A Lifetime of Outdoor Adventure


Recreational Equipment, Inc is a outdoor retail store and co-op that sells a broad range of recreational gear. It is a company that brings together a group of people who are passionate about going on outdoor adventures and preserving the outdoor environment. I have been a member since I was young, and my friends and I have often found ourselves spending hours at a time simply meandering throughout the store looking at all the outdoor gear and apparel. After doing more research, I found that REI is not only great as a customer, but also as an employee. REI is a store that truly embraces a life committed to the outdoors. 

One of the perks that stood out to me was their work environment that gives employees a significant amount of autonomy. 73% of employees say they carry a lot of responsibility in the organization, and 82% of employees say that managers trust them to carry out these responsibilities without micromanaging them. This freedom and autonomy also allows employees to have flexible work hours so that they can combine work with play. Some additional employee benefits that I found include onsite dog park and kennels, indoor bike storage, a fitness center with crossfit and yoga, subsidized lunch on a daily basis, onsite package service, massage therapy, subsidized public transportation, discounts on REI adventures, discount ticket sales, free rentals, and significant product discounts. For us outdoor lovers, REI is a company that allows employees to weave together exploring the wilderness year-round into their daily work. The following video illustrates some more of the perks of being an REI employee:

The value of being an REI employee is directly tied to its focus on maintaining a work-life balance. I believe REI’s business strategy fits with Kantian ethics in their effort to make the employees work feel meaningful, providing employee autonomy, and allowing for people to connect their passions for the outdoors while also making a living. The company focuses on the what is best for the company and its members in the long run rather than its performance each quarter. Even more, REI lives up to its ideals in its efforts to preserve the outdoor environment by partnering with more than 300 nonprofits in the outdoor industry. In 2014, REI awarded grants of $4.6 million to these nonprofits. Through encouraging an active lifestyle inside and outside of work, as well as devoting a portion of its profits to outdoor nonprofits, I believe REI lives up to its high ideals by conducting its business in a socially and environmentally responsible way.

Featured Image: from “GreatRated” http://us.greatrated.com/recreational-equipment-inc

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6 thoughts on “A Lifetime of Outdoor Adventure”

  1. Mary, I do think it is important for employees being able to make a living from their passions for the outdoors because it can result in a building a community for the employees. I see having happy, healthy employees equals happy consumers and higher profits. I think REI has done a good job on achieve this by placing a focus on maintaining a good work-life balance.

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  2. But are there some kinds of work that need to be done that are no one’s passion? Prison guard? Poultry processing? Am I being a jerk? Are all the people auditing really passionate about it?

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  3. I guess all the extra perks would be good so long as they don’t reduce employee productivity. This company reminds me of Google in the sense that upper management believes that having world-class employee perks will keep employees at work longer and stimulate their creative juices. I’m still not sold on the idea, but I like the company and its vision.

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  4. REI is an awesome company in that the people who work there most likely share similar values relating to the outdoors. Do you think there is a certain type of person who fits in best at REI? Would anyone be able to have success or enjoy the company?

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  5. How does REI “weave together” employees wilderness experience with their daily work? This resonates with Patagonia on their outdoor, surfing policy targeted towards employees. When the waves on the California coast are great, Patagonia employees are allowed to skip out of the and head to the beach (permitted they are still able to finish their work in a flexible work-week). Would REI consider implementing such a policy? This would increase the community-company culture and connection to their mission!

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