Adrena Line Adventure Tours | BCBusiness
Adrena Line staff consider the hills of Sooke their workplace.
As the top five companies in hospitality and tourism can attest, training employees well is an investment in company culture.
A dedicated team committed to excellent customer service is the best line of defence against the ups and downs – both seasonal and economic – facing the tourism and hospitality industry. But when there’s no work to be had at all for four months of the year, retaining a loyal employee roster can be a daunting challenge.
Jonathan Heerema, manager of sales, marketing and guest services at Adrena Line Adventure Tours Ltd. in Sooke, B.C., attributes the company’s 80 per cent employee return rate to its practice of investing heavily in employee training and satisfaction. Specializing in zipline adventure tours, Adrena Line takes safety seriously in its treetop adventures, putting staff members through rigorous certifications such as its Emergency Rescue and Evacuation Competency Training (ERECT) program that help them advance in the tourism industry, even if it’s with other companies.
Hospitality & Tourism
1. Tourism Victoria
2. Adrena Line Adventure Tours Ltd.
3. Daniel Hospitality Group
4. Cactus Restaurants Ltd.
5. Joe Fortes and Goldfish Restaurants
“We try to develop our employees and help them find off-season jobs where they can put their skills to work,” says Heerema, noting other tourism and hospitality outlets including Big White, Tigh Na Mara and the Victoria Regent Hotel have snapped up Adrena Line regulars from November to March when the company cuts its 27 workers loose. “Basically, we’ve created a very desirable employee.”
Adrena Line’s higher-than-normal return rate comes courtesy of workers who know they can return and continue to build a marketable skill set with the company. “Overall, if you create an environment for people to grow in, they’ll want to do well,” says Heerema. The company also encourages a strong social culture through employee-organized socials, anything from pizza night to pumpkin-carving marathons. These are held on a regular basis, with management taking care to steer clear on certain occasions to give staff some breathing room. “I’m a big believer in how culture functions in the workplace,” Heerema explains. “We don’t want it to feel like The Man is looking over your shoulder.”
Culture is equally important at Tourism Victoria. The non-profit industry group operates year-round, but the economic storm of the past few years has seen staffing levels fluctuate. CEO Rob Gialloreto credits a transparent workplace culture with keeping his full-time team of 23 cohesive during times of upheaval. Gialloreto had his staff collectively draft a formal charter outlining the core values, beliefs and expectations of the organization when he came onboard four years ago.
A clearly stated charter served him well one fateful day in early 2010 when budgetary concerns forced him to lay off three employees. “It was the most difficult day of my professional career,” he says. Staying true to his staff’s expectations, Gialloreto says he worked closely with the casualties to help them find new positions within the tourism industry, reassuring his remaining employees that the culture of respect didn’t end with the jobs that were cut. “We actually became stronger after that.”
Focusing on his employees’ professional evolution is foremost in his mind. “If they go somewhere else in the sector and it’s good for tourism, I’m fine with that,” he says. Perhaps it’s that freedom that keeps many of them firmly in place.
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