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Photo by Patrick Colleran
Nov 09 2017

Three Years Running

MWA makes Outside Magazine’s list of 100 Best Places to Work

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We’re pleased to announce that, for the third year in a row, MWA has been included on Outside Magazine’s list of the 100 best places to work. We’re also eager to congratulate four other Montana companies and organizations who made the list: Wisetail, Ecology Project International, Greater Yellowstone Coalition, and Foundant Technologies.

However, list or no list, we believe that our organizational culture deserves as much attention as our strategy and communications because there’s an actual person with personal needs behind every long work day, brilliant idea, or poignant message.

We also believe that culture depends on more than getting to hike on the clock once in a while. While some businesses on Outside’s list offer benefits like beer:30, yoga rooms, and go-kart races, a great place to work offers more than quirky perks.

Here are the top five investments we’ve made in our team to ensure we’re ready to work hard for Montana’s public lands every day:

  1. Competitive Compensation and Benefits. A lot of businesses list “competitive compensation and benefits” when they post job openings. We actually mean it. For three years running, we’ve relied on a market-based analysis to make sure our wages are competitive within our niche and across our region.
  2. Teamwork. This isn’t about fantasy football or pickup kickball. Instead, we begin every year with a collaborative work planning process that starts from the ground-up, ensuring staff at every level of the organization have the support and creative freedom to pursue innovative strategies. It’s our 360 degree performance reviews that foster a culture of feedback. And it’s involving everyone in decisions that matter – like being included in the hiring of our new executive director.
  3. A Culture of Resilience. Wilderness is a place of resilience. Forests recover after a fire, souls are renewed by alpine lakes, and wildlife never stop adapting to changing habitat conditions. It’s only natural that we prioritize staff resilience, too. All staff start with 16 days paid vacation and acquire 24 days after just three years. We shut down our offices between Christmas Day and New Years Day so our staff can focus on family, and we offer a three-month paid sabbatical after five years for valued team members to travel, explore, and recharge.
  4. Room to Risk. Today’s challenges require innovative solutions. Every staff person is encouraged to share creative ideas, take risks, and evaluate outcomes. And, whether the result is a big step forward or a little step back, we aim to learn, grow, and try again.
  5. Time Outside. Members of the MWA team are encouraged to take “trail days” throughout the year, and we get together for a three-day staff backpack each summer. Why? Because getting to know the places we work to protect fuels our passion for public lands and because the bonds built over a campfire are stronger than bonds built over email.

What’s it all mean?  It means staff can spend a lifetime working for wilderness without sacrificing their well-being for the cause.

In our line of work, we’re in it for the long haul. It can take years to find agreement for the headwaters of the Blackfoot River or the Kootenai National Forest. It can take decades to pass a wilderness bill or protect sacred mountains from oil and gas development.

Because MWA is a great place to work, we can foster the healthy communication, long-term relationships, and innovative solutions we need to be effective advocates for wilderness. It’s good for our staff, and it’s good for the wild.

Interested in joining MWA’s team? Learn more about job opportunities to protect some of Montana’s last best places here.

Kassia Randzio, MWA marketing and grants manager.