FUN COUNTS IN THIS WORKPLACE
Written on the 13 September 2012
A PRO-ACTIVE investment in staff has helped the RCI Pacific holiday accommodation network develop an enjoyable and rewarding workplace for its employees.
RCI Pacific is a fun place to work – and that’s official!
It was the only Gold Coast travel company to be commended at the 2012 Best Places to Work awards in Sydney, ranked 36th among 50 finalists.
The praise came after about 68,000 employees from companies across the nation completed a survey in partnership with the Great Place To Work Institute. To identify Australia’s best and most productive workplace, questions scrutinised everything from perks and pay to workplace culture.
Judges say RCI achieved “highly favourable” levels of employee trust, pride and solidarity.
It also excelled in the so-called “culture audit”, which gauges levels of credibility, fairness and respect for management.
RCI credits its high level of investment in staff satisfaction for the recognition. The 80-plus workforce at RCI enjoys flexible working hours, well-being programs, health checks, flu shots, counselling, referral bonuses, training allowances and an extra six weeks’ paid maternity leave.
“We allow parents the option of dropping kids off at school and picking them up afterwards, encouraging staff to use the office gym and getting active through funding half of their Gold Coast Marathon entry fees,” says managing director Charisse Cox (pictured second from the right with staff).
“We organise lots of social club outings, do training for several days offsite, have a Nintendo Wii videogame console and staff library where books and DVDs can be borrowed for the weekend.”
She believes the accolade helps “solidify” the timeshare and greater tourism industries, which have remained resilient beside the top industries of mining, finance and information technology despite a shaky global economy.
RCI, an international timeshare exchange group, is headquartered in Bundall. It services the holiday needs of more than 80,000 members in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji with 4000 affiliated resorts in 100 countries.
The group is confident that its positive staff empowerment, development and workplace culture will attract prospective employees from afar.
“We invest substantially in staff engagement because experience shows that the more engaged individuals are, the more productive they become thus requiring less managerial control,” says human resources manager Frieda Murphy.
“We take great pride in the hard work we have put into our staff empowerment, development and workplace culture.”
RCI encourages professional development through offering staff enrolment in a tourism diploma course at the One Step Further Institute of Excellence (OSFIC) in Coolangatta.
It is also runs a mentoring program where staff attend lunches and learn about budgeting and operations of different company departments.
“We recently gave a call-centre operator the chance to work in our marketing team for several days. He really valued the opportunity and vowed to work his way up there one day,” says Cox.
“We also let our call-centre staff relocate and work from one of our many offi ces in Australasia, new Zealand, europe, Canada, South Africa, the Americas and Middle east for six weeks.”
When it comes to philanthropy, the company has supported the Animal Welfare League, Queensland flood appeal, Salvation Army Food Bank, eyes on Surfers Paradise multicultural campaign and OSFiC’s appeal for pre-loved clothes and electronics for the disadvantaged.
Such community service also extends to any internal staff experiencing financial hardship.
“We build up a staff fund through holding auctions and social club raffles. When someone has an unforseen need, a confidential email is sent internally and staff voluntarily pitch in. the amount does not have to be paid back,” says Cox.
In recognition of employee achievement, monthly Moments of Merit Awards are held in the categories of service, rental, top gun, member activations and team of the month. Winners receive prizes ranging from certificates and gift cards to an extra day’s paid leave or a $100 shopping voucher.
When a worker fails to meet expectations, RCI embraces a compassionate approach. “if people do not perform at satisfactory levels, do not turn up to work or behave inappropriately, we educate them on the right thing to do through our disciplinary process,” says Cox.
“Discipline is about knowing requirements of the role and meeting them.”
RCI’s corporate-slogan posters have produced positive results.
“Our ‘count on me’ philosophy stands for acting with integrity, supporting communities, respecting everyone and everywhere, improving our customers’ lives and providing individual opportunity and accountability,” says Cox.
“By upholding a culture of exceptional service, we drive employee engagement and retention as well as customer and brand loyalty.”
ANALYST WINS NEWCOMER AWARD
An RCI Pacific strategic data analyst has been crowned newcomer of the Year at the 2012 Australian timeshare and holiday ownership Council (ATHOC) industry awards.
First-year employee roland Porst accepted the accolade during an award ceremony at the Arts Centre gold Coast. the event was attended by more than 280 industry heavyweights.
The ATHOC awards program invites nominations from across the nation and honours achievement in 16 categories within the timeshare and holiday ownership industry.
Judges agreed that Porst not only showed a high level of dedication and energy in his role, but also had a positive impact on the company with his “fresh eye” for change.
RCI credits the international vacation-exchange group’s employee empowerment for the win.
“Identifying opportunities for change and implementing processes to improve business effi ciency are areas that successful organisations recognise as imperative for growth and continued success,” says Cox.
“Roland is in his first year with the industry and a shining example of why we invest heavily in staff engagement. We have found that our employees are more productive and forthcoming with innovative suggestions regardless of how long they have worked at RCI.”
RCI was represented by other nominees including Yves Kangleon (Corporate Performer of the Year), Leanne Charles (excellence in Service), Dianne Mitchell (Corporate Manager of the Year) and the entire Member Services operations team (Corporate team of the Year).
“As the Pacific arm of RCI, we have proven ourselves to be extremely resilient and our industry continues to contribute significantly to the Australian economy,” says Cox.
“In an otherwise tough economic period for the tourism industry, timeshare resorts are running occupancy rates around the 90 per cent mark.”
Cox takes great pride in the 25 years she has spent working for RCI.
“I am still here because I never really had reason to look elsewhere," she says.
“I have felt secure in my job, was paid fairly for what I did, found the company helped me when I needed it and RCI continues to be an exciting, fun and interesting place to work,” she says.
“If you come to work for us, you should enjoy it. our team is somewhat relaxed, not hard and fast on rules and regulations. We like to dress up and have fun.”
The culture spreads across the business and around the world. earlier this year, RCI’s Mexican office was named a best place to work for the sixth consecutive year while its US office in Indianapolis was crowned best place to work for the fourth year in a row.