What we can do better
Although Q-Park strives to improve its performance in all areas of its operations, sometimes things may still go wrong or the initiatives taken may not have the desired effect. This chapter summarises the most important aspects in 2016 that did not go as expected and which need to be looked at carefully in the future if we want to reach the targets we have set ourselves for 2020.
Just like Q-Park, our stakeholders consider employee training and education to be very important. We therefore include this in our policy, and that is why we train our staff particularly in (personal) security, conflict management and pricing strategy. We aim to give these training courses regularly in all our countries. However, in Q-Park's current phase, the focus was set on developing the company and our positioning in the market, which has required our full attention. Most training courses have been postponed and will be resumed in 2017.
An international employee satisfaction survey conducted in 2016 revealed areas for improvement in communication, the physical working environment and operational topics including employee safety, training and development. Particular attention needs to be paid to operational issues in the Netherlands, Germany, Ireland, France and Sweden. The company is taking initiatives to achieve improvements (see Human).
Decrease in the Transparency Benchmark
We achieved the 47th place on the TB with 172 points (2015: 31 with 170 points), which is a lower ranking, but which still puts us within our target, which is to remain in the top 20 to 50. We will revisit this target in 2017 to align it with our corporate strategy.
In cooperation with a large group of institutional investors, including Q-Park shareholders, the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) gathers information about sustainable performance of real estate companies and property funds. However, we believe that parking facilities cannot be compared to other commercial and industrial construction: we consider that we fall into the category of an operational company rather than a real estate company.
For this reason there are material differences between the reporting needs of GRESB and the reporting needs of our stakeholders, which influence the results. Reporting on water consumption is a good example of materiality differences. Naturally, we will continue to monitor the valuation of this benchmark among our shareholders.
Number of flights
Due to the setting up and launching of the new C2C platform, travelling has increased especially from and to the Nordic region, increasing the number of flight tickets by 33 percent. As more countries are connected to the platform, our need to travel by airplane will decrease, bringing it back to our 'normal' figures.
As our organisation is active in ten countries, we have many regional differences and local interpretations, and legislation often differs per country too. Our goal is to share the wealth of knowledge within our company and to make better use of this. The region organisations we have created between the holding company and the national organisations should contribute to this exchange. In fact, we are implementing a culture change that needs further nurturing.
External verification increases the confidence stakeholders have in our accountability and has a disciplining effect on our internal organisation. But external verification also entails extra time and costs. Today, the reporting process is standardised and the structure of the data requested can easily be checked for completeness and reliability. The whole process is therefore already prepared for future external verification with the quality standards that stakeholders expect from us.
Employees must stick to the rules
In Denmark, two Parking Hosts drew attention from the media, after having parked in a space reserved for blue badge holders (for disabled motorists).
Q-Park takes illegal parking in spaces reserved for blue badge holders very seriously. In principle, Parking Hosts have a special permit to park in the parking facilities as they go about their work, but this permit does not include parking on emergency access route or reserved spaces.
To prevent this from happening again, Q-Park Denmark followed up this incident with clear communication to employees on the subject to make sure that all employees are fully aware of the rules that apply.