More than ever, organizations worldwide are seeking to improve employee commutes and transportation with flexible and sustainable options – not only to bring employees back to the office, but to boost employee satisfaction and retention and gain a competitive edge in recruiting new talent.

The HR team at Bank Degroof Petercam gladly accepted that challenge and raised it, aiming not only to alleviate commuting-associated stress but also to streamline HR processes while incentivizing sustainable transportation alternatives. 

Overhauling Employee Transportation Benefits

With offices in major cities across Belgium and over a thousand employees grappling with a daily commute, Degroof Petercam realized that the bank’s employee transportation benefits needed a significant overhaul. Employees had to choose one mobility plan from limited options and commit to it for four years. The application process was also cumbersome, miring employees and HR staff in time-consuming, manual tasks.

Better Together: Customer Conversations with Bank Degroof Petercam

Degroof Petercam needed an intuitive, flexible application to maximize employee benefits and meet their commuting preferences while encouraging sustainable commuting and minimizing administrative headaches. The bank reached out to Flexso, whose deep HR business expertise and extensive experience with SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP) made it the perfect partner.

Guy Spitaels, head of HR Service Center, Payroll & Systems, explained: “We started from a blank page, so it was really important to have a sounding board, and Flexso challenged us in each phase of the project…They really played a critical role.” As for the development process, Bert Van Bree, solution architect at Flexso Digital, said, “I think our approach can be summarized as start with design thinking and then scale with architecture thinking” while remembering that “the application must really empower the employee.”

Meeting the Personal Needs of Employees While Helping the Planet

Flexso’s human-centric approach, combined with the power of SAP BTP, resulted in a new mobility app perfectly tailored for the employees and the business. The user-friendly app gives employees the flexibility to spend their yearly commuting budget on an array of options – public transportation, leasing a traditional or electric bike, leasing a gas-powered, hybrid, or electric car, or any combination of the above.

For example, an employee might choose to drive on days when they are dropping a child off at school or heading straight to the gym after work and then take public transportation at other times. The app allows users to simulate infinite combinations of different transportation scenarios to create their ideal commute. Degroof Petercam employees value “the transparency and the flexibility of our tool,” Kira Zouboff, HR business analyst, said, and the simulations allow them to “play in the tool. They discover all of its features while they are making their own choices, meeting their personal needs.”

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To reduce the bank’s overall carbon footprint, the new app awards employees a “green bonus” when they choose more sustainable options, a benefit that has increased Degroof Petercam employees’ sustainable commutes by 50%. “We can incentivize the reduction of our carbon footprint while offering a very flexible solution, and the fact that the tool is consolidating all of the data helps us report on long-term sustainability solutions in line with all of the initiatives that are led by our group sustainability manager,” Zouboff explained.

Efficiency Improvements for HR

As for the HR team, the new mobility app automatically assigns each employee’s transportation budget and provides a real-time view of employee choices and requests through the user-friendly administrative platform. After the app’s rollout, Degroof Petercam saw a 75% improvement in efficiency around the administration of mobility benefits.

The mobility app is also a powerful recruitment tool for like-minded top talent. “I think our large and flexible mobility offer is absolutely an asset in the war for talent,” Spitaels said.

The Full Episode

The guests from Degroof Petercam – Spitaels, Zouboff, and Van Bree – joined Better Together: Customer Conversations on SAP Business Technology Platform, to discuss the origins and implementation of the app:

  • Thought Leadership Podcast: Spitaels, Zouboff, and Van Bree shared insights behind Degroof Petercam’s inspiring move to offer sustainable transportation alternatives as a benefit to its employees in an easy-to-use mobility app.
  • Practitioners’ Video: Spitaels, Zouboff, and Van Bree continued the conversation and dug deeper into how real-time integrations with mobility providers and an intuitive app interface came together to help employees better understand the impact of their transportation choices.

Empowering Employees by Focusing on Their Well-Being

A recent Harvard Business Review article argues that a daily commute is an important ritual that can increase employee well-being and job satisfaction. At Degroof Petercam, current and future employees are empowered to create a daily routine that works for them – walking, biking, driving, public transporting, or carpooling to a perfect day.

Interested in more stories that feature companies innovating for people, productivity, and the planet? Check out:

  • Engaging Employees to Reduce Environmental Impact and Build a More Sustainable future at FRoSTA: As one of Europe’s leading frozen food brands, FRoSTA is committed to sustainability and environmental protection. The company aims to be a digital champion in the frozen food sector by 2025. Ultimately, FRoSTA’s employees will help bring about this change, reduce the company’s environmental impact, and drive its success.
  • Quickly Deploying a Renewable Business with a Unified Customer Experience at Cepsa: In 2022, Cepsa presented its new strategic plan for 2030, “Positive Motion,” which projects the company’s ambition to be a leader in sustainable mobility, biofuels, and green hydrogen in Spain and Portugal and become a benchmark in the energy transition. Cepsa places customers at the heart of its business and will work with them to help them advance their decarbonization goals.

For the full episode and the on-demand Better Together: Customer Conversations series, visit sap.com/btp.

Timo Elliott is vice president and global innovation advocate at SAP.

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