case study 16

REI, the outdoor retailer, has become a regular on Fortunes 100 Best Companies to Work For list. The year 2018 was the twenty-first consecutive year that the company was recognized on Fortunes list. REI also won a Glassdoors Employees Choice Award in 2018. Both awards are based on employees opinions about what its like working for their companies. One employees Glassdoor review described how, at REI, there are fellow co-workers who really, really love their jobs and love working there, and want you to love working there too.

REI designed some of their benefits to appeal to employees with outdoor interests. For instance, there are Yay Daystwo paid days each year for employees to participate in a favorite outdoor activity or help maintain outdoor spaces. People literally use [Yay Days] to go have fun in the outdoors. When you request your Yay Day, you tell your manager what youre doing with it, explained Raquel Karls, Senior Vice President of Human Resources at REI. The company also started the #OptOutside perk several years ago. This is an additional day off with pay on Black Friday, a day that the company now closes its stores to encourage employees and customers to enjoy the outdoors rather than work or shop.

There are other benefits that arent outdoor-oriented, but also enhance the experience of being a REI employee. REI offers up to six weeks of paid parental leave. There are annual incentive plans, company contributions to employee retirement plans, and tuition reimbursement offerings. All employees get a 50 percent discount on REI brands. If you work at least twenty hours per week, you are provided with health insurance. And once an employee works at REI for fifteen years, they receive four weeks of paid sabbatical time in addition to vacation time.

Case Questions

1. In what ways could the work environment at REI help satisfy one of the needs in Three-Needs theory?

2. How could the outdoor-oriented benefits offered at REI apply to expectancy theory?

3. What else could REI do to improve how they motivate their employees?

4. What are advantages and disadvantages of hiring employees at REI who might not be as outdoor-oriented as other employees?

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