The company car is a commodity. The company car is a benefit.
How you like this depends on your background and on your priorities. The CFO and the C&B Manager will beg to differ on these two definitions or, at best, to have sightly different approaches on fleet management.
Truth is the right management of a diverse fleet is a fine balancing act between stakeholders. Do not forget to get into the mix purchasing, legal, compliance, sometimes operations, the management and of course – the driver. If the driver is a talent for the company, then the driver is the asset you need to take care of. Everybody wants to keep a valuable asset. From this point of view, the company car needs to be a good experience for the driver. The user-chooser car policies are based on this principle.
For the driver, the car represents a status. Beyond being a simple benefit, the company car is an emotional extension that connects the employee to the company in front of others through its features, its design and its reputation. This is the reason the company car is an important C&B tool.
On the other hand, it’s important that drivers treat their cars with the same respect as they would their own – otherwise this could cost the employer significantly at the end of the car’s life. End-of-term contracts often include terms that people see differently, such as ‘ unfair wear-and-tear,’ and sometimes companies can be hit with higher fees based on a provider’s definition. Employees should be informed what the terms mean for them and their use of the vehicle.
The privilege of having a company car means a great deal of responsibility for the driver. Unlawful driver behavior during business hours first becomes an HR burning issue. The challenge for HR however, is to understand how to manage fleet driving behavior and to implement the correct processes. Sometimes, some HR staff may be not skilled enough in fleet management, but are burdened with aspects of its organisation. This is where a good fleet management team can sort thing out.
The right mix of finance and HR within the fleet management is vital. In fact, for finance the car is one of those assets that never provide enough savings while for C&B the car is part of the complex formula of employee engagement x employer branding x driver satisfaction.