Yes, There’s a Lot That HR Can Learn From Parking Lots

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I read an article last week and found out parking lots have their own industry — just like health care, banking, automotive, etc.

Parking lots are big business around the world. I live in a small town in Michigan, and the only time we have a parking problem is during one weekend in August when we have the annual Ox Roast. The carneys come to town, we fire off explosives and we eat ox. God Bless America!

If you live in a big city, you probably get to deal with the parking lot industry on a daily basis. Like most industries, parking is finding ways to use technology to make themselves more profitable and more efficient. From PandoDaily:

According to a 2011 IBM survey, drivers globally spend an average of nearly 20 minutes per trip in pursuit of a parking space. Despite this colossal waste of time, the concept of pre-booking parking prior to arriving at a destination is still nascent. Most people continue to drive around searching for a spot, either on-street or off-street, typically unaware of what parking inventory is available to them. In a perfect world, they would not only know what spots are available at any given time, but also be able to compare the price, location and amenities of those available spots, to find the one that suits them best…

Over the next few years, parking will undergo a shift that will be a tipping point for the industry. Some of the changes we may see include a single source solution that combines off-street and on-street parking availability at the time you need it. Or it may include urban mobility solutions that will focus on getting consumers from point A to point B to point C, whether that involves taking a car, public transit, biking, or walking. Parking facilities will also integrate relatively low-cost technology solutions to streamline and better the customer experience through the smartphone and the connected car. Lastly, demand-based pricing will become a tenet to parking, maximizing revenue by matching driver to the right space at the right time at the right facility.”

Here’s what the parking industry can teach HR:

1. On -demand talent

Parking lots have figured out that you don’t need all their parking spaces all the time.

You usually need them for peak times, and then they stay unfilled for most of the other times. Example: Monday through Friday 8 am to 5 pm will be at or close to 100 percent full, while Saturday and Sunday will remain mostly empty.

HR, especially in the U.S., will eventually have to decide do we really need all these employees all the time, or just during peak times. Billions of profitable dollars are wasted hanging onto employees that organizations don’t need all the time.

European markets already use far more numbers of contractors to help with this problem. The U.S. market is slow to adopt, mainly do to historical hiring practices.

2. True Pay-for-Performance

Parking companies have figured out if you want the spot right next to the stairs or elevator versus one all the way on the back of the parking deck, certain people will pay more for this space.

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Organizations should be willing to truly pay more for better, measurable talent. HR is a major roadblock to this, maintaining a banded compensation system that does not truly reward the best talent.

I’m not talking about the best talent you have, but the best talent in the market — those few employees who can truly make a difference as an individual contributor.

3. Talent sharing

Parking lots have figured out if they work together in reporting open spaces, their customer base will benefit, and ultimately, they will benefit.

Why don’t we share employees across like-minded work? It’s because in HR, we are to lazy when it comes to how to figure this out.

But if my building is right next door to another company and we both have a need for developers, why couldn’t we share these skills? It would take work to make it work from a legal, pay and benefits standpoint, but it is something that can be done.

This was originally published on Tim Sackett’s blog, The Tim Sackett Project.

Tim Sackett, MS, SPHR is executive vice president of HRU Technical Resources, a contingent staffing firm in Lansing, MI. Tim has 20 years of HR and talent background split evenly between corporate HR gigs among the Fortune 500 and the HR vendor community ? so he gets it from both sides of the desk. A frequent contributor to the talent blog Fistful of Talent, Tim also speaks at many HR conferences and events. Contact him here.

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