Aug. 1, 2013 -- intro:
Want to work at one of the best places in the country? Try aiming for a small company, preferably in Colorado.
Twenty-seven of Outside magazine's 100 best places to work were located in Colorado, including half in the top 10.
Only one of the magazine's top 10 companies had more than 100 employees.
Working with the Outdoor Industry Association and Best Companies Group, Outside first identified nonprofit and for-profit companies and organizations that had at least 15 employees. In confidential employee and employer surveys, Outside then asked about compensation, benefits, policies and job satisfaction, and highlighted companies that offered "fitness-friendly" perks and were socially and environmentally responsible.
The founder of the No. 1 company, GroundFloor Media, said that instead of focusing on work-life balance GroundFloor had long "built a culture around the concept of a work-life blend, where our team members have the autonomy to work when they are able, and live their personal lives when those things near and dear to us are happening," GroundFloor founder Laura Love said.
"Whether that's hitting the ski slopes when it's just snowed a foot in Vail, or attending a child's school event midafternoon, those are the things that our employees value, so we give them the flexibility to live their lives that way without any questions asked."
Love said the results for the small public relations firm were "employees who work harder, clients that are happier and an attrition rate that is terrifically low."
Here are the top 10 companies on the Outside list.
quicklist:1 category: 15 employees title: GroundFloor Media, Denver media: 19838496 text: This public relations firm, where employees can work anywhere, even at the on-site gym or alongside "multiple office dogs," had zero turnover in 2012, according to Outside. Workers are offered up to four hours of paid time per month to volunteer. Every Groundhog Day, the staff spends a company-paid evening at a resort -- families welcome, Outside reported.
quicklist:2 category: 22 employees title: Zen Planner, Highlands Ranch, Colo. media: 19838160 text: This management software producer for fitness-related businesses offers yoga and nutrition instruction. "At regular chug-and-learn sessions, employees enjoy free beer while developers talk up the program's newest features," Outside reported.
quicklist:3 category: 19 employees title: MercuryCSC, Bozeman, Mont. media: 19838030 text: Employees at this creative-marketing agency plan their own hours under a flexible scheduling policy. The company's "30-Day 23 Ways Holiday Charity Challenge" encourages staff to pursue month-long personal improvement projects, and rewards them by making a donation to the nonprofit of their choice.
quicklist:4 category: 35 employees title: Tenacious Holdings Inc., Saint Paul, Minn. media: 19838278 text: "Competition is the name of the game at this protective workwear producer," Outside reported. "Staff members come together for monthly "dirty jobs" meets and office-style competitions that range from wild game cookoffs to wellness bingo. The dress code? Wear clothes."
quicklist:5 category: 165 employees title: ReadyTalk, Denver media: 19839533 text: "The staff at this audio- and web-conferencing provider knows how to have fun. Hula hoops, Nerf guns and beer kegs abound in the break-room-turned-nerd-lounge," reported Outside.
quicklist:6 category: 31 employees title: Seeley Lake Elementary, Seeley Lake, Mont. media: 19838334 text: Staff at this pre-kindergarten through eighth grade public school enjoys "frequent excursions on school-owned bikes, canoes, rafts and Nordic ski equipment," according to Outside. The school also has a bike repair shop and a bouldering wall.
quicklist:7 category: 84 employees title: Beach Cities Health District, Redondo Beach, Calif. media: 19839052 text: Workers at this preventive care facility can earn "fit rewards" for classes and wellness activities that can be cashed in for gift cards, massage packages or personal training packages, Outside reported.
quicklist:8 category: 36 employees title: Blue Tent Marketing, Carbondale, Colo. media: 19838962 text: Employees of Internet marketing company Blue Tent can go rafting during lunch breaks and have an office fridge consistently stocked with free beer. Flex days allow employees to take advantage of their discounted Aspen ski passes after powder dumps. A shuttle service goes straight to the ski slopes from a nearby park and ride, reported Outside.
quicklist:9 category: 54 employees title: Gnip, Boulder, Colo. media: 19838905 text: Outside applauded Gnip's gold LEED-certified building, which in lieu of offices has an open workspace where the CEO works alongside the interns. Its kitchen is stocked with Whole Foods items, and the company has a kegerator and bar. Outside ID'd Gnip as the "exclusive provider of social data for Tumblr, WordPress and more."
quicklist: 10 category: 36 employees title: The Grauer School, Encinitas, Calif. media: 19838761 text: This small, private prep school has an outdoor campus with five coastal acres, including two acres designated as a native wildlife corridor. Teachers and students write proposals for "humanitarian or ecologically focused trips worldwide," reported Outside. Recent trips included Hawaii, Cuba and Tanzania.