Flexible working calls for flexible mobility
According to research in the Netherlands, almost 40% of organisations are keen to work with a modern mobility policy that addresses all employees’ needs. Some organisations already provide lease drivers with a public transport card too.
In many cases, however, organisations simply don’t know where to start. After all, transitioning to a comprehensive mobility policy can be a complex and time-consuming process, not to mention the challenge of gaining employee acceptance. This article guides you through a step-by-step approach based on the latest insights into current and future requirements.
Why create a mobility policy?
In the past, it used to be fairly simple: depending on the nature of their role and their position within the organisation, employees either got a company car, a travel allowance, a public transport card or nothing at all. But times change. Today, companies are environmentally aware and actively striving to reduce carbon emissions through a combination of fleet electrification and influencing employee behaviour (e.g. by encouraging eco-friendly driving, home-working and remote meetings). In parallel, the rise in flexible working means that a lease car is not always the optimal solution. A mobility policy (or ‘mobility budget’) enables companies to offer employees a combination of transport options to suit their needs.
Flexible transport solutions lead to more conscious mobility behaviour
Transitioning from a car policy to a mobility policy has many benefits for employers and employees alike. Flexible transport solutions stimulate a shift in travel behaviour and a more conscious approach to commuting and business travel. A successful mobility policy also contributes to societal benefits, such as less congestion, fewer accidents and less traffic pollution. So why is it so difficult for organisations to make the transition?
The perceived benefits of a mobility policy
According to the organisations that participated in the 2019 national survey on corporate lease in the Netherlands 2019 :
- 39% want to get started with a mobility policy
- 47% of them consider the environmental impact to be an important advantage of a mobility policy
- 47% believe that flexible transport solutions are an important employment benefit
- 48% want to achieve cost savings through the mobility policy
- 36% want to achieve greater uniformity across employees
- 31% want to improve road safety
Obstacles to the introduction of a mobility policy
Transitioning to a mobility policy suitable for each employee can be a complex and time-consuming process involving analysing the current situation, determining mobility options and budgets, monitoring those budgets and so on. That requires a lot of knowledge and administrative effort internally. Moreover, very few countries have tax incentives promoting alternative mobility programmes. Employers prefer not to incur additional costs, and any initiatives to encourage employees to contribute towards some of the costs are likely to be met with resistance. A step-by-step approach can help to overcome these obstacles.
5 steps to a modern mobility policy
These five steps will significantly increase your chances of success when transitioning to a mobility policy:
1. Determine the objectives and analyse the needs
Clear goals are important to make the right mobility choices. What are the main objectives of your mobility policy? Are you motivated by environmental benefits or cost savings? Do all stakeholders agree? Is there sufficient in-house expertise? How can you align the objectives with your organisational strategy and your employees’ mobility needs? Reminder: make sure that the mobility policy does not negatively affect your core business. There is no point in reducing business travel to save costs if it will limit your commercial activities too. And bear in mind that the mobility needs may have changed in the face of economic uncertainty and the possibility of further coronavirus-related lockdowns.
2. Gain insight into the current costs per employee group.
Analyse your employees’ current mobility needs and classify them according to regular business travel/occasional business travel/commuting/private use. These insights will help you to assess the costs, travel time and CO2 emissions per group and identify where the greatest gains can be made.
3. Choose appropriate mobility solutions.
Once the objectives and target groups are clear, choose solutions that optimally address the needs: e.g. public transport for city-centre appointments, e-bikes for short distances and pool cars for occasional trips. Anticipate possible employee resistance by considering and mitigating the impact on employees themselves. Set targets based on the previous steps: what will be the expected mileage decrease/cost saving/CO2 reduction? And how will that be measured and monitored?
4. Calculate the mobility budgets
Based on the anticipated mobility needs, set the mobility budget per employee/role/level/employee group. It can be difficult to translate the costs into budgets, especially for the first time. The specialists from LeasePlan Consultancy Services can help if necessary.
5. Formalise the mobility policy
Outline and explain the strategic objectives and provide details of the mobility solutions and budgets per employee/role/level/employee group in a mobility policy document. Ensure that the necessary administrative support for the new policy is in place internally. Evaluate the policy document regularly and adjust it whenever necessary.
Maximise the benefits of a mobility policy
Following the five steps above will help you to successfully introduce a mobility policy and maximise the benefits for your organisation, your employees and society alike. While most governments still provide little if any tax support for mobility budgets, mobility policies can be a good way for organisations to manage their mobility costs while also supporting their sustainability goals and boosting employee satisfaction. The key to success lies in gaining clear insight into the current situation regarding the time and costs associated with business use/commuting/private use as well as CO2 emissions. Based on those insights, it is important to then align the mobility policy with your organisation’s strategic objectives. Additionally, you should ensure that the necessary administrative support processes are in place. By meeting today’s employees’ needs for flexibility, freedom of choice and convenience, a modern mobility policy can support the ongoing shift towards a more sustainable future for society as a whole.