1 nov 22

“Smart mobility needs an organisation-wide cultural shift”

Making the switch from a defined company car policy to corporate mobility must be handled with care and forethought to avoid disruption and employee dissatisfaction. But it’s also a switch that must be made if businesses and organisations are to meet environmental and sustainability goals.

Saskia Harreman understands the subject of smart mobility well, she’s made a career out of it. Saskia is a corporate mobility expert and runs a boutique consultancy Mobility Switch advising and supporting HR professionals, fleet and mobility managers, through the transition to smart and sustainable mobility. She’s also a valued expert member of Fleet Europe’s editorial team.

Given that the next SMI (Smart Mobility Institute) seminar takes place at the Fleet Europe Summit, 16-17 November, Dublin, Ireland, we caught up with Saskia to get some insights into how companies should handle the transition and what they can look forward to at the event.

Who are you, what is your role, why are you involved in smart mobility, what is your key motto?

I’m a corporate mobility expert and owner of a small boutique consultancy firm. In my daily life, I'm supporting HR professionals, fleet and mobility managers in the transition from fleet to smart and sustainable mobility. I’m also happy to be the ambassador of the Smart Mobility Institute.

The Smart Mobility Institute (SMI) is a cross-functional networking group for companies that are on a smart corporate mobility journey and are keen to explore new possibilities, benchmark their current mobility approach and inspire each other with real-life best practices.

I love and always have loved multi-modal forms of mobility; I also love researching and helping others improve and reach their goals. Being part of the SMI allows me to explore relevant topics and share the findings with participants. This helps them to increase their knowledge and value and to stay up to date on the latest developments and best practices in intelligent corporate mobility.

My motto: “Change is about turning words into deeds”.

What do you advise organisations starting with smart and alternative mobility?

Transitioning from a fleet to an alternative, sustainable and inclusive-to-all mobility programme can seem like an overwhelming challenge. It’s no longer just about choosing a different vehicle for the next leasing term. Instead, this transition is about achieving an organisation-wide cultural shift towards a flexible mindset and climate-driven action regarding when and how to travel to, from and for work. This concerns all employees: senior management, those entitled to a company car and commuters alike.

I would recommend making a step forward by:

  1. Look at your company’s broader strategy since that should play a crucial role in setting the direction for your new mobility programme. Prepare an outline of how the new corporate mobility programme fits in with the business objective as a whole: the ‘what’, ‘why’ and ‘how’.
  2. Consulting the business to identify objectives and define the purpose of mobility across the whole organisation.
  3. Build a clear picture of the desired mobility solutions. What kind of corporate mobility solutions are you providing to whom? Write or draw your visionary ideas. Take some paper and coloured pencils and half an hour or your time and think about the following:

What kind of mobility do we need in 2/5/10 years for each employee group?

  • How will it facilitate our business continuation?
  • How will it make our employees’ lives easier?
  • How will it contribute to zero-impact mobility?

Stick your ideas on a wall; hence you come across them regularly.

What do you advise the next generation of mobility managers?

Understand what the pacesetters are doing and what makes them successful. This helps you identify gaps and paint a clear picture of the desired outlook for senior management. Meanwhile, taking a broader view of the market opportunities and possibilities stimulates your creativity and forward thinking.

What do you advise your younger self?

Believe in your vision, stay focused and don’t give in or up. You will come across many stakeholders and influencers with different opinions and say it's not fit for their situation. Not now, or the organisation you work for has other priorities. If things seem overwhelming, break things into smaller steps.

What are your daily mantras?

I'm going to do it differently now. And I'm going to do it.

Image: Saskia Harreman

Authored by: Alison Pittaway