Kenny Marland, managing director at HX Car Park Managment, talks how car parks can go above and beyond expectations
Between the climate crisis, mass political uncertainty, and near-universal ﬁnancial inequality, much of the world is in an unending state of doubt, trying to prepare for whatever the next upheaval will be. It has often felt as though for such a worldwide issue that ‘someone else will ﬁx it’, but we now exist in a time where all businesses are under scrutiny to go above and beyond the call of duty to become brands that consumers and stakeholders can trust as socially, economically, and environmentally conscious.
“We recognise that our corporate and social responsibility is crucial to our values and operations, and in expressing our commitment to our stakeholders,” says Kenny Marland, managing director at parking management company HX Car Park Managment (HX). “They include customers, employees, suppliers, clients, the community and the environment.
HX has launched a new corporate social responsibility initiative which is broken down into three parts: the employees, the environment, and the community.
“We recognise that our social, economic and environmental responsibilities to these stakeholders are integral to our business, and we aim to demonstrate these responsibilities through our actions and within our corporate policies,” Marland explains.
Employees are at the heart of all businesses and this should not be undervalued. They are instrumental in ensuring that the company succeeds. This means providing staff with a happy, healthy, and most importantly for some, well paid, working environment.
“We are ISO 9001 certiﬁed, with multiple policies and procedures in place,” says Marland. “We are also a living wage employer. We have a European Christmas night out annually, we have never lost a member of staﬀ by them “quitting” since the company was founded, and therefore I believe the working environment is good.”
The compulsory national minimum wage increased this past April, but it is no longer acceptable to give staﬀ what is literally the bare minimum. Large companies, such as those which manage car parks, have the capital means, and therefore responsibility, to go above and beyond the government-designated minimum.
“We value our employees,” says Marland, “and aim to promote best practice not only within our company, but to our clients and suppliers, that by providing a living wage as opposed to the government minimum wage, we can contribute to staﬀ wellbeing and motivation.”
Marland says that the parking company is trying to empower its employees through their continued training and development, making sure and individual contributions are formally recognised, and rewarding positive behaviour fairly. “Our ultimate aim,” he says, “is the happiness of our employees through their worthwhile and satisfying employment in a successful business.”
The HX manifesto vows to provide safeguards to ensure that all employees of whatever nationality, colour, race or religious beliefs are treated with respect and without sexual, physical or mental harassment; to operate an equal opportunities policy for all present and potential future employees and will oﬀer its employees clear and fair terms of employment and provide resources to enable their continual development; and to provide, and strive to maintain, a clean, healthy and safe working environment in line with its Health & Safety policy and safe systems of work.
It is no secret that the world is burning. Just turn on the news and it is full of sweeping shots of the continued destruction of the Amazon rainforest, city-centre protests calling for action on climate change, and the omnipresence of teenage climate crisis activist Greta Thunberg in the media attest to this.
Making environmentally-conscious decisions is a responsibility held by every single human being and organisation on this planet, and perhaps especially for any organisation that exists to serve the car-driving public. “Protection of the environment in which we live and operate in is part of our values and principles,” says Marland. “We consider it to be sound business practice and encourage all our suppliers and clients to do the same.”
HX always oﬀers solar power with its ANPR installations as an alternative to electric. If solar power is agreed, then as a company, HX will donate £250 to Just One Ocean, a UK-based charity that is dedicated to raising awareness of ocean issues and protecting ocean ecosystems.
On a more local level, the company promotes a businesswide recycling policy, encouraging staﬀ to use as much “green” and recyclable products as possible. “We discourage single-use plastic in our oﬃces, and provide sustainable alternatives for staﬀ, such as reusable water bottles as opposed to single-use plastic cups.” Marland says.
And for every new contract the company signs, it commits to planting one new tree via the National Forest Company. The National Forest Company, established in 1995, is responsible for leading the creation of the National Forest, working in partnership with landowners, businesses, public, private and voluntary organisations and local communities to deliver and champion the shared vision for the Forest.
“We also encourage our staﬀ to car share or use public transport to minimise their carbon footprint, with the company paying a percentage of their transport costs as an incentive,” he adds.
Whenever a business enters a new location, it should always take into consideration the local community. There is an inbuilt level of social responsibility that comes with inserting yourself within a pre-established community. Car parks are providing a speciﬁc service, but what else can they do to beneﬁt the community? Perhaps getting involved with local charities and events, or sponsoring local sports teams.
“We pledge to sponsoring a grassroots football team in each county we hold a contract and work within, showing that we are fully committed to investing directly in the community,” tells Marland.
The parking provider also allows all of its full-time employees with a full day’s pay to go out into the community once per quarter allowing them to volunteer with a charity of their choice. “All our employees are also encouraged to take part in one sponsored event each year for a charity of their choice,” Marland tells. “The company providing incentives to raise as much money as possible.”
Aside from this time given to employees, HX also sponsors a charity night in Leeds every year, the Kind Hearts Give Back ball in Leeds, a non-proﬁt event to raise money and awareness for cancer. And they regularly undertake fundraising for their chosen charity of the year, via baking events, raﬄes, bring and buy sales, and dress down days.
The world does not change overnight, so it is easy to lose sight of the signiﬁcance of small acts when it comes to making a diﬀerence. This makes it even more signiﬁcant that companies whose footprint are much larger than the individual are making conscious, progressive decisions towards a better country and a better world.
It is one thing to simply show up and do the job that people expect. It is another to do so in a way that is socially and environmentally conscious. But it is further still to go above and beyond, going that extra mile to give back to the local community, the country, and the planet. This is, in short, the goal that all businesses should set for themselves, just as HX has done, and we must hold them to this pledge.
This feature was originally published in the September 2019 edition or Retail Destination magazine.