11. Kashi

Food manufacturer

BEST PERKS: Alternative work environment, Fitness, Community and environmental support
HIRING? Yes! kashi.com

Founded in 1984, Kashi dreams of a world where everyone embraces natural health. As a natural-lifestyle pioneer, Kashi is passionate about and committed to improving the health of people and our planet. By providing great-tasting, healthy, and innovative foods, Kashi enables people to achieve optimal health and wellness while also leading them on a path toward embracing a natural lifestyle. Kashi encourages people to live their best lives through its interactive online community at Kashi.com and the Kashi REAL Tour, a lifestyle immersion program and national grassroots tour that visits 16 cities around the country, educating people about the importance of natural foods and healthy living.

We dream of a world where everyone embraces natural health, but we don’t just talk about it—we live it!  To us, Kashi is more than products in packages—it’s a way of life.We are passionate about making good foods that inspire people to enjoy healthy eating. As the leading natural-foods company, we have a unique opportunity to take our mission beyond our foods to encourage people to live their best lives. Helping people eat and live naturally is the mission that inspired us 25 years ago and it’s still why we come to work each day.

Kashi is truly a fun place to work. Our office is a lively place where music, scooters, and fitness balls, Ping-Pong and flip-flops are the norm, and the people are fun, too. With a culture that nurtures a passion for our mission, Kashi is very special place to work.

Kashi offers an Annual Incentive Plan or bonus program to all salaried employees. Our quarterly social events are also recognition for all our hard work and help to inspire the team and build our knowledge and understanding of like-minded organizations. We’ve visited an artisan chocolatier café, learned about sustainable farming practices at an organic farm, and toured a local craft brewery.

Employees have access to a gym in the building with cardio and weight-training zones, locker rooms, and showers. They also have access to a large community center nearby, where employees can take advantage of the large gym, fitness and dance classes, and masters swim program. Yoga classes are also held on site in the office on a regular basis. We also have a ping pong table, scooters and a Wii Fit system which also get regularly used!

As part of our wellness program, employees are eligible for up to $1,100 of reductions in their insurance premiums for healthy living. Among the newer incentives offered are $50 for getting an annual physical and $50 for participating in a local sports or recreation league. Participants of the Go Fit challenge, where teams compete for ten weeks to log the most 'miles,' also receive a $50 reduction in their health premiums.

Employees also receive an annual stipend to support their own natural healthy lifestyle, like surfing or fitness classes.  It can also be used towards a CSA (Consumer Supported Agriculture), membership for fresh organic produce, and cooking classes.

Race entry fees are reimbursed by the company. We sponsor the San Diego Triathlon Club and a group of employees participates in the summer Aquathon series which involves an ocean swim and beach run. Employees participate in a number of events throughout the year, including the Camp Pendleton Mud Runs, the Susan G. Komen 60-Mile Walk for the Cure to support breast-cancer research, and the Carlsbad Half Marathon.

More than anything, Kashi employees love to eat healthy food, so we are fortunate to enjoy breakfast all day long. A large percentage of employees eat breakfast at the office, which encourages a sense of community. 

We promote an environment of empowerment and encourage people to manage their own time in order to deliver results.  We also implement “summer hours” which encourages individuals to finish their work at lunchtime on Friday and take advantage of starting the weekend early. Some employees surf in the mornings, so they come in a little later and stay a little later.  We also have a number of family friendly policies to help people juggling busy lives.

At Kashi, we believe nutrition and healthy foods education is a powerful way to help more people enjoy wholesome, real food. We have supported a variety of organizations including Cooking Matters™, formerly Operation Frontline® to help kids and families to prepare healthy foods on a limited budget. Since 2007 Kashi has given more than $500,000 to support the work of Cooking Matters™ and has helped reach families across the country with positive nutrition.

We have supported the United Way for more than ten years by holding an annual fundraising pledge drive and auction. We do a week of special activities to raise money including a talent show and ping pong tournament. In 2010, Kashi raised more than $26, 000 for the San Diego United Way.  We enjoy rolling up our own sleeves to lend a hand in our back yard of San Diego too. As part of our 25th anniversary, Kashi partnered with the Surfrider Foundation to host a beach cleanup at La Jolla Shores beach. Kashi employees, friends, and volunteers pitched in for a morning of cleaning and removed more than 300 pounds of trash and debris. We also planted an orchard of fruit trees at a local elementary school in partnership with the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation. Most recently, we volunteered for an afternoon of planting fruit trees and pulling weeds at the Olivewood Gardens and Learning Center.

Through project SpArK (Sustaining the Planet and Retaining Kashiness), we have influenced our entire building to begin recycling and have also influenced them to purchase environmentally friendly cleaning and restroom supplies. We’ve also implemented environmental guidelines for marketing items like T-shirts and printed materials. In addition, we have made our kitchen more eco-friendly by maintaining an office compost, using only reusable dishware and replacing our water delivery with UV filtered water stations.

We adhere to Kashi’s natural-food guidelines when ordering food for the office. We order lots of fresh fruits and veggies and, of course, whole grains. Supporting our local farms is very important to us, so we receive weekly deliveries of local produce through community-supported agriculture.

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