For many years, REI has worked to create a welcoming, inclusive environment in the outdoors and ensure our retail stores and offices reflect the diversity of the communities we serve. We believe diversity and inclusion is a business imperative needed to realize our aspiration to serve our members and customers 100 years and beyond. Our vision is that:
REI is a courageous, culturally competent organization where diversity and inclusion are woven into the fabric of our company, driving superior business results and a sustainable competitive advantage.
To work toward the fulfillment of this vision, the co-op has aligned its strategy around three primary initiatives and their corresponding goals:
REI has 33 stores that serve communities that are more than 25 percent Latino. In these markets, many of our stores were creating their own materials to help bridge the gaps with bilingual and Spanish-speaking customers. To help create a more cohesive approach, we worked with a specialized firm to create the “voice of REI” in Spanish, including marketing materials, membership brochures, and a pocket guide for our sales specialists. Research shows that even English-speaking Latinos look to bilingual communication as a sign that brands understand and appreciate the needs and nuances of their community.
At REI, our employees are more than just retail experts; they are members of the co-op and share in our diversity and inclusion vision. In 2012, we employed an increasingly diverse workforce, as shown in the chart below.
In 2011, we launched a successful “Leading Inclusion” training, which aimed to introduce shared concepts, create a common language, provide shared tools and skills and set common expectations around what it means to be an inclusive workplace.
In 2012, we completed the roll out of “Inclusion at REI” with our headquarters employees. With 23 sessions, these half-day trainings provided diversity and inclusion education to 515 participants. REI extended its commitment to this training by integrating the material into our employee orientation, as well as retail management training sessions.
In 2012, REI added gender identity and sexual orientation to our employee survey and rolled out transgender guidelines to assist managers and co-workers of employees who are undergoing a gender transition. We also took a position in support of marriage equality and Referendum 74, the Washington state Marriage Equality Act.
We believe that our commitment to an inclusive workplace and customer experience is extremely important. This commitment has led to the improvement of our Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index score from 65 to 90 and resulted in industry-leading scores for inclusion on our 2012 employee engagement survey:
In 2012, we successfully launched our National Diversity Partnership Initiative, building comprehensive partnerships that encompass organizational and event sponsorships, social media and content development, employment opportunities and vendor collaboration. We are now proud sponsors of Black Girls Run, National Brotherhood of Skiers, National Brotherhood of Cyclists, Outdoor Afro and Expedition Denali. Our inaugural Latino efforts focused on events with National Council of La Raza, Siclovia, Junta Hispana and Adventures Denver.
As part of our “Women in Retail” efforts, we expanded our partnership with the Outdoor Industry Women’s Coalition (OIWC) and are underwriting a mentoring pilot for women.
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