Tag Archives: Human Resources

‘Tis the Season…for More EVs.

‘Tis the Season…for More EVs.


By Rachel Yoka, CAPP, LEED AP BD+C

The US Forest Service recently announced a new pilot program in Greenfield Village at The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan, in which the Forest Service EVs delivered Christmas trees from the Huron-Manistee National Forest for families in Detroit.  Much of our industry’s focus has been on how to properly deploy charging infrastructure to serve patrons. Less is known about how to properly utilize fleet EVs.

The 12-month pilot will determine barriers, impacts, and outcomes through weekly surveys to collect feedback on day-to-day field operations. The surveys will tally how vehicles were used, weather conditions, road types, maintenance issues, and staff perception. Our industry’s frontline personnel are utilizing electric fleet vehicles more widely, although in more dense and urban environments, but the strategies employed by the Forest Service could prove useful for IPMI members and the industry.

There’s a whole lot more involved in EV charging programs than plugging vehicles in and ensuring that vehicles are maintained properly.  How are you monitoring and collecting information on EV vehicles and fleets utilized by your organizations. Proactively gathering data on how EVs fare in day-to-day operations creates yet another opportunity for our industry to share critical information on larger-scale deployments and how to best prepare for an electrified future.

Rachel Yoka, CAPP, LEED AP BD+C, is IPMI’s Chief Strategy Officer. She can be reached at yoka@parking-mobility.org.

Supreme Court Blocks Covid Vaccine Mandate for Businesses

Close up color image depicting a blue sign with the words 'covid vaccination site' at a covid-19 vaccination centre.By Michael J. Ash, Esq., CRE

On January 13, the United States Supreme Court rejected an emergency mandate implemented by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requiring all workers at businesses with 100 or more employees to get COVID-19 vaccinations.  The emergency measure also required weekly COVID-19 testing for the unvaccinated and workplace mask protocols.

This decision, while timely and seemingly political, is the latest decision from the high court limiting the power of administrative agencies and narrowing the legislative scope of the federal government.  The opinion does not take any position as to the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines or other public health measures, but rather, addresses interpretation of the role of the administrative body.  Essentially, the Court opined that OSHA does not have the express delegation of authority from Congress to enact protocols related to a public health emergency.  The holding of the majority opinion addressed this point, “Although Congress has indisputably given OSHA the power to regulate occupational dangers, it has not given that agency the power to regulate public health more broadly.” Furthermore, “requiring the vaccination of 84 million Americans, selected simply because they work for employers with more than 100 employees, certainly falls in the latter category,” the court wrote.

This opinion should not be read to limit employer’s ability to regulate COVID-19 safety in the workplace including vaccine status and other protocols.

Michael J. Ash, Eq., CRE, is partner with Carlin & Ward.

The Benefits of Slowing Down

Hourglass on the background of office watch as time passing concept for business deadline, urgency and running out of time. Sand clock, business time management conceptBy Sylvia Martinez-Mullally, MPA

We’re speeding back up to a fast-paced world with plenty of distractions. Back to the politics of parking, putting out fires, and making sure everyone is okay. It’s been a time for reflection, reprioritizing, and, hopefully, slowing down to put yourself first. Yes, I said it!

With the slowdown of the past year, many aren’t returning to their jobs—not picking up where they left off, but just plain leaving! People were able to take a step back and question the value of their work and work life. Sometimes those lines can be blurred.
Are you back to working overtime, rushing to create change, or never letting a good crisis go to waste? Sound familiar? In parking and mobility, it’s often a slow, long road to decision-making, and then, of course, the quick reaction, and then the art of execution.

It may be a good time to consider the benefits of slowing down. It’s good for our personal lives—why not in our parking lives? If you’re “parking for life” and already back to normal at work, chances are you may be stepping back and evaluating more, perhaps doing things differently.

Keep doing things differently, be mindful. Don’t let the distractions keep you from your purpose. Just like driving distractions, never take your eyes off the road. We’ve got all these new emerging technologies but make sure you know what the immediate goal is. Never take your hands off the wheel. Outline the best policies and execute them. Lastly, don’t get too distracted by looking too far down the road. Focus on what is around you now and slow down. Cheers to the resilient parking community and to focusing on what really matters! Happy New Year!

Sylvia Martinez-Mullally, MPA, is founder of Rockstar Parking Technology Group, distribution partner with Peazy, Parking AI, data & analytics, and a member of IPMI’s Research & Innovation Task Force.

Give Them What They Need

Rustic sign in restaurant window during time of Covid stating restaurant is understaffed and is hiring in a struggling economy, showing the plight of small businesses in the post-pandemic economy.Staffing–recruiting, hiring, and retaining employees–has never been more of a challenge. What’s an organization to do?

In this month’s Parking & Mobility magazine, HR expert Julius Rhodes, SPHR, says finding out what employees want from their jobs is critical–and there are several common things most employees say they want:

  • Flexibility.
  • A sense of purpose.
  • Autonomy and a learning environment.
  • Corporate social responsibility.
  • A culture that promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion.

How can you meet those wants and figure out what else your team members are looking for? Read the whole story here.

Do Less

By Rachel Yoka, CAPP, LEED AP BD+C

Change is hard (at least in my house). Daylight Savings time is the worst.  A few years back, it dawned on me that the entire experience of springing ahead (like that’s a positive thing) put the whole family into a tailspin.  Falling back was no better on us.  We didn’t really have the choice to opt out of the entire process, but we did have options: Accept it and roll with the punches, or adapt, change, and do what we could to improve the experience.

So we declared two new family holidays. Each year, the Monday post-springing ahead and falling back, we opt out. (I have another policy about opting out of lots of other things–email me if you’d like templated and tested language that works in 99.9 percent of situations.) We opt out. The kids get a free pass on school, I take the day off.  We sleep in and start to adjust.  We DoorDash whatever we all want.  We tread lightly, and hopefully, with a greater kindness for each other.  We do less that day and that week. It’s not perfect, but it’s better.

The idea of doing less seems almost heretical to our professional and personal mindsets. But hear me out: we all have limited time.  (To really dig in, I highly recommend Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman.  Yes, most of us only get about 4,000 weeks. It’s a shock to the system.)  That said, it is your choice to do in that limited time the things you really want to do.  Doing less creates white space–quality space, time, and resources to focus on and dedicate to what matters most to you, your family, and your work team.  Occasionally opting out actually allows you to opt in to the more important things.  And if you need to opt out of Daylight Savings too, I’ll be happy to write you a note!

Rachel Yoka, CAPP, LEED AP BD+C, is IPMI’s vice president of program development.


Take Care of Your Staff–They’re Taking Care of You

Shot of a young man showing thumbs up during an online meeting with a colleagueBy Chris Polk, CAPP

There are so many businesses experiencing the difficulty of hiring and maintaining staff. The reduced staffing level is leading to a decrease in the level of customer service that is and can be provided. Both frontline and management staff who are still coming to work every day are bearing the brunt of this employee shortage. They are stretched extremely thin, working extra hours to help cover shifts, struggling to meet the demands of the customers. As a result, morale is low because they feel overworked and underappreciated.

Many operations are seeing an increase in staff leaving their jobs to find other employment that may not offer lower stress, better benefits, or bonuses that are being offered for newly hired employees. So many employers are trying to influence anyone, including your employees, to come and work for them.

Now is the time to recognize those individuals who are working hard for you. Make sure you are thanking them daily for what they are doing. Bring them a cup of coffee and doughnuts in the morning. Buy them lunch. If possible, give them a bump in pay or a nice bonus. Small thank-you gift bags that are personalized are great. Make them feel appreciated. These are the individuals you want to hold on to and build your operation around–the people who are putting in the extra work and are committed to making sure that your operation does not fall apart.

Chris Polk, CAPP, is general manager with Republic Parking.

Hiring During the Pandemic

Stock photograph of job resume inside orange folder with mask.By Kathleen Federici, MEd

Many organizations are looking to hire talent to lead their mission in some way or another. According to Employee Benefits News, while many organizations made layoffs at the start of the pandemic, more than 80 percent plan to hire new employees. So the job posting goes up, but where are the qualified applicants? That resume from the retail chain associate doesn’t read as having any of the qualifications for the job. That nurse or teacher who wants a career re-boot has never worked in the industry before. Maybe they could do the job? But wait, what about the required technology skills?

As you recruit, you may find this pool of candidates is missing critical skills to be able to perform a job successfully. Perhaps your organization can start an apprenticeship program to upskill these candidates.

Breaking a role down into easy and generalizable chunks can assist when hiring during the pandemic. Does the role require administrative work? If yes, what projects require that attention to detail? Does the role require customer service skills? If, yes, how has the candidate demonstrated those skills with others in previous roles? Does the role require systems, reporting, or software skills? If yes, what technology skills are required?

Employers have mastered the transition to operating remotely during the pandemic. Building a virtual workforce is the next hurdle employers face as they make plans to rehire this year. Many candidates want to continue to work from home for a myriad of reasons.

Chin up. Hiring during the pandemic can be challenging, but your next round of awesome employees is right around the corner!

Katherine Federici, MEd, is IPMI’s director of professional development.

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Blog Post breaking upBy Michelle W. Jones, CAE, CMP

For that matter, any uncomfortable conversation can be hard. Whether you are ending a relationship, asking an aging parent about end-of-life decisions, or inquiring about the possibility of a pay raise, many conversations we have in business or in daily life are stressful. It is natural to want to avoid them.

Mel Robbins is a renowned motivational and keynote speaker, talk show host, creator of The 5 Second Rule, and a best-selling author. (And I have met her!) She says that 67 percent of managers are uncomfortable talking to the people they manage.

Robbins says the most important thing to do is to separate emotion from the matter that needs to be discussed. There are four techniques she uses to stay focused on what she needs to talk about:

  • Acknowledge responsibility. Acknowledging your responsibility in the matter diffuses the other person’s emotion. It actually honors them and puts them more at ease, and more able to listen.
  • Define outcome. The conversation you’ve been avoiding might become a rollercoaster of emotion. Knowing your intended outcome will stabilize your thoughts.
  • Listen and validate. Hear where the other person is coming from and validate their feelings. Rather than argue, acknowledge their perspective and they will be less defensive.
  • Restate the outcome. Keep coming back to the outcome you want to cause.

She adds that as a bonus, you can rehearse with an uninvolved friend.

I once worked for a CEO who said, “Bad news does not get better with age.” So even when it feels uncomfortable, sometimes it’s better to just rip the Band-Aid off, and have that difficult conversation.

Michelle W. Jones, CAE, CMP, is IPMI’s director of meetings and membership.

Imagining a New Working World

Remote work telecommute working from homeBy Brett Wood, CAPP, PE

A large portion of the working world is adjusting to a new normal of working from home.

Many are doing this while also being primary caregivers for a family, head of school for children, and maintainer of sanity for a household. In this current climate, we are all juggling a lot. But as we turn the corner on a month of this new normal, I get the sense that many work-from-homers are starting to settle into this rhythm.

I have worked from home for a long time. At my previous company, I routinely worked from home when not on the road. It brought a sense of work-life balance to be home when I was home. My partners were scattered all over the country and our communication was virtual before that was a thing. We collaborated in-person at client meetings or once a quarter or so in an office. But every other day was phone/email/instant messaging/video calls.

I, for one, really like the approach. And I don’t think I’m alone. A recent state of work productivity report found that 65 percent of remote workers felt more productive, and two-thirds of their managers agreed. When you get your at home setup right, you are really able to hyper-focus and produce. What if we come out of the next few months with a workforce that is more nimble, productive, and able to work from wherever rather than the brick and mortar model?

First, our office spaces could be easily reimagined. Instead of a traditional office model with workstations for everyone, there could be collaboration space for teams to come together when needed and a smaller number of workstations for in-office days. This reduced footprint would lower the space we dedicate to office space in our cities, which could be returned to housing (an amenity in short supply, high demand, and even higher price in our cities). It would also reduce overhead costs for companies. Flexjobs reported that employers could save approximately $22,000 per year per remote worker.

What about transportation? Under our current stay-at-home orders, we have seen vehicles disappear off of our roads. Based on estimates from the last U.S. Census, there are about 115 million vehicles commuting every day with a single occupant. Reducing actual commuters and their vehicles would have astounding effects on congestion and resulting pollution.

We aren’t likely entering a world where every worker becomes a remote worker. It’s not feasible in many industries. But what if a bigger portion went that route? In 2016, the Census reported about 150 million workers. Around that time there were about 4.7 million that were remote workers. What if we tripled or quadrupled that number? That could be more than 10,000,000 vehicles per day off the road. Imagine the impacts to congestion, parking needs, pollution, travel costs, infrastructure needs, and beyond.

Brett Wood, CAPP, PE is president of Wood Solutions Group.

The Kids Are Alright

Working from home kidsBy Vanessa Solesbee, CAPP

With many of us home full-time now with kids, dogs, spouses, and other loved ones all trying coexist in under one roof, I am seeing a lot of articles focused on getting our kids into routines/schedules/anything to keep them moving forward. But what we are doing for ourselves?

I worked from home for many years while consulting, and during that time, I moved three times, got married, and had two kiddos. I learned a lot during my time working from home and I hope that some of these lessons are helpful in easing the transition for you:

  1. Get ready for the day like you are leaving the house. This will be different for everyone; it could mean taking a shower, doing your hair, putting on makeup, or making your bed. This simple act of keeping your morning routine is a surprisingly easy and quick way to transition from weekend to workweek.
  2. Put on pants that are not stretchy at least twice a week. You may laugh but wearing sweats, yoga pants, or gym clothes every day eventually does something to one’s psyche. The act of getting dressed (in pants that button) also helps to keep those hourly trips to the fridge in check and makes you feel like you are in work/productivity mode.
  3. Go outside and move your body. Yes, I often hit “dismiss” on my watch when it tells me I’ve been sitting in place for too long but trust me, this one is so important. You don’t have to run every day or do a full Crossfit workout in your garage but do move your body and breathe some fresh air. Put this time on your calendar like everything else and start with one or two times a week.
  4. Communicate your schedule and set times for calls/video chats. Designate specific days of the week or times of day (e.g., mornings or afternoons) where you will be available for meetings. This technique can increase your ability to focus and is will be a good strategy to bring back to the office with you. If you have the ability to do so, communicate your availability weekly–including when you will be “in the office” and available to your supervisor, direct reports, and colleagues.
  5. Find an accountability partner. I have a secret to share—not everyone has to be good at working from home and there is not some magic bullet that will suddenly make you motivated to sit at your desk rather than watch Netflix all day. It is 100 percent okay to think that working from home is really hard and to not like it! However, there are some things you can do to make it less painful and finding an accountability partner is one of those things. You can use the same techniques that you use for other goals: write down what you need to do and what you’ve accomplished each day; check in with a colleague (or your spouse) every morning and chat quickly about what you want to accomplish that day and what you accomplished the day before; and set reasonable weekly goals for yourself.
  6. Make your own mental health a priority. Lastly and most importantly, your kids, spouse, pets, parents, friends, colleagues take their cues from you. We are all in an unprecedented situation and it is okay if you feel anxious, stressed, sad, scared, and/or angry. We are being asked to do something that is totally against our innate nature–isolate ourselves from each other and for those of us who live alone and/or in a (new) situation where our basic needs are in jeopardy because of job loss or financial insecurity, the isolation is compounding almost daily.

Give yourself a break and know that despite what it looks like on social media, most of us have raised our voices at our spouse in the last few weeks, our kids have eaten too much mac and cheese and spent too much time on their screens, perhaps virtual happy hour every night is probably not a good long-term strategy for regaining connection, and trust me, we have not all had the drive to Marie Kondo every junk drawer. So, if you find yourself constantly asking “are the kids going to be alright!?” make sure you are also asking yourself, “How are you doing, too?”

Vanessa Solesbee, CAPP, is president of The Solesbee Group.