Benefiting from its work culture as well as the many perks that extend to part-timers, REI for the second year in a row ranked highest in Glassdoor's 2013 Best Place to Work.
The top-50 list across industries was compiled based on close to a half million company reviews submitted by employees to the job search and career website over the past 12 months. Employees rate their overall workplace satisfaction as well as "Career Opportunities," "Compensation And Benefits," "Work/Life Balance," "Senior Management," and "Culture And Values." Glassdoor's proprietary algorithm ultimately determines the overall ranking.
REI earned a workplace satisfaction rating of 4.0 out of 5.0. The chain score was average in Career Opportunities (3.0 stars), with some reviews stating that relocation is often needed for advancement.
But Compensation & Benefits, Work/Life Balance, Senior Leadership and Culture & Values all ranked above average, rated 4.0 stars each. Particularly praised was the benefits package that includes free life insurance, basic low cost health insurance and dental insurance as well as perks such as generous employee discounts even for part-time help who put in enough hours. Also commended by many were flexible schedules for those in school or working second jobs, supportive managers with a commitment to teamwork, friendly staff, the chain's passionate customers, and community involvement. Its CEO Sally Jewell scored an 89 percent approval rating.
Pay was said to be higher than average but some still complained it is still too low for a primary job. Other negatives include pressure to sell co-op memberships, having to work holidays, and challenges getting adequate hours each week.
Overall, REI ranked 21 on the top-50 list. The other retail-related companies on the list were Trader Joe's, coming in at 24; Apple, 34; IKEA, 43; Costco, 46; and Starbucks, 50. Their scores ranged from 3.8 to 4.0.
Among a few other larger retailers, Walmart scored a workplace satisfaction rating of 2.9; Target, 3.2; Amazon, 3.3; Nordstrom, 3.5; Macy's, 2.9; Whole Foods, 3.6; Kroger, 3.0; and Safeway, 2.7.
The top ten across industries were Facebook, McKinsey & Co., Riverbed Technology, Bain & Co., M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Google, Edelman, National Instruments, In-N-Out Burger and Boston Consulting Group.
Are perks (health insurance benefits, employee discounts) or culture (friendly staff, community involvement) more important elements for employee satisfaction at stores?