Employee mobility is the new catchphrase for decision-makers in a sector in which I have worked for more than 30 years. That is not to say it is the end of the road for fleet managers and the company car, although the latter will become more niche.
However, the Government’s lack of taxation clarity around company cars plus the introduction of clean air zones in towns and cities, coupled with uncertainty around other issues impacting on vehicle operations is driving the journey to mobility.
What’s more, mobility features – on-demand transport, car-pooling, car-sharing, smart parking etc. – all sit comfortably with millennials. Unlike the older generation, the company car for that group is not necessarily a ‘favourite benefit’.
Therefore, in this new world of mobility, businesses must focus on the most cost-effective and fit-for-purpose method for employees to move from A to B.
Additionally, as the recent ACFO seminar heard, cost areas relating to fleet and travel – for example, hotel accommodation, meals, car park charges and taxi bills – fall into silos within businesses with no single employee necessarily having a clear overview of the expense.
The emergence of mobility managers means they must have a complete overview of the total cost of a journey from start to finish. Only then can businesses truly understand the price of staff travel and budget accordingly.
The company car will remain part of the mobility solution, but it is critical that businesses – as well as employees –embrace all forms of travel in a world in which the focus is on improving air quality, reducing congestion and moving to an ultra-low emission and electric vehicle future.
Employees, particularly millennials, will increasingly demand a travel benefits package rather than expecting a car to be a major ‘perk’ within their overall remuneration.
Add in the proliferation of fast-emerging technologies that enable access to the most appropriate solution for whatever business journey employees are planning and, not forgetting the ‘connected car’, they should be empowered to make the most applicable choice.
By John Pryor, chairman ACFO