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Posted on: 03-Mar-2008 12:00AM

NV company retains recruits through staff-friendly initiatives

Written by Caroline Skelton, North Shore News

Published: Sunday, March 02, 2008

If you're still feeling peeved about the lack of Family Day in the B.C. statutory holiday schedule last month, here's some good news: turns out you may not have to move to Ontario to find the flex time you're looking for.

In the middle of the hot IT job market, North Vancouver's RSI Systems is looking at creative solutions to keep its employees happy -- one of their initiatives, so-called Health Days, offers employees three extra days off each year to make up for the lack of long weekends in February, April and June.

Other fun offerings include a complimentary transit pass, gym membership, four vacation days per year for community volunteering, and help with the tab for those who order home-delivered organic groceries.

OK, so it's not life at the Googleplex, the notoriously fun headquarters of Google Inc. that features gourmet meals, swimming pools and on-site massages. But for a little North Shore company working in web-based property management software solutions, it's a big step.

CEO Charles Ku says it all stems from a simple idea: "If we get the right people on the bus, it doesn't matter where the bus goes, it will be fine."

In the last several years, that bus has been speeding up. The company has been experiencing double-digit growth in the last three years, says Ku, and by all accounts that should continue in the future.

Part of that growth is related to the increasing acceptance of web-based software, says Ku. RSI sells and administers hotel and resort software, including property management software, online booking engines and central reservation systems. Hotels, inns and resorts can use the software to check guests in and out, assign rooms, manage room inventory, process bills and perform accounting functions.

The company's fast-paced growth has meant a growth in staff, from four people four years ago to 18 people today. So in June 2007, the company began looking at its culture, and came up with a series of incentives to create a positive workspace.

"As a small company, we pay as much as we can bear. But I think the other stuff that we offer makes the difference," says Ku.

He took over the job about three years ago, but RSI, which was once known as Resort Systems, has been in business for 30 years.

When he took the job, Ku was working in the hotel industry, and had started to think about the online future of property management systems -- to his surprise, he found RSI based here in North Vancouver, and just making the transition from a server-based company to a web-based one.

Yet Ku says he's also tried to preserve that all-important service imperative of the hotel industry -- and to offer great service, you need to start with great staff.

It all comes back to one key idea, says Ku: "You look after your staff and they'll look after your clients and the business will look after itself."

RSI Systems CEO Charles Ku is working to retain employees by tweaking the little things at the North Vancouver company that deals in hospitality industry software.

RSI Systems CEO Charles Ku is working to retain employees by tweaking the little things at the North Vancouver company that deals in hospitality industry software.

NEWS photo Mike Wakefield

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