Encouraging alternative transportation in your community is a high priority for bicycle retailers. How about starting with your own employees? This has many benefits:
(1) Helps your staff become aware of the day-to-day realities of riding in your city. This allows them to relate better to the customers and understand the commuting gear you sell.
(2) “Walk the walk, not just talk the talk.” An incentive program sets an example for other small businesses and gives them a plan to emulate. It also lets your employees know you’re serious about reducing congestion and pollution.
(3) An opportunity for media exposure. Write up a press release about your program and distribute it to the local media (especially the ones in which you advertise).
(4) Fitter, healthier employees. You may even qualify for a discount on your health insurance.
(5) More parking spaces for your customers!
Over two years ago, Ali Bennett (pictured above), who manages the REI store in
What are the actual incentives you give the employees? “We have a monthly drawing for those who ride or bus a specific number of days that month. One drawing is for part-time and one for full-time employees,” Bennett said. “Incentives vary from month to month, it could be a half-day off with pay coupon, additional percentage off of products, or free swag. We also pay half the cost of a bus pass.”
How have the staff responded? “It’s been great!,” concluded Bennett. “They love it, and our employee bike racks overflow year round .They especially like the half-day off coupon, and we have a number of employees that take advantage of the transit pass reimbursement.”