2. EMPSi

Environmental-consulting group

LOCATION: Boulder, Co
BEST PERKS: Flex time, Community & environmental support, Swag
HIRING: Yes! empsi.com

We are a national consulting firm committed to making the world a better place by solving complex environmental problems related to natural-resource management, renewable energy, and water resources. We are recognized experts in natural-resource and recreation planning, environmental-impact analysis, biological surveys, wetland delineations, stream and land restoration, permitting, visual simulations, economic analysis, geographic information systems, and public outreach and facilitation. Additionally, we provide training services and have published three books and smartphone applications focused on compliance with environmental law.

We attract and retain the best people in the field by supporting a culture that balances work, life, and social responsibility. We loathe to speak for our staff, so here are their quotes: “Flexibility... Work here if you want to have a life.” “Supports an individual’s professional and personal goals.” “Knowing my opinion is valued.” “Hardworking, yet easygoing staff that work as a team.” “EMPSi pays 100 percent of health-insurance premiums.” “Company allows the staff to be as diverse as possible in the types of roles they play.” “I like bike parking. I like having enough money. I like interesting, long-term projects.” “Commitment to our communities.” 

EMPSi makes incentive payments or bonus contributions to employees throughout the year, what we call our Wow Bonus. Typically, these are based on individual employees’ “above and beyond” actions. All employees are eligible, and the bonuses range from gift cards to cash distributions. EMPSi may also make tax-free payments to eligible employees through the EMPSi profit-sharing plan, which rewards employees for their continued work to make EMPSi successful. These contributions are based on performance for the previous year. All employees are eligible. In addition to doing a match of up to 5 percent for retirement programs, we also do a discretionary pay out (tax free) that over the past three years has been, respectively, 8, 5, and 8.7 percent of employees’ compensation (no employee contribution necessary); any employee who worked more than 500 hours receives this payout (note: this is in addition to our retirement-matching program). EMPSi sponsors an annual all-expense-paid off-site three-day workshop to discuss all aspects of the business and set the course for the next year. Topics include benefits, corporate finances for the fiscal year, target markets, project management, technical training, and client relations. Fun activities are integrated throughout the workshop to promote both formal and informal communication. Our 2010 workshop was held at Rocky Mountain National Park. 

EMPSi’s staff have a wide range of fitness interests. EMPSi’s policies support employees’ participation in fitness and wellness programs they choose to meet their individual preferences and physical needs. Policies like flexible work hours allow staff to ski in the morning or ride horses in the afternoon. Offices are located near designated trails that employees can use for biking, walking, and running. Many of these trails also serve as alternative transportation for commuting. EMPSi provides on-site storage facilities for bikes and other equipment. EMPSi also participates in various events to promote employees to be active, such as bike-to-work days and alternative-commuting competitions. Our staff are an active group, as illustrated by the fact that EMPSi won the 2011 Bike to Work Business Challenge of Boulder County based on participation level.

EMPSi donates a percentage of our net profit to charities focusing on children, adult literacy, health, environment, the arts, and animal welfare. In the past two years, EMPSi has contributed to 35 organizations. We encourage employees to be good corporate citizens and match 25 percent of their contributions to eligible charities up to an annual limit of $1,000 per employee. In addition, employees are paid two days per calendar year to volunteer with eligible charities. Lastly, EMPSi is proud to sponsor our employees and their families when they participate in outdoor fundraising events, such as the AIDS/LifeCycle ride and the Education and Learning for Kids golf tournament.

As part of our corporate policies, our Green Guidelines shape everything from what we buy (e.g., Energy Star equipment) to day-to-day operations, such as recycling and carbon-footprint-reduction strategies. We support policies to promote clean air, like providing a monthly stipend to employees who use public transportation. This commitment was proven by EMPSi’s San Francisco office winning two of six awards in the Bay Area’s 2010 Great Race for Clean Air. In each of our offices, we have invested in videoconferencing technology to reduce the need for travel via car and air to different locations.

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