Recognized as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2016)
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Mar 28, 2016)
Here are some of the reasons why Rocky Mountaineer was selected as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2016):
- Along with a unique vacation destination work environment for many employees, Rocky Mountaineer offers its new employees three weeks vacation, moving to a maximum of five weeks for its longest serving employees
- Rocky Mountaineer reaches out to the next generation of employees through paid internships, summer opportunities and apprenticeships
- Rocky Mountaineer encourages employees to save for the future with annual RSP contributions and offers referral bonuses when employees successfully recruit a contact from their network (from $750 to $1,500 depending on the position)
Setting sights high at Rocky Mountaineer
One summer, a guest on a Rocky Mountaineer luxury passenger train journey in British Columbia found something amiss: there was no green tea for her to drink. When the train manager learned of the situation, he phoned ahead to the next city en route - by coincidence his hometown - where his mother met him at the station with green tea. Problem solved.
President Steve Sammut says that anecdote is just one of hundreds he could cite that illustrate just how passionate Rocky Mountaineer employees are about ensuring their guests enjoy more than just the spectacular scenery. This includes everyone from the chefs who prepare world-class cuisine to maintenance crews who keep the trains rolling in top-notch condition. "Everybody throughout the company really cares about our guests having a wonderful experience," Sammut says.
Since its inception in 1990, Rocky Mountaineer has become the largest privately owned luxury tourist train company anywhere. The winner of numerous international awards, it's frequently named as one of the world's most unforgettable travel experiences.
Orientation for all new Rocky Mountaineer employees includes an all-expenses paid train trip through the majestic Canadian Rockies so they experience first-hand what the company offers and see how guests react. "It's a source of pride when guests hug the hosts at the end of a trip that delivered everything they wanted and more," Sammut adds.
Scott Dearin, Senior Manager, Rail Operations, who joined Rocky Mountaineer in January 2013, agrees: "Our goal is to provide guests with an amazing on-board experience and it stirs my heart to see how we achieve our purpose."
In a company dedicated to continuous improvement, Sammut says another virtue of the orientation trips is that all employees are in a position to offer informed and knowledgeable suggestions. And that input is solicited regularly. The company holds quarterly employee town halls at its head office in Vancouver.
Sammut, who also holds less formal round tables with 10 to 12 employees, has an actual Welcome mat outside his office door. "I want people to feel free to raise any issues they might have so that we're proactive in addressing them," he says.
Rocky Mountaineer offers competitive pay and benefits and encourages the professional development of its employees with a range of training and educational programs. Among them is the Accelerated Team Leadership program the company established at the University of British Columbia's Sauder School of Business that's open to high-potential managers, directors and vice-presidents.
Dearin, an alumnus of the Sauder program's two one-week intensive sessions, says Rocky Mountaineer also helped him obtain his project manager certification. He joined the company after working in the oil and gas industry and while many of his skills were transferable, he says such training is crucial in his role heading up the company's asset development and engineering teams.
"It's great to work for a company that has a vested interest in developing its staff," adds Dearin, who is based in Kamloops where some 50 employees service and maintain the trains year-round. The city is located over 350 km east of Vancouver and Dearin says the training programs also enable him to meet and connect with employees from different locations and departments. "Together we can leverage our strengths," he says.
Innovation has played a key role in helping Rocky Mountaineer achieve and maintain its worldwide reputation for excellence. And as Sammut sees it, great ideas don't always have to focus on the big things, like creating new levels of service or adding new routes through the Pacific Northwest, B.C. and Alberta. "Innovation can happen anywhere, whether it's faster accounts payable or in how guests board the trains," he says. "Continuous improvement is the key to our future."
"We are a world class company," Dearin says. "Finding efficiencies or new ways to do my job can help the entire company perform better. It's a great feeling."