REI Earns Top 10 Ranking on Fortune's Best Places to Work List

Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) was named today by Fortune magazine as one of the "100 Best Companies to Work for in America." The outdoor retailer ranked ninth overall on the annual list, making the top 10 for the first time.

Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) was named today by Fortune magazine as one of the "100 Best Companies to Work for in America." The outdoor retailer, known as much for its positive workplace culture as for its quality gear, staff expertise, progressive retailing and environmental stewardship efforts, ranked ninth overall on the annual list, making the top 10 for the first time.

"Achieving recognition as one of the '100 Best' is a huge honor, and a tribute to our employees for making REI a great place to work year after year," said REI President and CEO Sally Jewell. "Placing ninth among so many great companies is something to celebrate, and a validation of the positive work environment that we all work to create."

REI is one of two outdoor specialty retailers to be included on the list, and one of only seven companies to have been included on each of the magazine lists and two book versions. This year's list will appear in the Jan. 23 issue of Fortune magazine, available on newsstands beginning Jan. 16 and at on Jan. 9.

To create the list, more than 100,000 randomly selected employees from 466 candidate companies were asked by the Great Places to Work® Institute to complete an employee-opinion survey. At REI, 400 employees received the "100 Best" survey which measured pride in work, job satisfaction and camaraderie. Two-thirds of the list ranking is based on the results of the employee survey, and one-third based on corporate information regarding REI culture, policies and benefits.

This month REI, long recognized for having one of the most progressive employee benefit programs in the retail industry, began offering healthcare and dental plans as well as company-paid life insurance benefits to part-time team members and seasonal staff who work less than the 20-hour per week threshold required previously.

"It would be very difficult to find another national retailer that is subsidizing its healthcare benefits for part-time employees at such a generous level," said Thomas Pursley, of benefits consulting firm Mercer Human Resources Consulting. "This leading edge move sends a clear message to its employees that each is highly valued regardless of how many hours they clock, and exemplifies REI's position as one of the nation's top employers."

"We introduced the new plan in keeping with our commitment to employees, healthy lifestyles and a positive workplace culture," added Michelle Clements, REI's vice president of human resources. "While the plan has been extremely well-received by REI employees and customers alike, it wasn't reflected in the '100 Best' employee survey responses, as the program was announced after the survey deadline." According to Clements, other REI employee-centric attributes include:

>> An outdoor focused culture that actively encourages community involvement and participation in human- powered recreation as an extension of our business.

>> A work environment promoting camaraderie, open communication and opportunity for advancement, while respecting and encouraging work/life balance.

>> Deep discounts on outdoor gear, as well as free gear rentals.

>> Gear grants for employees who wish to take on a personal outdoor challenge.

>> Incentive pay directly tied to company or divisional goals for all employees.

>> Generous retirement plan for eligible employees.

>> Financial and gear grants to community-based outdoor- focused clubs and non-profit organizations in which REI employees are involved; as well as team-building service projects where employees work together to enhance their favorite outdoor areas.

REI is a national outdoor retail cooperative, committed to inspiring, educating and outfitting for a lifetime of outdoor adventure. Founded in 1938 by a group of Pacific Northwest mountaineers seeking quality equipment, REI is today the nation's largest consumer co-op with more than 2.5 million active members. REI offers products from all of the top brands for camping, climbing, cycling, hiking, outdoor cross-training, paddling, snow sports and travel, including its own line of award-winning gear and apparel. While anyone may join or shop at REI, members pay a one-time $15 fee and receive a share in the company's profits through an annual member refund based on their purchases. REI currently operates stores in 25 states, two online stores and and an adventure travel company, REI Adventures. A portion of REI's profits is set aside each year for support of environmental stewardship and outdoor recreation causes.

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