Nearly a third of HR pros in a recent survey reported knowing at least one employee who quit in the past year because the high price of gas made the commute too expensive. Some organizations are addressing the driving dilemma—and revving up their retention programs—by pushing telework and shorter workweeks.
But other employers take an even more direct approach: paying for employees’ gas.
Keep your commuters by offering some incentives to offset the pain at the pump. Here are 10 ideas:
1. Launch a four-day workweek. Example: Most of the 120 employees at Hilton Head, S.C.-based Community Services Associates switched to four 10-hour days for the summer so they wouldn’t have to drive to work as often. Bonus: Longer workdays allow the office to stay open later to serve residents in the community the organization manages.
2. Push public transportation. Your organization can deduct the cost of buying transit passes for your employees. Plus, you can skip paying federal payroll taxes on transit commuter benefits, a savings that could cover the cost of administering the program.
3. Talk up telework. Example: Georgia legislators told state employees to work from home one day a week.
4. “Buy down” the price of gas. Example: Racing USA, an online seller of NASCAR merchandise based in Birmingham, Ala., guarantees its employees won’t have to pay more than $2.85 a gallon for the gas they use to commute. The company pays the difference.
5. Let employees “win” gas. Example: Each week since June 2, employees of Durham, N.C., advertising agency S&R Communications Group have won a $50 gas card in a drawing. President Paul Dreyer says he will continue the drawings, which will cost $7,000 through the end of the year, “as long as business conditions permit.” Some employees have taken their names out of the running so more needy colleagues have a better chance to win.
6. Pay more per mile. A Society for Human Resource survey says 42% of employers so far this year raised mileage reimbursement to the IRS cap. Last year, just 17% met the cap. (The IRS increased the allowable reimbursement rate to 58.5 cents per mile on July 1.)
7. Organize employee car pools. Give priority parking spaces to those who share rides.
8. Help new hires find housing close to the office.
9. Trade gas money for publicity. Example: Employment site Jobing.com pays employees an extra $500 a month plus 100% of their fuel costs—for commuting and personal trips—if they outfit their personal cars with billboards for the Phoenix-based company. More than 60% of the firm’s 270 employees participate.
10. Raise compensation to mitigate gas expenses. A Robert Half International survey reveals about 4% of organizations already have.
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