REI Reviews | Glassdoor

REI Reviews

Updated May 7, 2017
103 reviews

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103 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Great work-life balance, the company took the employees needs and concerns seriously (in 118 reviews)

  • Great work/life balance, employee focused company, great discounts on gear, overall positive culture (in 49 reviews)

Cons
  • Work life balance has always been a tenant of the company culture but it is fading in certain divisions (in 34 reviews)

  • Wouldn't work with me for full time hours (in 83 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Best work culture ever, but impossible to survive on hours!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Sales Specialist in Denver, CO
    Former Employee - Sales Specialist in Denver, CO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at REI part-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Fantastic work culture! The discounts are decent and the prodeals even better--if you can swing them on your lean paychecks. Sometimes you can win some swag and it’s really cool when that happens.

    Cons

    What it boils down to is that REI is a paycheck to paycheck job. If you're not a manager you're going to have difficulty ever getting enough hours to survive on. Most of REI’s retail workforce is hired on as seasonal part time workers and they’re often made to believe that they have a shot at moving into a full time position if they meet their goals. Don’t be fooled. It is nearly impossible to be considered for a full time position because there are hardly any.

    As a part time employee you will be susceptible to highly fluctuating schedules, you'll never seem to get enough hours, you'll be at the mercy of frequent payroll cutbacks, and worse than Walmart wages. Other drawbacks include: dropped health benefits, membership sales are still demanding and stressful, there is a lot of favoritism in play by management, upward movement is nearly non-existent, and there is high employee turnover which impacts the morale (you will miss the employees who have become like family, because they became so fed up and couldn't stick it out anymore).

    Be aware that If you become one of the fortunate part timers who qualify for health coverage, they’re not guaranteed. You’ll need to maintain a rolling average of 20 hours a week to remain eligible. If your scheduled hours fall below that, then your benefits will be dropped. It happens to alot many employees and it's painful to witness. With that said, if you don't need the hours or benefits it's a fantastic place to work!

    More importantly, part time employees often struggle and experience hardship you never thought was imaginable at a cooperative renown for its values. REI has sadly been taken over by corporate interests and has lost its way in valuing its people. These days It's all about profits and the bottom line.

    There's an employee movement and an online petition that are eye openers. You can learn more about the movement by doing a google search for REI Employees for Real Change. The petition can be found by going to coworker.org--just search REI and it should pop up. It's all true. Good luck.

    Advice to Management

    It would be great if managers stood up for employees and advocated for them. Management needs to be able to tell Mr. Stritzke (REI’s CEO) and the Board of Directors, about the hardships employees are facing. The recent improvements in scheduling and pay just aren’t cutting it. In other words, “Stop drinking the Kool-aid!” Start taking a stand for the dedicated workers who give it their all and make the co-op the great place that it is to work and for customers to shop.

    REI should make training its management teams a priority. Some are exceptional, but not enough of them. There’s a real disconnect in communications that makes working at REI maddening. It would behoove REI to stop hiring corporate leaders/personnel from department store chains like Nordstrom and Macy’s. They really couldn’t be more clueless as to what makes REI the special place it has been renown for, let alone knowing anything about surviving outdoors.

    As for the Board of Directors and the CEO, they’re destroying the co-op and turning it into a big box chain that has no soul. More long time members who understand why REI is special, should be placed on the Board to uphold the co-op to living its values--especially taking better care of its people, a value that has virtually become extinct. Employees could really benefit from some sort of representation and Mr. Stritzke isn't it.


  2. Helpful (5)

    "It's All About Appearance"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Kent, WA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Kent, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at REI full-time

    Pros

    Time off to be outside, deals on products, team and company events

    Cons

    Slow moving, takes forever to get anything to get approved because of several too many levels of management. Care more about optics than employees. Big money and effort to control how they are viewed. Judgmental and not diverse, a lot of leaders include strong political and spiritual messages in meetings.

  3. "Not a living wage"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Customer Service Specialist in Denver, CO
    Former Employee - Customer Service Specialist in Denver, CO
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    Good discounts on products
    Great co workers

    Cons

    Pay is awful
    Scheduling is last minute

    Advice to Management

    Pay your employees better!


  4. Helpful (1)

    "Cut Throat"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Bedford, PA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Bedford, PA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at REI full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    good work life balance, very understanding when it comes to needing time off. earning vacation and sick pay on an hourly basis was great. Good benefit and retirement program.

    Cons

    You can only get ahead or a decent raise if your willing to cut your cowokers throat for numbers. management is very unwilling to discuss or change policies for the good of team morale. rei is just like any other company numbers and money come first!!!!!

    Advice to Management

    someone needs to go into the Bedford cba and review the system used to evaluate the employees of this dept.


  5. Helpful (2)

    "Another burnt employee"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Rancho Cucamonga, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Rancho Cucamonga, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at REI part-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    -Fellow employees are amazing.
    -Prodeals are awesome.

    Cons

    -Intentionally being kept just under enough hours to not make benefits.
    -Hiring another employees in your department as they send out an email about why hours are being cut because of slow season even though you and fellow employees have full availability and are not getting even half the hours they are asking for.
    -Management does not back employees.

    Advice to Management

    -Stop screwing your good employees over.


  6. Helpful (12)

    "Full-time at headquarters"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Kent, WA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Kent, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at REI full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    REI gives back by providing staff time to non-profit organizations. Once a quarter we helped an outdoor-oriented non-profit with activities like removing invasive species from public outdoor spaces. If you love the mountains, climbing, hiking and camping you will have access to great deals on outdoor gear. Headquarters is adjacent to a wildlife preserve.

    Cons

    I don't understand how REI made the Fortune 500 Best Companies. The culture at REI headquarters where I worked changed for the worse two years ago with the new CEO (formerly at Coach) and a new CFO. Management lead by fear and confusion. Managers didn't talk to one another and expected staff to interpret conflicting and confusing direction. Staff was micromanaged and given no autonomy. Every decision, no matter how small, was examined and rehashed. There was no budget for anything except the pet-project teams of the CEO. Sales goals were unrealistic. Most staff at REI headquarters took their laptops home every night to work extra hours after the kids went to bed. And pay was low.

    Advice to Management

    Talk to each and every one of your staff at headquarters and keep talking. Talk with many of your customers every week. Spend less time polishing your latest marketing campaign and branding trick.


  7. Helpful (12)

    "Headquarters is micromanagement and slow decision making at its finest"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Kent, WA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Kent, WA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at REI full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Prodeals are awesome; you get gear and equipment at greatly reduced prices, it's only for employees, not spouses kids or friends & family, but good deals. Dog run is great; I share a space for my dog with another dog owner so we can bring our dogs to work a couple of days per week and play with my dog during breaks in my day. I've been able to work in a couple of different roles but it's very hard to move up or get promoted at headquarters. Culture used to be better, it's been going downhill over the last year or two.

    Cons

    Micromanagement is rampant at headquarters. Leaders do not trust each other, or lower level managers. Coming from another large organization, so I was used to decision making being slower, but I've never worked somewhere with so little autonomy; every single thing produced must go through several layers of approval before it goes out the door. Decision making is bottlenecked regularly, especially by senior leaders, which slows down timelines and impacts the teams reputation with stakeholders. Multiple leaders are way too involved in the mynoot details on things....and it starts at the top. More and more people are leaving headquarters because they are fed up with the lack of leadership and infestation of micromanagement. Plus people are overworked. I used to be proud to work here but it's hard to recommend this place anymore.

    Advice to Management

    Trust your people. Give them the credit and respect they deserve. Stop being so involved with all the details and trust your employees to get it done. Look in the mirror and see how much micromanagement you're displaying and permitting in your leaders. Working under constant fear of making a mistake is not conducive to good performance.

  8. Helpful (1)

    "sales associate"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Sales Associate in Charlotte, NC
    Current Employee - Sales Associate in Charlotte, NC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at REI (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Good company, good product, good people, good customers, good work environment.

    Cons

    High level of favoritism played. Part-time retail mentality keeps workers barely hanging on, starving for hours. Guess thats retail, but less than youd expect from rei.

    Advice to Management

    Hire fewer new sales associates. Develop and pay your current performers a living wage. Transfer some of that quantum growth from 2015 back to the sales performers who helped make it happen.


  9. Helpful (17)

    "Ask about turnover rates at HQ"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Kent, WA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Kent, WA
    Doesn't Recommend

    I have been working at REI full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Not a lot of pros. Everyone is overworked.

    Cons

    REI used to be a good place to work. But the work / life balance they promise at HQ has disappeared and it's only getting worse. The turnover rates are higher than they've been in years. If you're interviewing for a role at HQ, ask about turnover rates for your division and team and how things are different now than they were a couple of years ago. I used to love working here. It's also very hard to move up once you're at HQ, the career opportunities are much more limited.

    Advice to Management

    Too much change is happening at once and morale is suffering. Jerry spends a lot of time with staff in the field...why not spend just as much time with lower level employees at HQ and ask them what it's really like, because it's not good. The senior leaders in general stick their head in the sand and don't deal with the real issues going on.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Sales Specialist"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Sales Specialist in Fairfax, VA
    Former Employee - Sales Specialist in Fairfax, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at REI part-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Great Pro Deals if you can afford it. You are around fun products. The people who work there are generally knowledgeable and passionate about the products they sell.

    Cons

    Company structure is very poorly thought through. They give hours based on "performance and availability." But realistically, the only performance metric they track was how many memberships you sell. You are required to sell a quota of memberships which obviously can only be sold to newer customers who don't already have one. So, in order to get hours you should avoid selling gear to quality returning customers who are devoted to the company and instead focus on new customers who haven't bought the membership.

    I had a full availability and my hours would change dramatically every week from 8 to 40 hours. It was a budgeting nightmare. I began to work a second job just to subsidize working for this company.

    Along with this, it seemed as though hours were handed out on a "who do we like most" sort of basis. Definitely creates a brown nosing sort of personality in the company.

    Advice to Management

    Since you claim to be a membership owned company, focus on keeping current members happy instead of pushing to create new ones. Create an environment where the sales people can spend their time selling gear to good customers instead of frantically finding someone to sell a membership to.


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