Novel swat team helps hotel
Divide and conquer is a maxim for a lot of things, but for the Chateau Whistler it describes a unique approach to human resources.
It's not the humans who are being "divided," however, but the tasks and how people are used to getting them done.
This summer saw the hotel try out slicing off those tasks that could be done by summer students operating as something like a "swat team" to do preliminary work that could be finished off by the hotel's full-time staff.
An example is housekeeping.
The summer students would sweep into a room, strip the beds of linens and take out the garbage before moving to the next room.
Regular staff then come in to make the bed and generally finish the room down to the bar of soap and shampoo in the fancy dish.
"The program assists us during peak times when there's a ton of work," says Carole Gosse, the hotel's director of human resources, of a hotel with more than 560 rooms-worth of beds to tidy.
Although the tasks are rudimentary, high school students get summer (or occasional) employment and the hotel gets to maintain a more even number of staff throughout the year.
The alternative is to fall into the usual round of hiring and layoffs as a hotel enters then leaves peak business seasons. The biggest downside of that is a hotel loses excellent staff among those laid off in the process.
"We targeted Whistler, Pemberton and Squamish students," to be in the program, Gosse says.
The opportunity for a part-time job could continue, Gosse says, during Christmas or spring break peaks.
"Up to 7.5 months of the year can be our busy time, so why not add 40-50 people to help us out?" Gosse says.