Surveys show that commuter benefits can make a big difference in finding and keeping top talent. The Bay Area job market is highly competitive when it comes to attracting both skilled and hourly labor. Hacienda companies and organizations have a hiring edge in that regard. Year after year, Hacienda has qualified as a Best Workplace for Commuters site. Because of that designation, individual Hacienda tenants can easily qualify as well and market their commuter-friendly resources to potential and existing employees and to the larger world.
The deadline to apply for 2020 is November 30, 2019. The yearly membership fee for employers located in a Best Site such as Hacienda is $115. That is a 50% discount on the fee for a regular membership. The online application is easy, because tenants benefit from the many years of work Hacienda has put into its award-winning commuter program.
"Being designated as one of the Best Workplaces for Commuters is more than just a title; it means an employer is standing behind its commitment to provide employees with access to progressive commuter programs, like discounted transit passes, bicycle-friendly amenities, and rideshare solutions," says Julie Bond, Program Manager for Best Workplaces for Commuters. "Making such a commitment has its perks. Besides being a leader in the nation's evolving transportation landscape, these employers are better able to recruit and retain talent, save on overhead costs, and be more environmentally sustainable."
Best Workplaces for Commuters is an innovative membership program that provides qualified employers with national recognition and an elite designation for offering outstanding commuter benefits, such as free or low cost bus passes and vanpool fares and strong telework programs. Employers that meet the National Standard of Excellence in commuter benefits - a standard created by the National Center for Transit Research (NCTR) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - can get on the list of Best Workplaces for Commuters and receive high level programs and services. NCTR is funded by US Department of Transportation.
The nonprofit Coalition for Smarter Transportation uses the metric of "drive-alone rates" when discussing how employee transportation benefits can benefit employers. The benefits from reducing drive-alone rates among commuting employees include potential gains in productivity as well as in recruiting, according to Jason Pavluchuk, Policy Director. Despite the upside, many HR departments, transportation departments, and business executives seem unaware of the value of having a robust set of commuter benefits.
Those who work at Hacienda or may be considering employment here have many commuting options, but not all of them realize the breadth of what is available. That can be a problem. A long commute was the top reason why hourly job seekers rejected job offers via on-demand staffing platform BlueCrew. Commute conditions were more important to these job seekers than pay or inflexible work schedules, according to industry newsletter HR Dive. In 2017, a survey of 7,500 employees by a different company found that a stressful commute was the second-most important factor in determining employee engagement.
"Commuting makes a big impact on productivity during the day," notes Bond. "If you sit in a car for an hour, it is going to make a difference on how your work performance is and how you feel when you get there."
Hacienda's status as a Best Workplaces for Commuters site means that any of the park's nearly 700 businesses can apply for a Best Workplaces for Commuters Employer designation as well. Companies that become a designated Best Workplace for Commuters receive a host of benefits. Employers meeting the Standard of Excellence should be able to better attract and retain employees, recruit the best employees, reduce turnover, increase worker productivity, and help employees arrive at work relaxed and on time, according to Bond. But many employers do not take advantage of this program.
At Hacienda, the Best Workplaces for Commuters program affords employers an easy way to be recognized for helping their business, their employees, and the environment. Simply by applying for this designation and educating employees about existing Hacienda commuter benefits, companies can help reduce the rate of drive-alone commuting and enjoy tax and cost savings. Encouraging employees to use Hacienda's existing commuter program helps reduce environmental impacts. It also demonstrates environmental excellence by helping reduce the demand for gasoline, lowering greenhouse gas emissions, and cutting air pollution.
Becoming a recognized Best Workplace for Commuters is one way to exhibit leadership and corporate citizenship, as well as to distinguish an organization as a competitive benefits leader. It can lead to recognition for a particular executive within a company. HR or transportation department executives who apply for the designation on behalf of a company can request an on-site ceremony to acknowledge the company's new status. Those executives sometimes gain the attention and approval of their companies' top leadership as a result.
Executives have good reason to be pleased when a company becomes a recognized Best Workplace for Commuters. Those so designated receive national public recognition for being commuter-friendly and socially responsible. Each January the names of recognized employers are included on a list on the organization's website and an annual press release is disseminated nationally. Employers receive press release templates to use for their own marketing, and a framed certificate documenting their company's elite status and gain exclusive use of the Best Workplaces for Commuters logo for their websites and company materials.
Employers receive free access for one person per worksite to Commuter Choice Certificate Classes, as well as access to web conferences and other training to help implement commuter benefits. The organization offers tools to help calculate the overall financial, environmental, and traffic improvements associated with the company's commuter benefits. There are networking opportunities with peers and experts in the field to exchange ideas and learn new strategies.
Becoming a member of the Best Workplaces for Commuters program and applying for recognition has made a real difference to many organizations, according to Bond. It has helped gain CEO support for commuting benefits. Recognized companies have received positive media attention. As employees have become more aware of their commute options, the use of public transit, vanpooling, and other environmentally friendly transportation choices has increased.
Hacienda offers one of the most comprehensive commuter service programs in the nation. It is easy for business tenants to offer their employees many free and accessible commute resources by simply giving employees access to the award-winning resources Hacienda has already assembled. In addition, doing so allows Hacienda businesses to easily comply with the requirements of the Bay Area Commuter Benefits Program at their Hacienda location. Moreover, Hacienda's national status as a Best Workplace for Commuters allows Hacienda companies a valuable opportunity to promote themselves nationally as commuter-friendly workplaces as well.
For more information about Best Workplaces for Commuters, please visit www.bestworkplaces.org.
The 2020 deadline for the program is November 30, 2019. To apply to become a Best Workplace for Commuters as a Hacienda business, please visit www.bestworkplaces.org/join/bwc-2020-employer-at-best-site.
For more information about Hacienda's commuter benefits, please visit www.hacienda.org/po-sustainability/sustainability-transportation and www.hacienda.org/amenities-employees-residents/commute-solutions.