HAPPY EMPLOYEES  Kicking Horse Coffee staff pose with their certificate of recognition for being named the 15th best place to work in Canada. Photo by Breanne Massey

HAPPY EMPLOYEES Kicking Horse Coffee staff pose with their certificate of recognition for being named the 15th best place to work in Canada. Photo by Breanne Massey

By Breanne Massey, Pioneer Staff

Kicking Horse Coffee has brewed up a warming success story in the heart of the Columbia Valley.

The Invermere-based business has recently been named #15 on the Best Workplaces in Canada list created by the Great Place to Work Institute Canada for 2015.

This years list received over 200 nominations and lured out over 60,000 employees to compete in employee feedback sessions and an in-depth review about the organizations culture, including credibility, respect, fairness, pride and camaraderie.

Our team kicks ass, said Elana Rosenfeld, chief executive officer at Kicking Horse Coffee. That means equal parts hard work and having fun. Our people are passionate about working together to wake people up with a delicious, mysterious, inspiring beverage. Its hard not to have fun at work.

Kicking Horse Coffee has gained popularity in the bittersweet industry after 20 years of harnessing a unique flavour and playful spirit thats renowned in the Rocky Mountains. It has widely been recognized by the community for being cheeky in the barista playground and for having a stubborn commitment to products, according to Ms. Rosenfeld.

Weve never been too happy with the concept of the status quo, she added. Thats why weve always pushed the boundaries of our industry to make better coffee, to put goodness back into every cup and weve pushed the boundaries of our workplace. Weve always had work that should be fun (and) we always wanted to desire to come to work. Thats why were located in Invermere, in a Rocky Mountain playground.

Ms. Rosenfeld believes her team is always smiling because its located in an area that promotes healthy living.

We know that happy, healthy living translates to a happy, healthy workplace, said Ms. Rosenfeld.

But the atmosphere isnt the only characteristic that Ms. Rosenfeld believes drives her staff to perfection and lures new hires to the Columbia Valley.

I was previously at Kicking Horse Resort and I heard really great things about the company from somebody I worked with out there, said Meghan Watson, employee experience manager. As soon as the job was posted, I pounced on the opportunity to join the team a year ago.

Shortly after joining the team in Invermere, she began evaluating which business competitions would be worthwhile for Kicking Horse Coffee to apply for.

I think weve been confident and known all along that this is a kick ass place to work, said Ms. Watson. This sort of puts it out to the world, but we went into this knowing that its an incredible culture and place to be a part of, and this is just one way to solidify that and share it with the nation. Our team is solid and that feeling was definitely here a year ago when I started, because its been 18 years in the making.

The employment package at Kicking Horse Coffee consists of perks, such as incentive bonuses, weekly free lunches, family-centered philosophies, a cool staff lounge, regular days off to enjoy the surrounding area and no night shifts.

Weve got lots of perks, no pun intended, said Ms. Watson. But its crazy theyre pretty unique, and different from other companies, which is pretty special. Its a great win, not only for the company, but also for the valley too, to have such a great employer in Invermere is really special because its a place that can offer careers to people who want to be able to live and play in the mountains its magic to be here and have a professional career.

Most importantly, she added, theres no shortage of coffee at work and connections developed at work often translate into recreational outings for the troupe.

Were a small company and were all committed to doing great work, Ms. Rosenfeld agreed. Doing our best everyday requires depending on each other, and when everyone you work with also wants to do a kick ass job; well, it makes things pretty fun. Were proud to be recognized for that.

For more information, visit www.KickingHorseCoffee.com. To learn more about the Great Place to Work Institute, visit www.GreatPlaceToWork.ca.