Use Data-Driven Commuter Recognition Programs to Improve Employee Engagement

Woman on bicycle using a commuter rewards program from Pave Commute. Frau auf Rad, die ein Belohnungssystem für Pendler:innen nutzt

When employees have a positive experience, your organization benefits. Given the huge impact transportation-related issues can have on employee engagement, custom-built commuter rewards programs offer a powerful, low-cost way to connect with your team members.

People who are happy with their jobs put in more discretionary effort, leading to higher productivity. They’re also less likely to quit, which helps employers retain top-performing people while reducing their recruitment, hiring, and training costs. 

Employers can use many different strategies for improving the employee experience, but two in particular stand out with respect to commuting. One relates to shared values, and the second focuses on empathy for the transportation-related challenges commuters face.

Drive engagement through shared values

Increasingly, people want to work for employers with a strong sense of social purpose. In 2023, researchers in Europe found that 68% of professionals want to work for organizations that share their personal values. In the United States, 56% of respondents to a 2022 Qualtrics survey said they wouldn’t even consider a job offer from a company with misaligned values.

Next, consider that 67% of Generation Z respondents to a 2021 Pew Research Center poll identified climate change as a top concern. Three years later, Fortune magazine found that 30% of Gen Z employees have quit a job because their employer failed to take action on an issue they felt strongly about.

The takeaway: values matter. Sustainability-focused commuter rewards programs offer a simple yet powerful way to connect with the people who are poised to shape the labor market for decades to come.

Take action to address commute-related pain points

Long, stressful, and costly commutes can sap morale and contribute to a dissatisfying employee experience:

  • Gallup research from 2023 linked commutes of 45-plus minutes to low mood, poorer health, and deficits in overall wellbeing. 
  • In 2024, The Zebra found that 35% of U.S. workers would take a pay cut for a shorter commute, with 89% of those workers willing to sacrifice up to one-fifth of their current salary.
  • A 2024 analysis by Urban Transport magazine found that U.S. commuters spend almost $5,750 per year on commuting costs. That works out to about 10% of the national median salary.

Employers can configure their commuter rewards programs to help solve these challenges. Commuter apps offer excellent support for active transportation modes, which boost mood and improve health. They also connect commuters with convenient, cost-effective alternatives to solo driving, which research has definitively shown to be the most expensive way to get to work.

How to use data to help commuters

Data is rightfully becoming a standard tool businesses use to guide their HR-related decision-making: more than 70% of businesses consider “people analytics” a rising priority, according to Harvard Business Review.

You’ll generate the most authentic results by adopting an internal focus. To that end, analyze HR data and use survey tools to generate insights into your team’s commuting-related values, behaviors, and challenges.

Look at things like:

Commute modes

In general, modes like cycling, car sharing, and ride hailing are growing in popularity. However, it’s best to survey your commuter base to better understand their habits. From there, you can figure out how to configure your commuter rewards program to best serve the modes your people use the most.

For instance, you might find very high rates of solo driving. You could respond by building a carpool or ridesharing program, or by introducing financial rewards for commuters who voluntarily choose to leave their car at home.

Where people live

By analyzing where people live, you can craft responsive solutions and more effective commuter rewards programs. 

As a general strategy, guide people who live close by toward active modes like walking or cycling. Meanwhile, encourage those who live further afield to try ridesharing or public transportation as an alternative to solo driving.

Common challenges

To effectively address the problems your commuters face, you need to understand exactly what those problems are.

For example, commuters may choose to continue driving despite the stress and costs because your work location isn’t well-served by public transportation. A vanpool or shuttle service linking your site to nearby transit hubs could solve that problem.

Along similar lines, employees often face long travel times. Researchers have associated long commutes to lower levels of life satisfaction. You could respond by creating flexible policies for hybrid and remote work, which experts recognize as supporting a better work-life balance.

Make Pave Commute your commuter rewards program partner

Smart, data-driven human capital investments can generate huge returns for organizations, and the daily commute is a prime target. By prioritizing sustainability and making life easier for commuters, organizations can build the kind of positive, rewarding, and responsive workplace that inspires people.

Pave Commute has won extensive acclaim from both transportation and human resources industry experts and clients: the award-winning app has generated rave reviews from users, with 97% saying it’s helped them adopt more sustainable habits and 63% saying they’ve seen a more collaborative workplace culture develop since adopting it.

Pave Commute offers a full suite of tools for building a powerful, engaging, and impactful commuter rewards program. You can get started by trying Pave Commute free for 30 days.

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Lisa Oberstaller
Marketing Manager
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