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Co-op Compass Group

We evaluate our success as a business across four measures: employees, members, society, and business. Our employees come first, and we rely on deep insights from across our organization to understand their needs.

Recognizing that culture is led from the top, our most senior leaders act as role models, listening to the voices of our employees on how best to advance and support belonging through our formal employee advocacy program, the Co-op Compass Group.


Developed in 2022, the Co-op Compass Group is part of REI’s commitment to reimagine the employee experience and to ensure we’re creating a workplace where team members feel heard, supported and can thrive.

The intention of the Co-op Compass Group is to improve the way the co-op listens and responds to feedback, concerns and ideas through direct engagement between senior leaders and employees in our stores, distribution centers, sales and customer support, and experiences teams. The group creates connection and partnership between employees and leaders; raises the voices of store employees as a critical source of influence for co-op experience and impact; and inspires our direction forward. The guiding principles of the group are:

  • We raise voices: Compass Group connects 24 employees directly with senior leaders and business partners once a quarter for in-depth discussions. These meetings provide a space and platform for our members to share their perspectives and experiences at the co-op. Compass members discuss a range of topics to ensure REI delivers a positive business, community, and environmental impact.

  • We gather insights: Compass members provide unique perspective and insight on these topics and share considerations and suggestions. Our members’ ideas help inform and shape the co-op strategy, experience, impact, and direction.

  • We drive impact: Senior leaders and business partners explore the feedback, ideas and suggestions from Compass members and deliver store employee-informed results. They are committed to Compass’ success and leverage their relationships and resources to support the Compass Group and remove roadblocks to enhance impact.

The Co-op Compass Group was co-created with our employees. Employees shared optimism about the opportunity to have a voice and support for a program that is diverse; fosters genuine conversation and influence; has clear structure, focus and accountability; and accounts for the unique needs of store employees. This collaborative process included:

  • External benchmarking research to understand environmental drivers and best practices for employee voice.

  • Interviews with nearly 100 REI store employees to understand their interest and expectations for the Co-op Compass Group.

  • Design workshops to inform the structure and program, which brought together a diverse group of REI store leaders from Stores, Distribution Center, Experiences, and Sales and Customer Service (SCS), as well as executive leaders and HQ staff from HR, Store Operations, Communications, Marketing, workforce Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and more.

Compass Group Membership:

Compass Group members come from all parts of our business and bring unique experiences, perspectives, and insights to our work. The group is composed of:

  • At least one member from each of REI’s 12 store regions
  • At least one member from each of REI’s four distribution centers (DCs)
  • At least one member from sales and customer support (SCS)
  • At least one member from experiences
  • Seven seats will remain at-large and are selected from across stores, distribution centers, sales and customer support, and experiences to ensure a balance of perspectives.
  • Five senior leaders, including the chief executive officer, chief people officer, chief customer officer, chief supply chain officer, and chief commercial officer.

Compass Group members serve 18-month rotations and maintain their job in their home location while engaging in this work, ensuring individuals bring relevant, real-time insights. Members will receive the support necessary for their participation, including:

  • Paid working time and stipends
  • Access to equipment and technology
  • Store leader support
  • Accommodations for Compass Group time and travel

Over 250 employees applied to be a part of the inaugural Compass Group. Screening and selection committees were convened from around the co-op to help select our members. Participants on the screening and selection committees were identified through current award mechanisms, including Store of the Year, Leadership Award, and Anderson Award. Recipients were selected with an eye toward balance and diversity.


The Compass Group held its first quarterly meeting in September 2022 and discussed career development and store communication. The topics that the Compass Group takes on will not and should not be solved overnight. The program builds sustainable and lasting impacts for our employees. That means driving work forward, while giving grace for the work to be done well.

We have high hopes for our Co-op Compass Group. While we know that the Compass Group was thoughtfully designed, 2022 was the first year of the program, and we expect it to evolve and grow in the years to come. As it grows, it will remain always in the service of supporting our employees and raising their voices.