Benefits and Compensation

Do You Know about Green Benefits?

Does your organization offer “green” benefits? Green benefits are benefits that are environmentally friendly in some way. Employers may want to offer green benefits for several different reasons. First, they may be in alignment with company goals and values. Next, they may be a great way to recruit individuals who value the environment and sustainability. Yet another reason is they could help to bolster the company image.

If your organization is hoping to increase the number of green benefits on offer, here are some examples you could implement:

Help employees to have a greener commute. For example:

  • Offer incentives, discounts, or even direct payments tied to the purchase of greener commuting options, such as bike and accessory reimbursement up to a set amount. Consider partnering with local companies to offer discounts on these items, too. These incentives could also be applied to clothing, shoes, or other gear that allows employees to walk or run to work.
  • Give additional incentives tied to actually using the green commuting option. For example, perhaps have a benefit (such as a voucher or other similar incentive) tied to the number of miles completed commuting by foot or bike.
  • Provide free or discounted public transportation passes if available in your area.
  • Encourage and help to set up carpooling groups. For example, the employer could offer preferred parking spaces to carpooling vehicles. Another option may be to offer free parking for those who carpool, which will be an incentive if most parking in the area is paid parking.
  • Offer incentives to help individuals considering relocation. Incentives may allow even local employees to relocate closer to the workplace to minimize commuting distance. This could take the form of down payment assistance, relocation assistance, covering brokerage fees (up to a set amount), or covering other moving costs, for example.
  • Create a space in the workplace that allows those who commute by bike or on foot to finish preparing for the workday. This might include a locker room with showers, for example.
  • Provide ample space for bicycle parking, and take steps to ensure it is secure, such as locating it in an area that is removed from public access if possible.
  • Allow telecommuting either full or part time for any role where it is viable.

Help employees have a smaller environmental footprint outside of work:

  • If available in your area, consider giving employees a paid membership to car-sharing organizations, which could reduce the need to have individual vehicles.
  • Consider offering incentives for employees to improve efficiency of their personal vehicles. For example, consider offering discounts to local shops that will assist with things like tire rotation, tire air pressure check, changing tires to nitrogen fill, or any other maintenance that can improve vehicle efficiency.

Have ways for employees to make a positive impact on the environment:

  • Sponsor a community garden at the worksite, and allow employees to tend it during work hours.
  • Support (and consider providing discounts to) local businesses that have sustainability initiatives that align with your organizational goals.
  • Provide free training or information on other ways employees can have an impact outside of work.
  • Offer an extra week of paid time off (PTO) to be used specifically for activities that have a positive social, environmental, or community impact. This could also be offered as a contest in which the winner gets the extra PTO time to use in a predetermined way (set up by the company).
  • Offer discounts or vouchers to buy things like LED lights for the home, solar panels, energy-efficient appliances, personal wind turbines, or other sustainable home upgrades.

What other green benefit ideas have you implemented?