Backroads Reviews | Glassdoor

Backroads Reviews

Updated June 19, 2017
72 reviews

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Full-time Part-time

4.1
Star Star Star Star Star
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Tom Hale
51 Ratings

72 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • The Trip Leader position at Backroads is the consummate lifestyle job (in 10 reviews)

  • work outside in the most beautiful places (in 9 reviews)

Cons
  • Super long hours, difficult guests, beurocracy in the company and as it grows to a large size it is having a hard time handling the transition (in 6 reviews)

  • I understand how schedules are driven by trip sales though, and that scheduling trip leaders is complicated (in 6 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (1)

    "Transparent, Kind, and Smart people!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Trip Consultant/Guest Services in Berkeley, CA
    Current Employee - Trip Consultant/Guest Services in Berkeley, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Backroads full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Wow! Such an interesting time to be at Backroads. A long history of success, management is now spending time and money on developing people with technology and long-term planning.

    Cons

    The organization is very relaxed and carefree, which is great 90% of the time!

    Advice to Management

    Keep developing the next generation and continue to invest in growing the business.


  2. Helpful (3)

    "Trip Leader"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Trip Leader in Berkeley, CA
    Current Employee - Trip Leader in Berkeley, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Backroads full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great opportunity to get paid to travel. All around amazing community.

    Cons

    Poor management practices that make the trip leading position feel insecure and business success seem lucky rather than informed.

    Advice to Management

    Make more data driven decisions instead of off hunches. You don't know what the problem is if you don't understand it. Just because you don't measure it doesn't mean there isn't a problem. And whatever tools you do use to evaluate are woefully inefficient and inaccurate.

  3. Helpful (1)

    "Trip Leader"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Trip Leader in Berkeley, CA
    Former Employee - Trip Leader in Berkeley, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Backroads full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    - travel perks
    - very cool people
    - the most engaging, challenging job I have ever had
    - high level of independence

    Cons

    - under paid
    - leadership is not transparent
    - punitive scheduling decisions
    - company is growing too quickly and valuing long-term employees in race to scale

    Advice to Management

    Pay your leaders fairly (and admit they are segmented between type of trip and location). Review the Global Leader Development management team and their conflicting interests with the leader base.


  4. Helpful (1)

    "Great company to work for...."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Leader Development in Berkeley, CA
    Former Employee - Leader Development in Berkeley, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Backroads full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Great employee discounts on trips and outdoor retail gear. Outstanding co-workers. Good benefits package.

    Cons

    Computer systems need an upgrade. Somtimes office staff feel overlooked in their importance to the overall success of company.


  5. Helpful (2)

    "Loved it"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Salt Lake City, UT
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Salt Lake City, UT
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Backroads part-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    You know it was something very special when it's been two years and you are still "mourning" the loss of the best job ever!

    People people people. Nature nature nature

    Cons

    I'm not gonna think about the cons because they were outweighed by far

    Advice to Management

    Call me and say that you need me for the 2017 season Lol.


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Trip Leader"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Trip Leader in Salt Lake City, UT
    Current Employee - Trip Leader in Salt Lake City, UT
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Great people, management is very transparent, multiple resources available to help you succeed.

    Cons

    Seasonal, work-life balance can be difficult. Everyones experience is different and highly variable.

    Advice to Management

    You're doing well! Every year there are improvements to trips, leader life, and the company as a whole.


  7. Helpful (3)

    "Great perks, inefficient workplace"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Berkeley, CA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Berkeley, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Backroads (Less than a year)

    Pros

    The employees can be some of the coolest people to work with. There are plenty of opportunities to go on long bike rides during lunch, play soccer or ultimate frisbee, practice yoga, or even knitting. They have standing desks available, bicycle rental program, and employee credits for Backroads trips

    Cons

    The work is really dull and the positions available are incredibly repetitive. There isn't a lot of transparency from the upper management and there are huge differences in values between the owner and the senior management. The company is very stagnant and change does not come easy. The technology is an ancient custom built system (read: disaster) written in Visual Basic. A great amount of the work the employees do during the day can easily be automated if there was a capable framework.

    Advice to Management

    Encourage other departments to be more open to and utilize Talentpool. The Owner loves the idea, but it seems way more often that not there is a disconnect between his line of thinking and the rest of the upper management

    Backroads Response

    Dec 8, 2016 – HR Manager

    Thanks for your feedback. We’re glad to hear that you valued much about the work environment; great coworkers, lots of social opportunities for employees, and great benefits like trip credit. We do ... More

  8. Helpful (2)

    "Trip Leader"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Trip Leader in Salt Lake City, UT
    Former Employee - Trip Leader in Salt Lake City, UT
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Backroads gave me the opportunity to travel the World, meet incredible people, make amazing experiences, and work autonomously. The work environment is friendly, and everyone from the owner Tom Hale to my fellow Trip Leaders were always looking out for my best interest. It's quite impressive how Backroads is able to hire the most unique, hardworking and genuine people. I believe it has a lot to do with the transparency that management exemplifies. My advice to any future or current employees is to communicate with your mentor, and the management team. If you have an open line of communication Backroads will do everything they can to help. My experience with Backroads was wonderful, and I hope to come back and lead trips again!

    Cons

    I suppose the only unfavorable thing for me was packing and unpacking my suitcase. But when you sign up for a job that allows you to travel all around the World you should probably be prepared to become an efficient traveler. So nope, no cons.

    Advice to Management

    Keep doing what you're doing!


  9. "Trip Leader"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Trip Leader in Anchorage, AK
    Former Employee - Trip Leader in Anchorage, AK
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Very active, lots of travel, unique and interesting co-workers.

    Cons

    Very high pace, sometimes you get stuck doing low-paying support work.

    Advice to Management

    Doing a good job.


  10. Helpful (5)

    "Trip Leader"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Trip Leader in Berkeley, CA
    Current Employee - Trip Leader in Berkeley, CA
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Backroads full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    As a trip leader, it is up to you to define how and where you want to spend your free time. As a new employee, you will find yourself in gorgeous natural settings. As you progress, you will find the level of luxury improves relative to the amount of trust and respect you earn. In time, you will find yourself receiving more of your requested destinations and traveling to the far-flung corners of the earth. Just remember that good things come to those who... genuinely go the extra mile to make customers happy. The company culture is very upbeat and happy, opting to focus more on the beautiful things in life, and always providing support to get through the more challenging times. I have met more of my best friends through this company than in any other "work" position prior. The actual job responsibilities require maturity and the ability to handle difficult tasks and challenging circumstances. This is little to ask in exchange for the reward of guiding great clients on bicycles or hiking through the world's most desired destinations, not to mention Backroads has one of the most competitive employee compensation plans including food, lodging, travel, and corporate expense reimbursement during work weeks, and access to company equipment (with prior approval and permission) during off time. IT department is wrestling hard to bring the company into the modern age. The annual staff ride is one of the highest energy company events ever organized. The opportunity to ride with 350 friends and have exclusive town-wide parties is an experience worth earning.

    Cons

    Does have corporate tendencies despite small size. Can be difficult to implement structural changes quickly. However, despite this, Backroads is very open to feedback and weighs all employee feedback on a rolling basis to make improvements. IT department is wrestling hard to bring the company into the modern age.

    Advice to Management

    Throughout my career with Backroads, I have always been very encouraged after every interaction with management. I am a firm believer that they always act in the best interest of preserving the overall health of the company.Continue that practice.
    On a more critical note, please give serious consideration to investing the necessary money to improve the IT backbone of this company. I don't think continuing to use proprietary software is a bad thing, but using modern software that enables leaders to more effectively complete the remedial accounting and expense reporting as well as post-trip reports is something that would increase overall morale significantly.
    Please develop, or outsource, an app and integration for wearable devices. This should have been done with the initial release of the iphone years ago. Not every customer wants to disconnect entirely from society, and most want to be able to access more information about their trip from their phone, not just during their trip, but also before and after.
    Modernize the website to include a seamless transition between mobile and desktop.
    Simplify the employee website, and add a SEARCH function. No employee wants to waste hours searching through layer after layer of file structure just to find an outdated document.
    Please develop an employee wellness plan that allows leaders to recover from the intense periods of work that take a physical and emotional toll on us. Even having one complementary half-hour massage after each peak season for those who work more than X days in a certain period would be much appreciated... It is a physically strenuous job, afterall.
    Otherwise, stick to the great values that keep this company in the upper echelon of the Travel and Leisure industry.


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