Recognized as one of BC's Top Employers
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 22, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why Rocky Mountaineer was selected as one of BC's Top Employers (2018):
- Working with other charitable organizations, Rocky Mountaineer manages the unique "Train for Heroes" charitable initiative, hosting local heroes and their families for a special train ride through the Rockies -- past initiatives have included a trip for organ donors, their families and transplant recipients, and a special train ride for volunteers who worked tirelessly through the Fort McMurray wildfires
- Rocky Mountaineer employees can take advantage of their local surroundings with discounted rail passes (including for friends and family) and 3 weeks of starting vacation allowance
- Along with maternity leave top-up payments, Rocky Mountaineer offers New Child Days, 10 days of paid leave for new parents immediately before or after the birth or adoption of a child
At Rocky Mountaineer, it's all about the journey
At Rocky Mountaineer, it's all about the journey -- not just for the passengers on the unique rail tours through the Rocky Mountains but also for the employees. It is the staff, after all, who create the "life-changing experiences" that Rocky Mountaineer is committed to providing its guests.
"Everything we do is to further that purpose," explains Adam Charania, Vice-President of Human Resources. "If we treat our people as our most valuable asset and try to create great moments for our team members, they will in turn create great experiences for our guests and our partners."
Creating memories comes easily to the employees of Rocky Mountaineer. "The people on our team are engaged, passionate and committed to providing this life-changing experience onboard," says Vacation Consultant Helen Crabtree. British-born Crabtree worked "four amazing seasons" onboard, having the opportunity to be part of an experience with visitors from around the world and developing friendships. "We had a tight team, which felt like family," she says.
That has been crucial to Rocky Mountaineer's success. "How we stay as a high-growth company has been around making sure we are one team, making sure we are having fun," says Charania. That means great company events -- from the annual Christmas party at their train station in Vancouver to dodgeball games, yoga and team events.
"I'm proud to work for a company that invests in the people and treats their employees so well," says Crabtree. "Rocky Mountaineer really does consider their people as an imperative. They want us to understand the five-year strategic plan, what part of that plan we are and how we fit in as individuals."
And because Rocky Mountaineer invests in its employees, trains them and provides excellent benefits, it also wants to retain them. In the last couple of years, it has introduced a career development framework, where employees can work with their managers to develop a plan to get where they want to go. "Because we have very distinct types of work in our organization, there's so much diversity and so many opportunities to move," Charania adds. "We promoted or laterally moved approximately 10 per cent of our work force in the last year."
Everything the organization has introduced over the past two years has been the result of listening to its employees, including a new office with more natural light and collaborative spaces. "It's a team effort here," says Charania. "That's the most important part of the journey."
Recognized as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Apr 12, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why Rocky Mountaineer was selected as one of Canada's Top Small & Medium Employers (2018):
- BC-based rail tour operator Rocky Mountaineer is growing at an incredible pace, creating 47 new full-time positions in the past year -- a year-over-year increase of nearly 25%
- Rocky Mountaineer encourages employees to save for the future with annual RSP contributions and offers referral bonuses for employees who recruit candidates from their personal networks (from $750 to $1,500, depending on the position)
- Rocky Mountaineer recognizes exceptional performance through its Circle of Excellence program, featuring awards in 8 different categories including Rookie of the Year, the President's Certificate of Excellence, Innovation, and the Unsung Hero Award
Making life-changing experiences at Rocky Mountaineer
During his first few days on the job of Vancouver-based Rocky Mountaineer, President Steve Sammut went down to the station to meet a train returning from a two-day trip. He watched as guests poured out of the train, hugging their hosts and exchanging phone numbers. One guest approached him and asked what he did; when he told her, she hugged him. "It made such an impression on me," says Sammut.
"It really is magic that happens on board that train."
There's no doubt that one of the things that makes Rocky Mountaineer so special is its product: scenic rail tours through spectacular terrain. In fact, the company's purpose is to be the creator of life-changing experiences. "It sounds lofty but it's really what we try to do for every single guest, even though we have thousands and thousands every year," Sammut says. "We always remind ourselves that for each individual this is a dream trip, so we want to make it a great, memorable occasion for them."
To do that, they need to have team members who are united in that goal and who approach it with as much excitement as the guests. After 10 years of running his own business, Anthony Chamy was a bit hesitant about working for another company. But all his fears were alleviated after a few phone calls with people from Rocky Mountaineer. "No matter who I was talking to -- from all levels in the company -- everybody was extremely open, personable, intelligent and friendly," recalls Chamy, recently promoted to National Sales Manager, Canada. Four years since that call and his initial impression has held up: "There's always the sense that everybody's on the same side."
Employees are kept in the loop about the company's plans so they feel they are all working together toward the same goal. "We really try hard here to let people know what we're doing, why we're doing it and where they fit in," Sammut adds. "And then we try to keep them updated on the progress we're making."
Sammut and Chamy believe that at the end of the day, Rocky Mountaineer's success is directly related to the people who work there. "The people here have a lot of genuine passion for the product," Chamy notes. "You can feel it oozing out of them."
The company invests in many kinds of training for its team, including leadership and development courses led by professors from both the University of British Columbia and Harvard, and provides plenty of opportunities for employees who wish to advance their careers. "We empower our team members to put as much time as they want into developing their careers," Sammut says.
Many employees mentor and train others, get involved on boards or speak at local organizations. "We really try to get out there and play a part in growing our industry," says Sammut. The company also encourages team members to be involved in the community with company-sponsored volunteer time. "I regularly hear colleagues saying they're off to the Boys and Girls Club or doing auctions to raise funds for the club," says Chamy. "It makes me proud to be part of that."
Employee turnover is low for full-time, year-round employees, and about 75 per cent of Rocky Mountaineer's seasonal team returns every year -- a pretty big number, as Sammut notes.
"There's a strong belief that people are the most important asset of the company," adds Chamy. "I think that's what enables Rocky Mountaineer to keep talented people longer, because you really feel valued and part of something special."