Parking Wars: How Your Employees Affect Your Brand Even When Not At Work

by Barry Moltz on June 7, 2011

I love the reality show, Parking Wars and it is why I wanted this post.  Employees are constantly branding your business in and out of work!  Les O’Dell writes:

“I saw it again this morning.  As I was taking my infant foster son into the day care center, another parent pulled up to take her son in as well.  And, just like every other morning, I saw this mom park her car in a space specifically designated for individuals with wheelchairs or a physical challenge of some sort.  Usually the cars of these people display a special handicapped license plate or placard.

As I watched her remove her child from the backseat of the car and escort him into the child care center, it certainly looked to me that she had no disability, yet she parked in the designated space nonetheless.

You would think she’d know better.  After all, by her clothing it is obvious that she works in a medical facility; every day she wears “scrubs,” the clothing designed for physicians and nurses.  In fact, her top even sports the logo of the clinic where she works.

I wonder if her employer knows how she parks and, more importantly, the image it represents for her clinic.  Here me out on this one.

At best, by parking her car in a spot that she apparently does not need and most likely is not entitled to use, she is sending several potential messages about her own values.  Given that companies often strive to hire people who match their own corporate values, like it or not, it’s easy to overlay what I see as hers onto her employer.

Here are the thoughts that go through my head every morning about this staffer and her clinic (none of them good):

First, maybe she simply parks in the space because it is the closest to the door.  Perhaps she’s running late (every day) and in a hurry to get to work.  Or, in other words, she’s disorganized.

Second, maybe she is just lazy and wants to walk the lowest possible number of steps to take her child into the facility.  Does that mean she’s also taking short cuts at work?  That can be dangerous in any medical facility.

Third, she just doesn’t care about other people, except herself and her child.  By making things easiest for the two of them, they make it more difficult for others, especially anyone who rightfully may need to park in one of those spaces.  Additionally, what is she teaching her son?  That the rules apply to other people, but not them?  That no one else’s needs matter?

I automatically apply this selfish attitude to the clinic where she works, whether it’s right or wrong.  (How can I be sure that they did all of the procedure correctly?  Maybe they don’t care whether or not to get my bill correct.)  It goes on and on.

Listen up, business owners and managers.  Your employees – your people – carry your brand, your image and your reputation everywhere they go, whether or not they are on the clock.  Don’t forget that if they are wearing your logo or driving with your company name on the side of their truck, they are giving people an impression everywhere they go – stopping for a beer after work, cutting off another driver in traffic, carrying 29 items through the express lane or parking in a space reserved for the less fortunate.  What impression are your employees giving outside your store or office?  It’s something to think about.”

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Karl Sakas June 8, 2011 at 6:19 pm

Right on, Barry! A few months ago, I saw a plumbing contractor smoking at a gas station, as he refueled his company truck. I called the company and the owner thanked me for letting him know about the problem. Definitely not the image you want…

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