Green Incentives for EmployeesJohn Carey
Looking for help in buying a new Prius, solar panels, or energy-sipping lightbulbs? You’re in luck if you work for NRG Systems in Hinesburg, VT. The company, which sells wind assessment systems, offers its employees up to $2300 per year for buying hybrid vehicles, installing renewable energy systems, or making their homes more efficient. It seems to pay off for the company. The employee retention rate in 2006 was 98.3%, and the company was named one of the Top Small Workplaces in 2007.
Providing ‘green’ incentives to employees is a growing trend, writes
consultant Dawn Dzurilla (http://www.renewableenergyaccess.com/rea/news/story;jsessionid=D065838759E2C127A6F9C6B4030AC8A7?id=51032). Among the companies she mentions are Green Mountain Energy in Austin, TX; Minnesota's Xcel Energy, and altPower in New York City. The green perks they offer include free public transportation, 401K options that include socially responsible investment funds, and cash bonuses for helping others become more energy efficient.
Is this a trend that could spread from these mainly 'green' companies to business in general? That's not clear yet. But just making a company greener can improve employee's morale. That's what Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott discovered when he vowed to slash the retail giant's electricity use (and switch to renewable power), cut waste, and sell more environmentally friendly products. The boost in morale alone from workers feeling better about the company is worth the costs of the plan, Scott has said.