Employer speaks

From car fanatics to bicycle fans: UnitedConsumers

Published on October 5, 2023

How do you get even the most inveterate driver onto a bike? With the right employment conditions! This also benefits your organization a lot. Marjolein Bekkers, HRM Manager at UnitedConsumers, talks about it.

UnitedConsumers is a nationally operating company. The consumer collective purchases items such as energy, insurance and mobile telephony in bulk and passes on the discounts they receive to customers. HR Manager Marjolein Bekkers has been proudly contributing to the success of her employer for thirteen years. From the start in 2000, it grew to 150 employees.

Encourage different travel behavior

“Our ambitions do not stop there,” Marjolein emphasizes. 'So we invest a lot in retaining and recruiting colleagues. We have set ourselves an additional challenge in the tight labor market. We mainly recruit people who live near our only location opposite Eindhoven Airport. We know from experience that sooner or later you will suffer if you have to travel a long time to work. We don't wish that on anyone. And we are always looking for long-term cooperation with our employees. Choosing local employees makes it easier to encourage them to adopt different travel behaviour. We started working on that a year ago.'

Three reasons for cycling incentives

The aim was first and foremost to promote vitality. 'We have office work, so it is super important to exercise as much as possible. We already motivated colleagues to walk at lunchtime, but we also saw many opportunities in cycling to work. The second reason for promoting this is that as an organization we want to contribute to a better climate. This includes making our people aware of how important it is to regularly leave the car at home. That is possible in this area, the cycling infrastructure is good. The third reason for cycling stimulation is parking pressure. We still have space, but not infinitely. More cyclists saves parking spaces.'

Earn money with cycling

Marjolein decided to implement targeted actions. 'We carried out the Brainport Bereikbaar mobility scan and discovered many opportunities. For example, quite a few people who live within 10 kilometers of our building came by car. They do not receive compensation for commuting, which only applies to us from 10 kilometers. We decided to go one step further and make cycling more rewarding. In our new scheme, colleagues now also receive compensation for commuting under 10 kilometers, but only if they come by bike. This way, pushing the pedals yields financial benefits. We have a super handy system for administrative processing. Anyone who starts their PC receives a message with 'Good morning, how are you here today?' The answer is registered and settled.'

Contribution for new bicycle

UnitedConsumers introduced another great new employment condition. 'Anyone who agrees with us to cycle to the office for a certain number of days for three years will receive a contribution for a new bicycle. This can amount to €2,000. After those three years you can participate in the scheme again. Finally, we provided good facilities: there is now a good bicycle shed here where you can safely store your bicycle. All in all, these actions indeed cost money, but they yield a lot for our organization.'

Cycling is good for everyone

Even some die-hard drivers now cycle to the office. 'We introduced the new conditions with a kick-off campaign focused on vitality. It was very well received and it really came to life among our colleagues. So good in fact that almost 50% of colleagues now regularly cycle to work. I also notice that it helps with the recruitment of new colleagues. People increasingly want to contribute to a better environment, and our schemes provide that extra push. It also benefits colleagues a lot. Better fitness and savings. Maybe even leave a car at home. In other words: cycling is good on so many levels. And we are now really contributing to that.'


Photo Copyright UnitedConsumers

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