Rick Steves has grown a very successful travel empire over the past 30 years, but despite the business being closed for several months during the coronavirus pandemic, Steves has kept his staff employed – to do community service.
According to a report by King5, the European travel guru and media personality made the decision to not shutter his Edmond, Washington headquarters, but rather to work out a way to retain his 100 employees and “support the community in a time of dire need,” which Steves said, is “a civic responsibility.”
“That’s why we have created the Rick Steves’ Volunteer Corps (RSVC). My vision is to have the flexibility within our staff to accommodate personal needs and our company needs while offering a reliable and consistent workforce for the needs of the community projects we’re supporting,” said Steves.
“We’d like to be sure the people running those programs can count on steady, substantial, and reliable help from us, rather than wonder if tomorrow’s shift will be covered,” the report quoted.
Steves continued, “This will give our staff the dignity of producing something of value for the hours they’re being paid. And we hope it will inspire other companies in a similar circumstance to also contribute—by helping those struggling in their community as we are in ours,” King5 quoted.
How are Steves’ employees helping the community?
According to the report, employees’ community service includes working with food banks, cleaning local trails, delivering food to Snohomish County seniors, and working the phone bank to stress the importance of voting – “a big commitment from a business that hasn’t made any money in 2020,” the report added.
Steves said, “Last year, we took 30,000 people to Europe, and this year, we had 20,000 signed up but had to cancel and refund all of their money,” the report quoted.
Why did Steves make the decision to retain his staff?
“He said if he was a publicly-traded company that they would likely tell him to cut his losses and lay off the staff, but Steves said he’s made a good living over 30 years and owes that to his employees,” the report cited.