The 2015 Small Business BC Awards have just come and gone and boy did Whistler represent! Being from a human resources state of mind, I was impressed that two Whistler companies finished in the top five of the Best Employer category. Two out of the top five in the entire province were from Whistler?! Naturally, I called them both to hear what it is they are doing so right.
Craig Beattie, General Manager at Canadian Wilderness Adventures was able to share with me that one part of being a great employer was easy...his staff are pretty happy to be paid to work and play outside. He went on to say that the camaraderie is strong amongst the staff and that he and other leaders in the company believe in treating everyone with equal amounts of respect. Twice a year the staff is treated with a two day getaway which allows team building and much needed relaxation time. Craig said that they sometimes choose to go to other adventure destination outfitters who provide similar experiences as CWA. I see this as great business sense considering an outing like this allows the crew to see how others provide a similar service and yet they all get to enjoy some time off and have a lot of fun in the process.
From outdoor adventures to the home building trade...the other top finisher from Whistler was RDC Fine Homes. Complete other end of the service spectrum. After a conversation with Paul Nicholas, Operations Manager, I can see why they are considered a great employer.
In a trade where designs are changing fluidly, efficiencies are updated and eco-friendly materials are their trademark, Paul explained that their company is a believer in offering both professional development and flexibility to their staff in order to create balance. It was described to me that RDC contributes to the staff’s professional development with a wide variety of options from books to courses. Paul also made a point of mentioning that the safety of their staff is paramount. RDC is committed to safe working conditions whether on a job site or in their office and their annual certification is proof of this. Also, staff lunches occur monthly so that communications stay open between all levels of employees. It’s plain to see that the investment RDC has in their employees is deep and they are valued on several levels.
Both Canadian Wilderness Adventures and RDC Fine Homes have set terrific examples of how to treat people and invest in them with time, money and respect. Congratulations to both employers on a job well done and Whistler looks forward to seeing you in the top five again next year!