Meet the N.L. company that offers unlimited vacation, and video games at lunch

James McLeod jmcleod@thetelegram.com
Published on October 16, 2016

Vigilant Management CEO Terry Hussey is looking to upend the culture of work, offering unlimited vacation, flexible work hours, and subsidized education for employees.

©James McLeod/The Telegram

PARADISE, N.L. - Terry Hussey, CEO of Vigilant Management, says that it can be a bit of an adjustment when employees come to work for him.

Unlimited vacation, no tracked sick days, profit sharing, video games at lunch and other perks all take a bit of getting used to.

Yes, that’s right, unlimited vacation.

If you ask him, Hussey will give you the 60-second pitch on what Vigilant Management does — providing management services for industrial and commercial construction projects, keeping things on schedule and on budget.

But from the Vigilant office in Paradise, Hussey’s says his real driving motivation is different: to upend the culture of work and the corporate model.

“And I’m trying to prove this perhaps naive, utopian vision of what business could be,” Hussey said.

“If somebody needs a couple days off, take a couple days off. If you want to plan a vacation, well, plan your vacation. You don’t need to ask permission, just make sure all your work is covered off.”

Hussey said the company also aggressively encourages employees to get educated, and the employer will pay up to 80 per cent of the tuition costs.

“I think it was within my first week of starting, I was asked to do two things, and that was download a computer game and further my education,” said Todd Tremblett.

Sure enough, Tremblett said that even though he’s not much of a gamer, he plays Overwatch with co-workers at lunch, and he’s pursuing a bachelor of technology degree from MUN.

When you really drill into the details of the Vigilant Management philosophy, it’s pretty radical.

“Profit isn’t a driving motive for us,” Hussey said.

“If somebody says you can have an extra $10 million a year in revenue but you need to change the way you do business and change the way you treat people, I’m going to say no thanks.”

He hasn’t won over any competitors to adopt similar policies yet, but Hussey was named one of the Top 50 CEOs by Atlantic Business magazine earlier this year.

“There’s a remarkable thing that survival does as an entrepreneur. You gain a certain amount of respect just by surviving,” Hussey said.