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Clif Bar Gives Every Employee a 20th Anniversary Bike

By Paul Smith

Motivating and acknowledging employees can take many forms, typically encompassing food, time off, casual dress or some such thing. Clif Bar recently did something substantially different: In honor of its 20th anniversary, it had Public Bikes make custom bikes for all of their employees. Each was given a Public V3 with a custom Clif Bar head badge, Clif Bar red frame and rims, and an inscription with their name and start date.

This is a totally fitting acknowledgement of this momentous anniversary, as the idea for Clif Bar came about when founder Gary Erickson, a long distance biker, was dissatisfied with the energy bar options available to him, and set about creating one himself. Each bike bears the words “Born on a Bike – Kitchen Crafted – Family & Employee Owned” In typical Clif Bar fashion, they enlisted a secret warehouse near their office, to surprise reveal the bikes. The reaction (below) is priceless.


At first glance this may appear like another kooky California company's incentive. However, it bears mentioning that car use has been declining steadily since long before the recession. There are many factors influencing this, but it seems a cultural shift is happening, and forward-thinking companies are wise to create incentives that are in-line with employee’s values and interests.

This effort, while a nice gesture, stands to have an unexpected impact: Increased biking in the area.  Beyond the employees themselves who may not have previously ridden bikes, these visually striking, conversation starting bikes, 300 of them, will now be circulating throughout the Bay Area.

While you could award your employees with pizza next time they reach a goal, why not do something that will be remembered, help increase their health, and serve as marketing for your company, both as a brand and as a desirable workplace?  It need not be all of your staff, it could easily be tied to an in-house fitness competition as well. It’s a small investment with great dividends.

Readers: Would you consider doing such a thing for your staff? What unique, sustainability and/or wellness rewards/acknowledgement have you done at your company?

Paul Smith is a sustainable business innovator, the founder of GreenSmith Consulting, and has an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco. He creates interest in, conversations about, and business for green (and greening) companies, via social media marketing. || ==> For more, see GreenSmithConsulting.com

Read more stories by Paul Smith