Tuesdays at Ten: Boler Moutain

Boler Mountain
Boler Moutain
Sep 02, 2014

On Tuesday September 2, 2014 we spoke with Marty Thody, Director of Operations at Boler Mountain about hiring people with disabilities. Boler Mountain is located at 698 Griffith Street in London, Ontario and is open year round. In the summer months they offer mountain biking and fitness trails as well as their renowned Tree Top Adventure Park. In the winter, skiing and snowboarding, Snow School and tubing are on the menu. Not only does Boler Mountain offer something for everyone, they also embrace the philosophy that people of all abilities are essential to making the Boler Mountain experience a positive one. We were also pleased to welcome Carleen Green, Employment Specialist from Leads Employment Services to our discussion.

If you hire a diverse group of people, everyone brings something different to the team & you end up with more of a community.

Marty at the bottom of the Boler Mountain hills, standing beside sign that says mountain bike and fitness trails are open.

Marty Thody, Director of Operations Boler Mountain

Twitter Transcript: 

Ability First: Thanks for joining us this morning Marty. Can you tell us more about @bolermountain?

Boler Mountain

Boler Mountain: We are a year round not-for-profit community recreational facility. In summer, offer mountain biking, trails & tree top adventure park, with close to 15,000 visits this summer.

Ability First: You display a map of your international visitors and it's very impressive!

Boler Mountain

Boler Mountain: In winter we see close to 120,000 visits with skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing.

Ability First: How long have you been in business?

Boler Mountain

Boler Mountain: We were founded in 1946.

Ability First: 1946…that means you’ve been operating for 68 years. Congratulations! How many employees do you have?

Boler Mountain

Boler Mountain: Depending on winter conditions, between 250 to 300 during peak season.

Ability First: You employ a number of #PWD [Persons with Disabilities] and your philosophy is that all your employees are part of the team. Can you explain?

Boler Mountain

Boler Mountain: We focus on communication and foster a family-like environment with many training sessions leading into season.

Ability First: Did you have prior experience working with #PWD?

Boler Mountain

Boler Mountain: My Father was a general contractor, did a lot of work for places like @HuttonHouseLdn and also employed #PWD.

Ability First: How did this experience help shape your outlook on hiring #PWD?

Boler Mountain

Boler Mountain: No different from working with any other co-worker, we all have limitations of some kind.

Ability First: What is your hiring philosophy?

Boler Mountain

Boler Mountain: If you hire diverse group of people, everyone brings something different to team & you end up with more of a community.

Ability First: Community is a strong theme both in terms of employment there and the visitor experience.

Boler Mountain

Boler Mountain: We’re delivering an experience. If person goes away with negative experience, never coming back. If you have a diverse group of employees, which we do, able to make positive experience for all. People come back.

Ability First: That’s a really important point! Can you describe some of the positions filled by #PWD?

Boler Mountain

Boler Mountain: Seamless with the rest of our hiring, in all areas: Food Services, Outside Operations, Customer Service & Snow School.

Ability First: How have your employees with #disabilities worked out for you?

Boler Mountain

Boler Mountain: Great! Really don’t look at #PWD as any different. Expect same level performance from all employees & get it. As with any employee, we just want to put someone in a position where they are going to succeed.

Ability First: You’ve said more success when individual discloses #disability & opens lines of communication. Can you elaborate?

Boler Mountain

Boler Mountain: If not necessarily comfortable talking to your supervisor, just pick someone to talk to. Communication for all employees is key for us here as it leads to improved workplace & experience for visitors.

Ability First: Has safety of employees with #disabilities ever been an issue?

Boler Mountain

Boler Mountain: To best of knowledge, we’ve never had employee with #disability have WSIB claim. Other employees have.

Ability First: And as far as absenteeism, has this been higher with your employees with #disabilities?

Boler Mountain

Boler Mountain: We’ve never have a problem with this.

Ability First: We hear this echoed by employers over and over. How about employee retention for those with #disabilities?

Boler Mountain

Boler Mountain: Same as any other employee. Seasonal biz difficult as employees secure something more permanent in off season. They spread the Boler love!

Ability First: How has @LEADSEmployment worked with you?

Boler Mountain

Boler Mountain: Seamless. Job fair, discussed abilities, provided on-site job coaching. We do same thing with other staff as well, first few weeks of operations experienced people will be shadowed by new. Hands on learning. Lot of peer support training.

Ability First: And @LEADSEmployment, how has @bolermountain worked with you in return?

Leads Employment Services

Leads Employment Services: @bolermountain has had an open door & open mind in working with Leads. Their view on hiring #PWD is based entirely on skills presented & how these compliment team at @bolermountain. @bolermountain has great natural supports available & are inviting to on-site job coaching that Leads provides.

Ability First: What was the reason you first approached @bolermountain?

Leads Employment Services

Leads Employment Services: As you’ve heard today, @bolermountain has positive preconceptions about hiring people with disabilities.

Ability First: What are some the common misconceptions you hear from other employers about hiring #PWD?

Leads Employment Services

Leads Employment Services: Biggest concern is safety. These concerns are warranted for every employee, but should not be specific to #PWD.

Ability First: As we’ve learned from @bolermountain & overall statistics, WSIB claims are very low for #PWD compared to others. Also important for employers to know, hiring #PWD does not effect your WSIB premiums. @bolermountain - what is your advice for other employers?

Boler Mountain

Boler Mountain: If you’re not hiring #PWD, you’re overlooking opportunity. There’s a dynamic that really helps in dev of team. Hire as much for the personality because we can teach anybody a task, and the rest of the skills come. Personality is key because delivering a non-tangible experience, guests only go home with a memory and if it’s a positive experience and they have fun we’ve done a good job and they will return.

Ability First: Excellent points! We hear you have a job fair coming up. Is this how you recommend people apply to work there?

Boler Mountain

Boler Mountain: Yes, we do all of our hiring through our job fair and encourage #PWD to attend.

Ability First: For more information on the @bolermountain job fair for the 2014/2015 season visit: http://www.bolermountain.com/employment/

Ability First: Thank you so much to Marty Thody from @BolerMountain for joining us to talk about putting ability first in the workplace. Do support this great London, Ontario business that hires for ability first! We also thank Carleen Green for lending her voice & experience to our discussion as well as a huge thank you to everyone that joined us for this month’s #Tuesat10.

 

 

Leads Employment Services