Most of us are on the verge of applying for jobs in order to take the next step in adult life: the working kind. Now imagine that for whatever reason you do not have a driver’s license, or maybe even more important: you do not have a car. You will happily start off taking the train to work, or try to find a coworker living near you own home to be able to carpool to the office. But I bet you dollars to donuts that you will get fed up with that hassle sooner or later. The train will probably be late more often than it arrives on time and carpooling to work will become synonym to not being able to leave home or the office whenever you want. And then? What other options are out there?
Some of you will think directly of one of the biggest hypes of this moment: Uber. Or Lyft and BlaBlaCar, the ridesharing applications. But do you really want to pay a whole drive by yourself, or catch a ride with random strangers when you are going to work? I guess not.
Thankfully, there is a new ridesharing platform on its way, specifically catering to the needs of professionals with a daily commute to work. At first glance this new platform, SPLT, seems nearly identical to BlaBlaCar. You create an account, select your destination and the times you would want to depart and SPLT searches for fellow SPLT’ers. You can choose with which match you want to ride and are charged upon the completion of the trip. It sounds ideal: you get to ride with nice people with which you can have a comfortable chat driving up to the office.
But next to the holy trinity of increasing customer value (save money, time and effort) SPLT offers two additional two-way value streams: employee connectedness and environmental friendliness (Harris & Branninck, 1999; Berens & van Riel, 2004). Because a SPLT’er can add its employer to his or her account, it creates an opportunity for employees to get to know each other and strengthen the employee community of the firm. In addition, connecting this environmentally friendly platform to your company also results in a more positive corporate image (Berens & van Riel, 2004). Reduced corporate carbon footprint, lower CO2 emissions and reduced traffic congestions are great actions to be proud of.
This is also the reason why corporate executives really like the idea of this platform. Next to being able to keeping a good name for actively reducing emissions, happier and more connected employees raise the value of the whole company. Or as Steve Baker, IT Strategy & Innovation at DTE Energy puts it: “The SPLT platform enables our employees to get to know one another and be together for a convenient commute, and to save money, reduce emissions, and lighten traffic along the way.” And not only employers see a future in the SPLT platform, employees also admit that they like the idea behind the platform: “SPLT changed my commute. Carpooling used to be a hassle. Now I push a few buttons and save so much time”.
Is this niche then going to transport employees together to the office in the future, or will people still be hesitant to share a ride with people they do not know yet. As SPLT just announced its expansion into San Francisco after piloting the platform in Detroit, time will tell whether or not some of us might be sharing a car to work later in life!
Berens, G. and van Riel, C. (2004) Corporate associations in the academic literature: Three main streams of thought in the reputation measurement literature, Corporate Reputation Review, Vol. 7 No. 2 pp. 161-178