Global travel technology company FlixBus employs around 5,500 people in 42 countries across Europe, America and Brazil. With more than 20 offices around the world, it’s perhaps unsurprising that the business encourages staff travel and offers a range of benefits to help them do so.
Karin Bostrand-Mooney joined the business in April 2023 as senior people partner for FlixBus in the UK, Benelux and the Nordics.
How big is your team?
I look after the UK, Benelux, and Nordic teams. It’s my first time working in the world of travel technology, and a real change of sector for me, but I’m really enjoying it.
I’m based in London, and one of the first things I’ve been lucky enough to oversee is our move to a bigger and better office space to accommodate our growing number of employees.
As part of my role, I regularly travel to be with teams across our offices in Europe, and also work closely with the global people management team, which is headquartered in Munich.
What benefits are currently offered to your employees?
We believe that looking after teams’ mental health is of the utmost importance. While we, of course, provide safe spaces for teams to seek help internally, we recognise that there may be times when people need the advice of a mental health professional – or simply someone who is external to their daily life.
So, we established a collaboration with OpenUp, which offers all employees direct access to certified psychologists. Teams have access to a range of mental health activities and anonymous counselling sessions, whenever they feel they need them.
We have the WF(M)A programme, which has been in place since 2022, allowing employees to request to work from any location for up to 60 days.
We have our own learning platform, FlixUni, which offers a range of educational opportunities for employees to improve personal skills, from career growth attributes such as technical training, specialist business learning, and personalised career coaching.
As you can imagine, being an international company, language learning is extremely popular – and we offer free subscriptions to external e-learning platforms like Babbel and Learnlight.
We also give 12 free FlixBus/Train return-trip rides for every employee, renewing each year. This is great because it means we all get a chance to use Flix’s services and really experience our customers’ journeys. Additionally, every employee receives five 50% off vouchers to share with friends and family annually.
As well as these global benefits, we offer a range of local benefits for local teams.
How often do you review your benefits offering and why?
As a team of HR professionals, we are constantly evaluating our benefits, alongside processes and other changes that will affect people in the company. However, the wellbeing of people lies at the core of Flix’s strategy, so we are steered by the values that were defined on the back of employee feedback.
Flix also has two key representative bodies: the Trust Council – which I am a member of – and the Works Council. Flix provides these representatives from around the company a minimum of four weeks’ notice before any substantial and significant operational changes take effect.
What are your current HR/benefits challenges?
Flix will be launching in Chile later this year, and India in 2024. As you can imagine, launching into new markets requires a great deal of preparation to understand the market, and the specific laws and regulations that might be important from an HR perspective. However, we’ve launched in more than 40 countries, so we’re confident we’ve got the right people to ensure these markets are a success.
How is your organisation supporting employees with the cost-of-living crisis?
Flix voluntarily decided to support temporary and fixed-term employees who were enduring high levels of inflation through a one-time payment. We also proudly offer all employees above the London Living Wage in the UK, as set out by the Living Wage Foundation.
What do you foresee will be the hot topics for HR in the future?
Artificial Intelligence would be my obvious answer, but sustainability will become more important, and HR departments will need to consider the environmental impact of activity. Potential employees are increasingly concerned about whether the work they do will help or hinder the climate crisis. At Flix, while we already offer really low-carbon transport options, we are prioritising the carbon-neutral agenda in our strategy.
How do you ensure employees know about the available benefits?
We have a really strong communications team who we work closely with to share updates via our various internal communications channels. Together we also provide clear information on our benefits (both local and global) as well as practical Q&As, which are accessed on our intranet. We’re also proud of our dedicated careers website, www.flix.careers, which outlines our Employee Value Proposition and clearly shows our benefits to prospective and current employees alike.
Which benefit(s) have the biggest take-up and why?
The benefit of free FlixBus and FlixTrain tickets for every employee is certainly popular! The opportunity and encouragement to travel to more than 400,000 destinations over four continents is not something most companies can offer. I think its popularity stems from being a totally unique offering, and people working at Flix naturally having an interest in travel.
What’s the best employee benefit you’ve ever had and why?
Free FlixBus tickets, of course! I’m already deciding on where to take my family next – it could be somewhere in Scotland, or perhaps Paris, or Amsterdam from London. Or I could use FlixTrain when I next travel in Sweden, where I’m originally from.
If you had an unlimited budget, what employee benefit(s) would you like to introduce for employees?
Based on my previous answers, it would have to be unlimited free Flix journeys for employees to experience the world with our sustainable transport options.