Tourism and travel is considered one of the most exploitative industries. We always go against the grain.
We believe that business success can only be achieved if we put people at the heart of the experience. We regularly review our HR policies and analyze living costs and salaries to see how we can ensure we are fair to our staff. We also expect the same from all our partners.
We believe everyone has a right to a safe, working environment conducive to the type of work they are doing. We are always wanting the best for our guests, and so the same is true of our team – we believe they deserve the same level of respect and care. For example, when our team go on our test and training trips, we use the exact same vehicles we use for our guests – which are all to the highest levels of safety and security, and stay in the accommodation that we offer. All our offices have a kitchen for our staff to eat their lunch together if they wish to. We provide access to clean and safe drinking water and hot beverages throughout the day. In our office in Kenya, we offer lunchtime meals and fruits, and in our India offices we have a local chai wallah who visits twice daily to deliver our hot beverages, which is always a wonderful reminder for us to take morning and afternoon breaks! Our team in Colorado have beautiful views of the Rocky Mountains from their office, while our team in Buenos Aires are located in arguably the coolest neighborhood!
There is a balance between ensuring our business success through prudent financial management and doing as much as we can to give back to our team. However, we endeavor to always be transparent in our communication with our team members, whether they are an intern or a senior manager. When we invite interns to come and learn about our business and gain experience and exposure to the travel industry, we ensure that they are paid a fair amount to support travel and food costs – we believe this is the right thing to do.
We believe that a fair wage is a living wage: that is, one that covers the costs of the basic needs of living, such as the prices of food, schooling, medical care, housing and travel costs.
A living wage is often more than the country’s minimum wage and can be the difference between having good nutritious meals and for children to have the medical treatment they deserve. We also ensure that even with the seasonal nature of the travel industry, our staff are always given work and paid a salary all year around without the need for any outsourcing or seasonal labor. Paying fair wages is also our way to ensure that our staff don’t need to accept kickbacks – to date we have never had a problem in this regard.
As some of our office locations are in economically emerging countries, we do what we can to mitigate any challenges of rising living costs. For example, in our Argentina office, we review all salaries on a quarterly basis to ensure our staff do not suffer due to inflation. In addition to annual salary reviews, we also provide incentives for high performance with an annual bonus that allows our staff to share in our success.
In 2014, we rolled out an Employee Share Ownership Program (ESOP). Any team member who has worked at Enchanting Travels for over three years was eligible to be invited by the Leadership Team to own shares in the company, based on their performance, values, and loyalty to the company. We believe that not only does this instill a sense of pride and motivate our employees to contribute to the company’s growth but that it can be an opportunity for our team members to share in our wealth creation as we continue to succeed.
As passionate travelers, many of our team members tell us that they would probably choose time over money in order to explore the world. Our company prides itself on having an above average number of leave days in each of office locations. Even in countries that have a culture of working a six-day week, we encourage our staff to take a two-day weekend unless rare circumstances prevent it. For team members who work directly with guests and who have intensive periods of work during the peak travel seasons, we offer additional leave days to compensate for overtime, so that they have time during the quieter travel periods to relax and rejuvenate as they please.
We work hard to be fair across all our our offices and teams as we aim to have global policies that are applicable to all our team members. All our policies are available to each team member and they can reach out to our HR team with any queries. Each time a policy is created or modified we ask for feedback from our team members. We also request feedback within our team member engagement survey every year. So far, the feedback has been extremely positive on the team member related policies and processes at Enchanting Travels. If we do receive any constructive feedback related to any policy, we work to address them. We are very flexible in terms of our policy compliance and do consider exceptions on a policy on case to case basis. The only policies that differ are leave and dress code policy, which are different due to legal as well as cultural differences in the countries where we operate.
Enchanting Travels works with leading insurance providers in each of our office locations to ensure that all our employees are adequately covered should they require medical assistance.
Enchanting Travels provides paid maternity and paternity leave. New mothers and fathers are welcome to request flexible working arrangements, such as additional unpaid leave or part time work from home.
We strive to offer equal opportunities to team members who are passionate to work on the vision of Enchanting Travels irrespective of their gender. For our female employees, many of whom are still considered the primary caregivers for their families within the countries we operate, we are very considerate of and try and provide a healthy work life balance.
We encourage our team members to think about the future and how to take good care of their money. Our pension funds encourage our staff to save the future, and the company often matches any state pension amounts that have been saved. We invite independent financial advisers to come into our offices and give presentations so that they are more informed about investment options and better prepared. It is also a time for our team members to ask questions about individual savings options, which many of our younger team members may not have ever considered before.
“I’ve always found that family life is integral to how Enchanting Travels works. After my maternity leave ended I was given the opportunity to work part time and on some days from home so I could still be close to my child. I really appreciated this.” – Julia Irl, Munich Office, Enchanting Travels
We know that life is a journey of ups and downs. There is a huge stigma to mental health, particularly in many of the countries we have offices in. Mental health is so important for us all to function and thrive. If you are an athlete trying to run a marathon with fractured legs, people would tell you to stop. The same goes for the brain. The mind can also be unwell, and needs time to heal. We’re committed to supporting its team members through both dark and light times.
“I had been waiting for my mother’s death to happen for well over two decades, but I didn’t react at all as I expected. Eventually I found myself unable to muster up the energy to even get to work. The crux came when I had my first anxiety attack. The Enchanting Travels management didn’t give up on me. The management helped me get an excellent local therapist to support me, and knowing they were on my side made a huge difference. I was granted compassionate leave. Enchanting Travels created an environment of trust and honesty. It literally had become another family. Team members helped me with my workload, and a few confidantes instinctively understood the situation – giving me hugs when I needed them and just listening.” – Anonymous, Bangalore Office, Enchanting Travels
Parenthood is a joy and a job, and we are keen to be an extra support system.
As Enchanting Travels evolved, so has our team. Many of our team members have since created families of their own. We pride ourselves on establishing a caring and secure environment, and offering a second home to many of our team members. Every new baby is welcomed into the global Enchanting family with a notification that celebrates the magic of new life. Naturally, with every little enchanter, we take extra care to ensure our team members can manage their workload with their new responsibility.
While the culture of Asia has the support of extended family and South America has an affordable childcare system, we noticed early on that our office in Africa had a unique set of challenges that we realized we could resolve ourselves. It was an obvious decision for us to ensure our team members could care for their tiny tots at work so that they could continue working. Since 2010, Enchanting Travels has hosted a safe and caring crèche within our Nairobi office for our staff.
“Many of our female staff don’t want to take an extended maternity leave, plus statutory maternity leave in Kenya is only three months. Many stay far away from extended families and finding a good reliable nanny is very difficult in Nairobi. It’s stressful for a mother to leave her baby with a nanny and almost all of our team members live in apartments. There’s also a challenge of getting alternative milk sources to breast milk in Kenya and formula milk is very expensive. Our the office creche provides a huge play area and is good even for very active older babies. It has enabled so many mothers in the office, especially first-time mums, to have an easier stress-free upbringing of their babies. Mothers find it easier to have their babies close to them and can keep checking on them, and the creche provides the opportunity for exclusive breastfeeding for six months!”- Anne Gathoni, Head of Africa
Many of our Enchanting mothers bring their babies to the office and make use of the creche until their little ones are three years old and ready to attend kindergarten! It’s a joy for everyone to have the little enchanters around, and strengthens our work-family philosophy!
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