Hannah Uttley looks at key examples of how employers have increased exposure and take-up of cycle to work schemes.
Taking into account when this particular benefit is offered during the year can also have noticeable impact on take-up rates, with some cyclists likely to be less enthusiastic to cycle to work through torrential rain and icy conditions.
Friends Life decided to take suggestions on board from its employees to offer a second window through its flexible benefits programme during the summer, and in doing so saw an additional 35 employees take up the benefit.
"When we first launched flex there were 54 people that had taken up the benefit and then when they went through the renewal process in January there were a further 35 that took it up," reward consultant Susan Bryan says.
"We also took on board some suggestions from people that having an annual window in November wasn't the time for them that they liked to go out cycling so they would have liked to see an extra enrolment opportunity throughout the year. So for the first time we opened the flex system in June for people to make a mid-year cycle to work selection and we had another 35 people select it effective from the 1st of July which was great - mirroring what we'd already had at the annual enrolment window."
As with charity cycle rides and Cycle to Work Days, using employees to promote the scheme through word of mouth and demonstrating the advantages of the benefits creates a more personal and credible point of reference.
Friends Life took this approach by creating communication material that featured stories from their employees which was pinned up around various offices.
"When we opened our additional window in June this year to communicate the benefit we used images of Friends Life colleagues and stories from them. So with the cycle group here in Bristol we had a photoshoot and we thought it would be a great opportunity to say actually instead of being an anonymous benefit, to say to your colleagues you are using this and you're really benefiting from it for various reasons; health and wellbeing or cutting their commute," Bryan continues.
"Then we had an article in our Friends Talk magazine which is a printed publication for the workforce as well. We're conscious that our flex scheme is relatively new and we're trying to expand it year on year with any benefits that people will consider to be valuable.
"But at the same time we're trying to find ways of communicating with people and engage with them on benefits that they could find useful," she concludes.
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