Eneco Group aims to make sustainable energy accessible to all.
This strategy requires a mobility policy based on the same principle, says terms of employment expert Bianca van den Bosch. She explains why the policy contains both measures to discourage and encourage employees.
OV Vrij subscription
Eneco encourages its employees to travel with public transport. Since April 2016, employees who use public transport for their commute have been given a OV Vrij subscription that they can use for both business and personal travel. 'They're getting a better deal than strictly necessary, but it does make travelling with public transport more appealing', says Bianca van den Bosch.
The carrot, a 6-month subscription for public transport, was soon followed by the stick: a drop in commuting allowance. In addition, Eneco implemented a restrictive parking policy. Van den Bosch has not yet seen detailed analyses of the response, but she is sure that the active mobility policy drove more employees to travel with public transport, even though her initial expectations were not met. 'We would love to only use positive measures, but we have found that discouraging works. Despite the initial resistance, it does get more people to make a change.'
Explain your choices
On Eneco's intranet, the public transport subscriptions received a mixed response. The reduction of the commuting allowance prompted messages like 'public transport subscriptions aren't a good solution for everyone.' Van den Bosch: 'Employees tend to take it for granted that their employers facilitate and reimburse them in all sorts of matters, but we want to give them some responsibility as well. Employees get to make your own choices, and the employer decides what to spend its money on. All you have to do is explain your choices.'
The power of peer pressure
According to Van den Bosch, status is a key part of mobility. Rolling up in your lease car is simply more impressive than cycling to the station or catching the bus. Besides, cars offer freedom: they can take you from A to B whenever you want. 'This will be difficult to change,' she suspects, 'but role models can help make the difference. Peer pressure can weaken counter arguments and help break habits, which we support with active policy: lease car drivers are given an NS Business Card to encourage them to travel with public transport.'
Practice what you preach
Van den Bosch: 'Shortly put: our vision is for most employees to travel with public transport by 2020 and for all our company cars to be electric. On top of that, we will cease including lease cars in employees' terms of employment and all necessary company cars will be shared. Our mobility policy isn't necessarily perk-based: the main goal is that it fits in with Eneco's image as a sustainable employer, which means that credibility comes first. If we tell our customers that we're a sustainable energy company, we also have to practice what we preach. This policy demonstrates clearly that we take sustainability seriously, even when it comes to mobility.'