Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Local companies make the grade


Local outdoor apparel company Horny Toad and local footwear corporation Deckers Outdoor have gained notoriety as two of the top 30 companies to work for nationwide, as ranked by Outside magazine.
The local businesses join others — such as Google, New Belgium Brewing Company, and Cliff Bar — as the best of the best in terms of job satisfaction, benefits, compensation, environmental initiatives and community outreach.

With backyard barbeques, free yoga classes and massages, and the occasional staff ping-pong tournament, it’s not hard to see why Horny Toad made the ranks.
“Horny Toad is a company of people who know how to laugh and have fun every day,” CEO Gordon Seabury said in a prepared statement. “We’ve created an environment that fosters creativity, where work is never mundane, and employees feel good about their efforts to do the right thing for our consumers, business partners and the community.”
Employees at the apparel company can enjoy a quick, one-block stroll to the beach during lunch from its lower State Street location and often take part in staff cookouts. Their office is one undivided area, with everyone from CEO to intern sharing the same space.
Horny Toad employees also participate in a travel program that sends people with developmental disabilities on adventures around the world through the company’s nonprofit, Search for Adventure.
Deckers, which owns Teva, Simple Shoes and UGG Australia, ranked No. 7 in the large category — companies with 250 or more employees.
As with Horny Toad, masseuses are a common sight at Deckers. Employees also enjoy company picnics, sand building contests, and random barbeque and dessert festivities.
The corporation’s offices, at Fairview and Hollister avenues, are only a quick drive from Goleta Beach, where employees often take a run or get in a quick surf session during lunch.
“We are especially proud that our employees’ own surveys were the determining factor in winning this award,” Angel Martinez, president and CEO of Deckers, said in a prepared statement. “It is their commitment to each other which has driven our success so far and made Deckers such a desirable place to work.”
Outside magazine started the yearlong process by identifying a wide array of organizations with at least 15 employees and sending out confidential employee-satisfaction surveys and employer questionnaires. Using those factors, the magazine whittled down the list to 30.
“These organizations have found a way to bring company morale to a whole new level while at the same time being responsible to their local communities and the environment,” Chris Keyes, editor of Outside, said in a prepared statement. “It’s a trend that we only see increasing in the years ahead.”

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