Achieving great things requires great people and an environment where everyone can participate and prosper. We are committed to racial equity, diversity and inclusion, and using our position as a leader in the outdoor industry to better our society and environment. We also encourage our employees to prioritize their time and energy to deliver on their work commitments while also pursuing their outside recreational interests and supporting the causes important to them.
Employee Engagement and Benefits
At REI, we foster a vibrant community of employees who are passionate about the importance of a life outdoors and work to get more people outside. We believe the co-op can be a force for good, and when we do this well, we succeed as a business. People love working at REI because it's a place where you can be yourself, be heard and be respected, while working alongside others who are here to do their best work individually and collectively toward our purpose.
Our commitment to our employees and our work environment is the reason we were ranked 48th on Glassdoor's Best Places to Work list for 2021. We're proud to be a nationally recognized employer with competitive pay and benefits programs.
Here are a few examples:
- Employees are eligible for high quality, affordable health care benefits if they are full time or part time and work an average of 20 hours or more per week over the course of a 12-month period.
- We have a competitive retirement and profit-sharing plan, and every employee is eligible for bonus pay when the co-op performs well.
- REI offers a competitive parental leave policy (six weeks fully paid plus six weeks of fully paid medical leave for the birth parent) to benefit eligible employees that can be taken anytime during the first year following the birth, adoption or foster care placement.
In 2020, we reimagined our "Yay Day" day-off program as "Co-op Way Days" in honor of our co-op values. Employees may choose to use Co-op Way Days to put REI's values into action, spending time on community service, advocacy, voting, civil participation, environmental stewardship, and outdoor recreation. In honor of this update, and in recognition of the challenges faced over the year, we added a bonus third day in the year 2020.
Racial Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
We believe the outdoors is for all. To ensure all people feel welcome outside and at the co-op, we know the work starts with all of us at REI. In 2020, we reaffirmed and advanced our commitment to racial equity, diversity and inclusion throughout the co-op and society. We've augmented our existing inclusion training, creating a robust educational roadmap to build the skills and systems required to unlock the diverse and inclusive teams that will take us into the future. We are evolving our hiring practices - making the connection between the many dimensions of identity in the communities we serve and the way we source talent for our workforce.
Employee Resource Groups
In 2020, we launched our new employee resource group (ERG) program, beginning with inclusion networks for people of color, LGBTQ+, women and military service. ERGs, formed by employees who share a common characteristic of historically underrepresented diversity, are accessible to all employees and provide an opportunity for connection, while aligning to the co-op's values of workplace diversity, equity and inclusion.
We realize that we have not made the gains in racial diversity that we aspire to make, and we must change our approach, now. Operating under the "status quo" has proven to yield the same results, with growth in the percentage of people of color employed by the co-op flat year-over-year. We are committed to breaking this cycle so that our workforce reflects our current and future customer base, our communities, and our society.
In 2020, we:
- Enlisted the guidance of racial equity, diversity and inclusion consultants FSG/Policy Link and Kaleidoscope Group to lead internal audits and inform our strategy moving forward
- Filled our Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion role to drive our work forward
- Built and began implementing a roadmap for racial equity, diversity and inclusion training that touches all levels of the co-op, from the C-Suite to part-time employees in our stores and distribution centers
- Piloted a new approach to retail hiring during the holiday season, specifically to reach a broader BIPOC audience, and will expand this effort in 2021
- Committed to being transparent about our process and status, including providing race/ethnicity data in the 2020 Impact Report, as seen below
Going back more than 83-years to our co-founder, Mary Anderson, women have been a driving force in leading and supporting the co-op. All along, we have strived to improve gender equity, especially in recruiting, promoting and retaining women. 2020 was no different, resulting in a slight growth in the percentage of women in our workforce.
While we don’t measure or publish LGBTQ+ status across our workforce, our new Outside with Pride employee resource group and our longstanding nonprofit partnerships help us understand where we’re doing well and where there are opportunities for growth.
Our commitment to creating an atmosphere where LGBTQ+ employees feel safe and comfortable being themselves has been recognized by the Human Rights Campaign: REI is rated 95 out of 100 on its Corporate Equality Index. We include gender identity and expression in our equal employment opportunity policies to foster an atmosphere where employees feel comfortable living and sharing their gender identity and expression. We have guidelines to help our managers and employees maintain a welcoming and supportive environment for transgender and non-binary people, and gender affirmation surgery is a covered benefit under all of REI’s medical plans.
We value the rich perspectives that come from having a diverse workforce and understand the benefits that people who experience life with different abilities bring towards the overall employee and co-op member experience. Removing barriers to promote a more accessible workplace is important to REI. We provide accommodations during both the application and interview process, and during employment. We also work with the National Organization on Disability on holistic approaches to supporting people with disabilities in our distribution centers, and view opportunities for continuous improvement around accessibility as critical to the growth of the co-op.