The bicycle allowance introduction as key moment
“In fact, bicycle leasing for our collaborators was already planned for 2015,” tells Mrs Van Humbeeck, HR Manager at Tarkett’s. “At that time our company was still called Desso and there was a strong collaboration with our Dutch colleagues. Their experience with company bicycles encouraged me for starting up a bicycle leasing initiative in Belgium too. However, structural changes have unfortunately postponed the project.”
Today, the Belgian branch is part of the Tarkett international group with worldwide more than 13,000 collaborators. This makes this manufacturer of floor-covering products one of the key players on the Belgian market.
“The take-over has somewhat slowed down the process, which does not mean that we idled. We had a good contact with o2o and we introduced the bicycle allowance. With the support of o2o we presented ourselves at the “Pendelfonds” for obtaining supplementary subsidies for our bicycle leasing service. This was the first real step towards a cycling policy,” tells Mrs Van Humbeeck.
“For us, the introduction of the bicycle allowance was a key moment. A lot of collaborators all of the sudden came to work by bike. Moreover, the demand for a bicycle leasing system became stronger and stronger: ideas were dropped in the idea box or came via social consultation, etc. The approval coming from the “Pendelfonds” made all the pieces of the puzzle fall nicely in place,” explains Mrs Van Humbeeck.
Bicycle leasing for Tarkett collaborators: the kick-off with o2o
“For us, choosing o2o was the logical choice: good references, the right expertise and a clear way of handling the business. We felt good vibrations. The enthusiastic approach of o2o immediately gave us a trustful feeling, which for us is very important. And I am glad that today I can say that indeed the vibrations felt at that time were the right ones: o2o stands for user friendliness, expertise and peace of mind.”
O2o have organised information sessions for all Tarkett collaborators that were interested. The fiscal aspects and the impact on the salaries were explained very clearly. The importance of a good cycling policy agreement was also discussed in great detail with the unions’ delegates. “These sessions were hardly over or the first bicycle offerings appeared already on the o2o Fleet and HR app. This application is very user friendly and makes the follow-up process a piece of cake. Even at times when our personnel department was understaffed no real problems occurred. A management tool truly without any worry as far as I am concerned.”
“ All regular Tarkett collaborators are entitled to a company bicycle on the condition that they are prepared to do 30% of the home-work distance by bike,” continues Mrs Van Humbeeck. “We have opted for a budget neutral formula giving everyone complete freedom when choosing their bicycle: a normal bike or a speed pedelec, everything is possible. On top of that, and especially for the winter season, we have produced fluorescent vests. With a fleet of more than 50 bicycles, safety must be one of our top priorities,” continues Mrs Van Humbeeck. The classical electric bike is clearly the favourite bike amongst our collaborators, but there are also a couple of speed freaks that are leasing a speed pedelec.”
“The bicycle leasing is a true surplus value for the Tarkett collaborators. I regularly take my electric bike myself to go to work and it is really a nice feeling not having to queue for once. You also can feel the extra energy that people have and everyone feels fitter, there are less cars on the parking lot and taking your bike to return home reduces the stress after a hard day’s work,” says Mrs Van Humbeeck.
“The reactions of our collaborators are heart-warming. With every new bike we get a great smile on top. Many people who else wouldn’t have bought an electric bicycle now take their bike for coming to work. We are aware of the fact that it is not easy for everyone to buy an electric bicycle. But if we, in our nature of employer, can make a difference in this way, it makes us feel good,” adds Mrs Van Humbeeck smilingly.
And the future looks bright at Tarkett’s: a large bicycle stall with loading-posts, new clothing cabins and showers, encouragements for using electric cars, … “We take great effort in creating a safe en comfortable environment for our collaborators,” concludes Mrs Van Humbeeck. “Let’s hope that these efforts contribute to a more sustainable society.”
Read more experiences on the o2o news page in the success stories section.