“Company culture” has become something of a buzz word in the business world. It refers to the “personality” of a company, and specifically, what it feels like from an employee’s perspective to work there.
When this concept came to our attention a few years ago, we instituted a practice of asking every employee in our company to write and submit a brief essay articulating their experience of the company culture of Breckenridge Grand Vacations. This exercise serves as a sort of milestone as each employee reaches the completion of her or her first year of employment.
What has become clear as the employee essays roll in is that the company’s culture is not defined by the company owners – Mike Dudick, my brother Rob and myself – or even by the executive team. The culture of BGV, the tone of the work environment, the support and cooperation among co-workers, the high standards of service they work to maintain, and the deep sense of family, are now owned by all. They are a part of each executive, manager, supervisor and employee. And happily, their perceptions did in fact match up with what we have always aspired to create.
As I read through the essays, though, it also dawned on me that it is through becoming part of the BGV team rather than through our formal training programs that the reality of the culture of family and of service is passed on to new employees and from them to new members of our vacation ownership family. They learn it from the day-to-day interaction with their co-workers; they absorb it from the environment.
That might make executives of some companies nervous, feeling that they may have lost “control” of the orientation of new employees and of the evolving company culture. On the contrary, I couldn’t be happier. The fact that our employees can so clearly voice the sense of family that they have experienced here and the commitment to excellent service they are a part of, and more, that new employees feel drawn into that culture from their first day, tells me that we have done something right. It tells me that everyone, from top down and bottom up, knows that they have a seat on the bus, and that they know that even if they aren’t driving – and don’t even want to drive – the bus, they know that it is important that their seat is filled, and that it is filled by them.
Family is who we have aspired to be, and family is what we have become. It is also clear from the essays that our employees really do feel that you, our owners, are part of the family. That is no small part of what keeps them working for BGV, looking forward to seeing you on your next visit to Breckenridge. It is also what makes me proudest of all we have accomplished.