23 sep 22

The importance of flexibility for the employee experience, now and in the future

More younger employees (89% of those aged 18-34 and 84% in the 35-44 age group) prefer flexible benefits or perks such as mobility over pay raises than older generations of employees (70% of those aged 45-54 and 66% of those in the 55-64 age group).

According to Daniela Almeida, Employee Benefits Team Lead at Free Now for Business, Generation Z employees will make up 27% of the workforce by 2025: “Gen Z creates an entirely new mobility culture and we, as their employers and mobility providers, need to adopt,” she said. This was one of the main messages from our latest Smart Mobility Institute webinar on 15 September, during which four thought leaders shared their insights on ‘Multimodal mobility solutions – Gen Z wants options’. 

Gen Zapping

Aurelien Cottet, Mobility as a Service Expert and International Sales Director at Instant Systems, referred to Generation Z as the ‘Gen Zapping’ generation. As truly digital natives, having been born in the era of smartphones and hyperconnectivity, they want everything right away. “Gen Z is the perfect intermodal generation: taking an electric scooter to a mobility hub, then taking a bus, train or subway instead of connecting using the same mode of transport. They expect to work at companies where they can find flexible mobility options within a five-minute walk or that are accessible by their own bike or e-scooter with secured parking.”

‘Hop on and off’ solutions

One thing that shone through during this SMI session was that, besides looking for flexibility and sustainability, Gen Z is also cost conscious. In many cases, the attitude seems to be ‘If I don’t need 365 days of mobility, why should I pay for it?’. Kristof Hecht, Senior Executive Manager Global Innovations and Solutions at Sixt, explained that ‘hop on and off’ solutions for multimodal mobility make it possible for employees to pay only for what is needed. Furthermore, they are: easy to use, fun, flexible and sustainable.

The world of mobility is changing.
Source: Sixt

The mobility budget is an excellent tool providing flexible options

All this means that companies should focus on benefit portfolios that are really inclusive and that the majority of people will use, commented Daniela Almeida. A mobility budget – which is a monthly allowance companies give employees to contribute to their commute and private travel, typically supported by a digital interface for planning, booking and paying for all mobility options – can provide the solution.

The various mobility options that can be used through a mobility budget.
Source: Free Now for Business

People-centricity is key

Taking this a step further into real practice. Vivienne Bonebakker, HR Lead at BearingPoint explained the importance that employees want to be understood, empowered, provided with growth, rewarded, cared for, inspired and have a shared purpose. That’s why she and her team have developed a People Centricity programme based on the work-life interests of specific target groups. The implementation of this Mobility Concept incentivises sustainable travel by creating multiple benefits for the employee, including the possibility to: 

  • Take out (multiple) subscriptions with a train business card
  • Rent an e-scooter rent in cities
  • Lease a bike or e-bike
  • Rent a bike or e-bike for flexible periods.

Professional tips for getting started 

At the end of the Smart Mobility Institute session on 15 September, the experts from the field provided three tips for getting started:

  • Ensure you know who is going to use the mobility options and listen to those employees. Don’t ignore their opinions.
  • Start with a variety of small-scale pilots. However, keep them simple and don’t overcomplicate with management requirements.
  • Embed all the important parameters, such as cost, environmental impact and ease of use, to ensure employee satisfaction.

The Smart Mobility Institute would like to thank Sixt and Free Now for Business for making this session possible.

Authored by: Saskia Harreman