Whistler Question featured newspaper column – May 19, 2015 – How to be a Great Employer
Employee turnover adversely affects a company’s bottom line but by exactly how much can be somewhat ambiguous. Employee turnover costs are often hidden, in that the resulting impact can’t specifically be seen on a financial statement.
Nonetheless, it is significant enough to be referred to as the ‘silent but substantial profit killer’. Employee turnover has been estimated as high as 150 percent of annual salary.
By now, you may be claiming that employee turnover is an inevitable reality of doing business in Whistler but still, the goal of small business has to be employee retention to negate high turnover.
Tess Evans, a Human Resources specialist in Whistler believes that although the seasonal nature of a resort is a challenging landscape for employers to harness long-term employee relationships, there is hope.
Having witnessed first-hand the challenges companies face with today’s workforce, she recently started a consulting firm called HR Galaxy to assist clients in creating a culture for their business that keeps their staff feeling valued and inclusive.
The Key Differentiator
Sometimes easier said than done, although Tess is keen to point out that one key differentiator that she has seen is that:
“Businesses experiencing lower turnover are the ones that have their human resource processes and tools in place to provide solid footing for their employees.”
If in doubt, she claims that you just have to consider two local businesses that were recently Top 5 Finalists for Small Business BC’s Best Employer Award.
Examples of Great Employers
To better understand the secret of building a business that is an employer of choice, Tess reached out to those two employers to unlock their strategy.
Craig Beattie, General Manager at Canadian Wilderness Adventures (CWA) admits that an obvious attraction for his staff is getting paid to work and play outdoors but beyond that, there is a strong expectation for their leaders to treat everyone with equal amounts of respect. In turn, that core company value encourages strong camaraderie amongst employees.
To further foster that culture, CWA organizes retreats that provide staff the opportunity to get away from their workplace for team building. Sometimes choosing another adventure outfitter as a destination for this sojourn provides the added benefit of seeing what competitors are doing and how it impacts their staff.
Another local company that finished in the Top 5 category for Best Employer is RDC Fine Homes. RDC’s Operations Manager Paul Nicholas explained that their company is committed to providing flexibility to their staff in order to create balance.
RDC also has a strong focus on professional development for staff. In an industry whereby design changes fluidly, efficiencies are constantly updated and because eco-friendly materials are their trademark, it’s paramount that staff is fully engaged and updated on company standards.
Beyond that, their company considers safe working conditions, whether on a job site or in their office, a non-negotiable commitment to staff. And a final factor that bumps them to the top tier as an employer is ensuring open and honest communication through regular dialogue so that employees know they are valued.
What It Comes Down To….. 3 Little Things
Tess summarized by stating, “After speaking to these local employers, it is evident that these two organizations are excellent examples of how to treat people and invest in your staff in three preeminent ways: time, money and respect.”
At Lighthouse Visionary Strategies, Cathy Goddard offers business and life coaching, workshops and the popular Open Forum speaker series. She is founder of Lighthouse Mentor Network, a mentor program nominated for a Small Business BC Award in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Learn more at www.lighthousevisionary.com