeholders involved in corporate mobility is aimed at stimulating the development of corporate mobility solutions. Taking place online - live on 10 June or on demand afterwards -, it will feature a strong focus on real cases and applicable mobility solutions while highlighting innovation, new developments and trends, and start-ups. This is an excellent opportunity for you to engage with other HR professionals and Compensation & Benefits specialists as well as corporate mobility experts in order to share best practices, discuss lessons learned and gain new inspiration from one another. Click here for more information about the Smart Mobility Conference. Participation is free.
Embedding mobility in your compensation and benefits programme will ensure all-employee inclusion and satisfaction whilst supporting HR’s contribution to the overall business goals – not only in terms of corporate social responsibility and sustainability, but also financially through talent retention. The key to ensuring maximum effect, however, is ‘smart mobility’: solutions that are tailored to employees’ individual needs while remaining in line with market practices. Hence, in order to achieve a successful mobility transformation within your company and create real change among your employees, you need to develop a multi-modal and flexible policy that allows them to choose from a variety of options. A benefits package that optimally meets employees’ needs will stimulate better performance, motivate them to stay and will make them more accountable.
i The term millennials generally refers to the generation of people born between the early 1980s and 1990s, also called Generation Y
ii Multimodal mobility is defined as a mobility behaviour that is characterised by flexible usage and a combination of different transport modes according to the situation and to the available transport means
iii Ride-hailing is when a rider ‘hails’ or hires a personal driver to take them exactly where they need to go. The transportation vehicle is not shared with any other riders, nor does it make multiple stops along a route