Recently, I spoke with Joel Chevalier, Director of Employee Experience at Whistler Blackcomb, the top rated ski resort in North America. As a premium hospitality venue, Whistler Blackcomb relies on their employees to deliver superb customer service at every possible touchpoint. Many customers view Whistler as a trip of a lifetime. Their reviews on sites like TripAdvisor are overwhelming positive, with the majority describing a 5 star experience. Of course their setting is beautiful, but delivering the experience they call a “memorable mountain adventure” happens one employee at a time.
I spoke to Joel about how Whistler does it. What he described to me was a strategy for employee attraction, retention and motivation – on steroids. During the peak ski period, they employ over 3800 people – about a third of whom are new each year. Of their total workforce of 3800, about 3000 are seasonal. Joel is responsible for making sure that the organization has enough of the right kind of people who can make that customer experience extraordinary. You can listen in on our conversation below where we discuss the following:
- How do they find candidates to fill this seasonal spike?
- How do they keep their employees motivated – especially those with the less glamorous and visible jobs?
- The season is short – how do they develop the skills their new employees need to be successful?
- A lot of their employees are young, in fact many may be living away from home for the first time. What types of supports do they provide to help their less experienced workers adjust to the world of work?