CTHRC Awards Tourism’s Human Resource Leaders

HR Award Winner

In recent months, CTHRC has had the honour of awarding two industry leaders for raising the bar on human resource development: Mr. Pickwick’s Seafood Bistro of Vancouver, and Cambridge Suites Hotel of Sydney, Nova Scotia.

Mr. Pickwick’s took home the top prize for human resource development at the Tourism Industry Association of Canada’s Tourism Leadership Summit. This annual award recognizes businesses that have demonstrated a commitment to professionalism in the Canadian tourism workforce through professional recognition, training, and excellence in human resource management.

Known for great service and a delectable menu, Mr. Pickwick’s has been decorated with a long list of awards. The restaurant boasted a 0% turnover rate for 2007-2008. Its inclusive hiring practices ensure a diverse and hard-working staff from all walks of life. An outstanding benefits package keeps employees healthy, while training for career and personal development keeps their minds active.

The business contributes to workforce development through its ‘try out’ program. These paid student placements help young people gain hands-on experience in the food and beverage industry.

Mr. Pickwick’s success lies in communicating repeatedly with employees and involving them in making the restaurant a quality employer. Schedules reflect work-life balance and a profit-sharing program encourages product innovation.

"We have formal consultations with staff on what is working, what’s not, and what guests are asking for," says Roy Blackwell, co-owner of Mr. Pickwick’s. "As a result, employee satisfaction surveys rate benefits and superior work environment as a reason they stay, on average, eight years. Recruitment and retention are not an issue; there is a waiting list for individuals wanting to join us. Our customer surveys and comments cards always yield high praise, which we attribute to excellent in-house training in service and menu content."

Another exemplary tourism employer, the Cambridge Suites Hotel, won the Hotel Association of Canada’s Human Resources Award. This recognizes an individual, team, or property whose human resource practices rank them among the ‘new generation of leaders’ in Canada’s lodging industry.

The hotel prides itself on its exceptional HR practices. Internal and external training programs strengthen employee development, and costs for professional development and certification are fully covered by the hotel.

Cambridge Suites has been recognized by the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia for having the highest percentage of employees certified in their chosen career through the nationally recognized emerit professional certification program.

Aside from training and development initiatives, the property offers a competitive benefits package, as well as incentive programs that keep staff motivated and enthusiastic. ‘Cambridge Cash’ can be earned by employees engaging in outstanding customer service and ‘WOW prizes’ can be won for guest recognition of outstanding service. These efforts do not go unnoticed; comment cards boast a 97% guest satisfaction rate.

"Feedback from our employees concerning their development has been positive both professionally and personally," says Michele Bianchini, Cambridge Suite’s general manager. "Professionally because it enables them to be focused and confident in their present position, and personally because if they choose to move on to another career, they can continue to use the tools they have learned."

CTHRC President Wendy Swedlove, who presented both awards, states, "Strong, innovative HR practices are imperative to the success of tourism businesses in Canada. We are proud to acknowledge the achievements of Cambridge Suites Hotel and Mr. Pickwick’s Seafood Bistro. The Council will continue to provide the resources necessary to allow businesses like these to flourish."

To learn more about these awards, please visit the Hotel Association of Canada and the Tourism Industry Association of Canada.