1. Natural Habitat Adventures

Adventure-travel operator

LOCATION: Boulder, CO
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 35
BEST PERKS: Travel, Fitness, Community & environmental support
HIRING?: No. nathab.com

Natural Habitat Adventures has been a leader in responsible nature travel and ecotourism for more than 25 years. From world-class polar-bear-watching adventures in Canada to life-enhancing Galapagos journeys and safaris in Africa’s most remote locales, NHA’s professional naturalist guides help travelers explore the planet’s most revered natural places. Employees of Natural Habitat are generally thrilled to be working within the company for so many reasons—the primary being the product we offer. Creating, marketing, and selling the world’s best nature-focused small-group safaris is an exciting field. We are all travelers to the core, and we vicariously enjoy our passion through the creation of exciting expeditions. 

COMPANY CULTURE
The Natural Habitat team is a collection of dog-friendly, fun-loving spirits who work hard but tend to play even harder. Management encourages this philosophy and grants fantastic travel perks to augment product knowledge while fulfilling very special trip experiences.

EMPLOYEE RECOGNITION AND AWARDS
We have a bonus structure in place for most departments, with bonuses based on such goals as assisting a certain number of travelers in a month to managing specific-size destinations in terms of numbers of travelers. Team leaders have year-end bonuses based on overall company health and revenue. We have numerous travel incentives for our employees, involving a two-week site inspection each year. We each have the chance to join one of our high-end wildlife safaris abroad annually, with a handsome travel budget that covers nearly all expenses. Summerfest, Winterfest, and the holiday party: company-organized events when we close the office entirely and take the entire staff on a lengthy outing. Winterfest is regularly a chartered bus to ski all day, with dinner and bar hops on the return drive home. Summerfest has been multi-day rafting trips, parties at the reservoir, etc. These are team-building and morale-boosting opportunities, as well as the chance to socialize with upper management.

FITNESS BENEFITS
Natural Habitat Adventures provides a state-of-the-art fitness center, which employees can use and access any time at no cost. The two-story structure supports aerobic machines on one level, with top-of-the-line weights, machines, and open mat space to support any type of indoor exercise need on the other level. We have a group workout space where we offer complimentary yoga and Pilates classes, and personalized small groups like P90X. A trainer has several group-workout sessions scheduled in which small groups of employees commit together to participate. Our office is located in a rural setting, with hiking and biking trails linked to our lot. We actively encourage everyone to spend time outside, eat well in our subsidized organic cafeteria, enjoy fitness classes, the gym, and the outdoor beauty of Colorado. We allow everyone the chance to take a longer lunch or leave early on Fridays from time to time to enjoy the great outdoors in summer. We also provide company ski passes, which we allow employees to sign up for and use at any time—even on heavy snow days during the week, if their work is covered.

FLEXTIME
Natural Habitat Adventures offers flexible work hours for parents and additional paid time off in the event of family emergencies. We recognize that many of our employees have family obligations that they must juggle along with their work lives, and we do our best to aid with that process while still allowing them to be effective members of our industry. We have also granted longtime employees a leave of absence for a three-month period to live and work in Africa, holding their job until their return. On top of their two weeks of site inspection (during which NHA pays for their adventure), employees start with three weeks of vacation and receive a fourth week after three years of service.

COMMUNITY SERVICE
We donate on average 25 Polar Bear trips annually (valued at $5,000 each) to a large number of worthy nonprofits, causes, and events. These organizations support terminally ill children, conservation initiatives, and education. We also donate to local charities such as the Louisville Food Bank, Bike to Work, Hope for the Child of War exhibit, Yoga Mats for Haiti, Team Ellie Bike Tour for Children with Cancer, Rock ’n’ Roll Denver Marathon, Crayons to Calculators, and the Giving Tree.

GREEN INITIATIVES
We incentivize our employees to limit their contribution to the greenhouse effect by carpooling, taking alternative transportation, or riding a bicycle to work. This incentive is based on Patagonia Points, which are earned on a scale based on the number of miles alternative transportation was used each day and can be cashed in at the end of the year for equipment from Patagonia. We participate in Bike to Work Day (at nearly 100 percent participation) as part of our own commitment to rewarding employees for reducing the consumption of fossil fuels in transportation to work, and our building is run on solar energy. We also carbon-offset 100 percent of our operations, including printing, air travel, and fuel for vehicles.

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