The Path Forward for Parking Employers
You’ve likely seen a shift in headlines in recent weeks. As vaccination rates increase throughout the U.S., no longer is the focus on what we have just been through. The new emphasis is on what is about to come.
Despite the profound impact this unwelcomed health crisis has had on the parking industry, most parking industry players approach our current moment as an opportunity to accelerate a transformation that has been years, even decades, in the making.
As in-person parking industry events kick-off next month in Dallas, parking industry leaders are charging ahead with post-pandemic work plans, ramping up marketing and sales efforts, bringing back furloughed workers, and hiring new employees.
What the rest of 2021 will hold, no one knows for sure – this is a lesson we learned last year, after all. The following are one parking industry headhunters’ top three observations and insights into current and emerging recruiting and hiring trends, challenges and opportunities.
Work is a State of Mind, Not a Place You Go
How the remote work trend will ultimately affect parking as a business remains to be seen. Significant changes in commuting behaviors and transportation preferences will likely give rise to underused parking facilities being repurposed. Any predictions on whether or not COVID era workplace trends will have significant, enduring impacts is still largely speculative at this point.
For now, employers need to consider their approach to the remote work conundrum. While remote work within parking wasn’t new prior to last year’s stay-at-home mandates, for many in parking, 2020 marked their first taste of remote work freedom. In the absence of glaring performance issues over the last year, many employers will find requiring employee facetime in the office will be a hard argument to make.
A key point to remember when hiring remote talent is to be sure to consider the tools, resources, and skills that will be necessary for employees to be successful in their jobs remotely. At a bare minimum, employees should possess basic digital literacy skills that include proficiency in using video and digital collaboration tools.
The remote work trend presents some advantages from an employer’s perspective. Your potential candidate pool for remote positions is drastically larger than for a role confined to a small geographic area that is a reasonable commute to headquarters or regional offices. Using remote workers can also save the company money — no need for relocation packages or paying inflated salaries in high cost of living areas.
Cliches May be Tired, But in Parking, They’ve Never Been More True
Nothing can summarize the current state of the parking industry like a string of overused COVID era business cliches.
Uncertain times often lead to a certain way forward. Even if the way forward only involves asking questions or sharing experiences and information. After all, it is the unknown that drives the search for answers. Throughout human history, our greatest innovations and achievements occur during times of cooperation and open collaboration. Parking industry players certainly describe the last fourteen months as uncertain. Leading experts across all sectors of parking and mobility are making great strides in efforts to share data, bridge silos, and work more cooperatively towards common goals.
Unprecedented competition for parking talent sets new precedents. This is not necessarily the most intuitive trend following a year that saw parking demand drop by up to 90 percent in parts of the United States. However, the need for specialized and experienced talent was only intensified by the pandemic as parking’s transformation has been launched into hyperdrive. This translates into dramatic competition among employers to attract and recruit the best talent and also to retain it. Employers are willing to do whatever it takes to keep their best workers, with the best talent receiving aggressive counteroffers as they try to walk out the door. Note, a counteroffer is still ALWAYS a bad idea to entertain.
A ‘new normal’ is emerging in parking that is proving perhaps the most alarming trend yet. Beyond the industry-wide collaboration movement, parking professionals eagerly anticipate the upcoming season of in-person parking conferences to reunite with friends and colleagues we never imagined missing so much.
Parking Grows Up
“Change is inevitable, growth is optional.” -John Maxwell
Beyond the fact that parking employers are back to hiring talent, the type of available opportunities and most in-demand skills all point to some significant developments for parking as an industry. While parking professional certifications and designations are not new and have evolved over many decades, parking is still largely an unknown and misunderstood industry.
As we emerge from this crisis, parking might just slough off the image as an industry well behind the times. Industry leaders are looking in the right direction, ahead to the future, rather than returning to the status quo.
KATHLEEN LANEY is President of Laney Solutions. She can be reached at email@example.com.