Human Resources: the competitive advantage for employers in the mountains

HR is extra important in the mountains. Here’s where it comes into play. 

Employees are directly responsible for carrying out critical tasks of a business and serving the customer. So who is responsible for making sure the workforce is happy and has what they need?  Human Resources combined with strong leadership/management! 

While living in the mountains is a dream for many, there are certain realities that come with it that bring unique challenges for employers in taking care of their staff. HR may be an essential function for any business, but it is extra important for mountain town employers who must get creative in building a positive work environment that helps employees thrive. 

What does Human Resources do anyway? 

Human resources is responsible for managing the employee lifecycle (i.e. recruiting, hiring, onboarding, training, compliance, policies, coach leaders and managers, and performance management) along with administering employee benefits and pay. With exceptional human resources practices that think outside the box, mountain town employers can elevate their brands as ideal places to work and can differentiate the mountain lifestyle as an unmatched means to creating a dream career overall.

HR professionals wear so many hats  (that’s what makes the job so fun). Below are a few ‘extras’ that mountain-based HR professionals have to manage to create a great work environment. 

Addressing the common mountain town stressors

A happy employee is a productive employee, and oftentimes life outside the workplace weighs heavily on happiness. Many locals choose the mountains because of the opportunities away from the office, but constraints with housing, childcare, and healthcare can be stressful. HR teams try their best to help employees navigate the common stresses and look to create programs to support their workforce. HR teams add value with their personal touch and individual attention to staff.

Take it from the Aspen Skiing Company HR team, who provides career coaching to help employees piece together their happiness puzzle.

Managing the Perks and Wellness

Once the bare necessities are taken care of, mountain career professionals have access to a lifestyle they cannot get anywhere else. Name your outdoor activity, and mountain life has it in spades. This is why a free ski pass to local slopes is a heralded mountain career perk. Guess who helps create and manage these types of perks? Your Human Resources team is behind the scenes making sure these benefits are accessible, meaningful and equitable. Aryn Schlichting from Eagle County Human Resources shares…

“our HR team at Eagle County Government manages a robust wellness program that has won the organization many awards and we consistently get positive feedback from employees about the healthy changes they have made because of these programs.”

Creating Connection 

Mountain towns are typically close-knit communities, and this cohesion is one of the more coveted components of mountain life. Companies that take concerted action to encourage community engagement and connection among employees that can enrich the lives of their team and fellow neighbors alike. Teams may choose to partner with local non-profits for volunteer days or take a raft trip or bike ride together. Having a cohesive dynamic between work and personal lives can make employees really feel at home, and in a close-knit community, that’s exactly what most are looking for. HR teams aim to create this type of connection and often engage with committed employees to lead these initiatives. While HR might come up with the ideas and programs it needs to be embraced by leaders and employees across the organization to shape a meaningful culture.

Team photo from a collaborative and fun team at Dave and Matt Vans (ps. they are hiring)

In the mountains, companies find that their human resources function goes above and beyond to create a productive, healthy and happy workforce. Championing mountain life while harboring a sense of community is also critical to creating a workplace that team members feel empowered by. 

Interested in what HR opportunities the mountains have to offer? Look no further than