Kicking Horse Coffee

Kicking Horse Coffee one of Canada’s top workplaces

The Columbia Valley Pioneer

By Steve Hubrecht
Pioneer Staff

Kicking Horse Coffee has pressed its way to national recognition as a great place to work.

The local company has made headlines for years as Canada’s top organic, fair-trade coffee brand, and last year was named the 15th best mid-sized workplace in country by the Great Place to Work Institute. This year Kicking Horse Coffee climbed higher up that list to 10th place, and was named 16th best workplace in Canada for women.

According to chief executive officer Elana Rosenfeld and employee experience manager Meghan Watson, earning this kind of recognition is all about the people behind the beans.

“It boils down to treating the people who work here right,” said Ms. Watson, adding that the company has specific employees programs, but the most important factor is an employee-first mindset.

“In terms of priority, we put people first, coffee second and financials third,” added Ms. Rosenfeld.

Ms. Watson said that Kicking Horse Coffee’s employee programs — a generous vacation program, for instance — help the company in the long run.

“We live in a mountain playground,” she said. “If we allow people time off to recharge, they bring their best to the organization.”

Having strong company values also really brings the team together and gives staff a sense of camaraderie, said Ms. Watson.

There are many “Best Place to Work” lists that organizations can apply to be on, and Kicking Horse Coffee chose the Great Place to Work Institute’s because much of an organization’s score is generated by employee feedback. A confidential survey goes to all employees of each company applying to be on the list, and the survey results account for two-thirds of the company’s overall score. The remaining one third comes from an open-ended questionnaire about the company’s employee programs, support for employees and getting employees into the community.

The Great Place to Work Institute considers any workplace with 10 to 1,000 people to be mid-size. Kicking Horse Coffee has 90 employees.

“There’s a lot of excitement (about the 10th place award). We’re stoked to move up five places from last year and to be Top 10 in Canada,” said Ms. Watson.

“For us it really is the most important award we’ve received. To have the opportunity to create a great place for people to work is really humbling,” said Ms. Rosenfeld. “To be the number one organic, fair trade coffee brand, and one of the top 10 brands in Canada, would not be possible without the great people we have here, so I have a lot of gratitude to our community. The valley is such a phenomenal place, and it attracts high quality people.”

“Having a great workplace makes my job as employee experience manager fun,” said Ms. Watson, adding that people applying for jobs with Kicking Horse Coffee often cite the company’s workplace culture as one of their reasons for applying.

To see the Great Place to Work Institute’s full list of Canada’s top workplaces, see www.greatplacetowork.ca.

For more on Kicking Horse Coffee, visit www.kickinghorsecoffee.com.

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