LOCATION: Bothell, WA
NUMBER OF EMPLOYERS: 229
BEST PERKS: Fitness, Community & environmental support, Swag
HIRING? YES! brooksrunning.com
Brooks Sports, your go-to company for anything and everything related to running, designs and markets high-performance running shoes, apparel, and accessories in more than 60 countries worldwide. Brooks is dedicated to inspiring people to run and be active by creating innovative gear that keeps them running longer, farther, faster, and happier. Every day, the company and its employees live and breathe the Run Happy spirit it promotes with great product and fun promotions, like the Run Happy Cavalcade of Curiosities, a custom double-decker British bus featuring free running-gait analysis, which travels the country helping runners find the perfect ride for their stride. A subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., Brooks was founded in 1914 and is headquartered in Bothell, Washington.
At Brooks, employees aren’t just dedicated to making the best gear for runners; they are runners. Walking into the Brooks office, you never know if you will see President and CEO Jim Weber headed out for a daily run, someone just returning from a lunchtime bike ride, or a group of employees participating in CrossFit or Zumba in the parking lot. The corporate office is located on outdoor running trails, making it easy to get a run in before work or on a lunch break. Employees are encouraged to get active with 24-hour access to the on-site workout facility and the opportunity to participate in workout classes such as group training, yoga, CrossFit, and Zumba. A rich benefits package including 100 percent employee coverage along with 50 percent dependent coverage for medical, dental, vision, etc., also keeps employees healthy and active. Employees also have access to Brooks U, the company’s online training site. Brooks U offers sales training videos, book or reading abstracts, and multiple learning libraries with a variety of classes to help employees continue developing and improving their skill set.
EMPLOYEE RECOGNITION AND AWARDS
Each year at the Brooks Annual Employee Meeting in January, the company celebrates the previous year’s success and recognizes outstanding individual contributors with annual awards. Eight honors are bestowed upon Brooks employees, including the Run Happy Award, Green Award, Chariot Award, and Fit and Powerful Award. Winners receive cold, hard cash, a round of applause, and bragging rights for the year. All full-time employees are also eligible for an annual bonus as a percentage of their salary based upon company performance and achievement of individual goals. In addition, each Brooks employee is awarded between $100 and $500 in Brooks product based on years of employment, as an Anniversary Award.
Brooks offers free and discounted race entry for various marathons, half-marathons, and fun runs year-round, including the Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon series, where Brooks is a sponsor. To cover any other race fees, all employees are given a $100 annual award called “Mo Bucks” to be used on activities and equipment that promote an active and healthy lifestyle, such as race-entry fees, gym memberships, fitness programs, and, of course, running gear. Employees are also challenged to participate in at least one race that is a half-marathon distance or greater, plus two shorter races during the year in the Brooks employee race series. Employees who log all three races are rewarded at the end of the year with a fun night out. Employees are encouraged to train and race, so at Brooks, daily runs and workouts are a normal part of business. The on-site gym makes it easy to get your workout in, rain or shine, plus on-site fitness classes from yoga to high-impact aerobics give employees the chance to mix their workout up from day to day. For employees who choose to commute to work, bike racks are also available inside the gym. For those sunny days in Seattle, Brooks is conveniently located along the Burke-Gilman Trail, which offers outdoor workout stations and clearly marked routes. To promote an active lifestyle, departments take turns hosting “Friday Runs” to encourage the employees to get outside. These runs begin at 3:30 and end with a themed party like 80’s or Toga. For those unfamiliar with the area, employees and visiting clients are provided maps with clearly marked routes and distances. For postworkout, employees have access to lockers and shower facilities.
Brooks believes in a healthy lifestyle for all its employees, and with this comes a good work/life balance. This means spending time with those you love and taking time for the things you love. All employees are offered a generous vacation package, and those employees with 13 years of full-time continuous service are eligible to receive four additional weeks of paid time off. Every six years thereafter, they are eligible for an additional four weeks of paid time off (19 years, 25 years, 31 years, etc.). For employees who need flexibility, Brooks offers telecommuting options and variable hours.
The Run B’Cause program gives employees $300 of product to donate to a personally relevant cause each year. Each employee is also given eight hours per year of paid time off to participate with a group of fellow employees in a community-service activity. The Run B’Cause program also lends support in the form of in-kind product donations to organizations, events, and individuals that share our passion for sport and a healthy lifestyle. A new addition to the Run B’cause program for 2011 is Inspiring Coaches, which honors high school track and cross-country coaches who make a lasting difference in the lives of their athletes and inspire not only their athletes but also others in their communities to run and be active. The Inspiring Coaches top ten finalists, based on applications received on brooksrunning.com, receive $5,000 in Brooks gear for their team, $500 in additional team expenses, and membership to the Brooks I.D. program. The Most Inspiring Coach receives $10,000 in Brooks gear, $2,500 for additional team expenses, and a trip for two to the 2012 Brooks PR Invitational in Seattle. The program gives Brooks the opportunity to support amazing high school runners who are the future influencers of the sport.
Brooks encourages alternate forms of commuting and provides employees with a way to understand and analyze their carbon footprint. In 2010, employees were asked to participate in a Commuter Challenge. The overall company goal was to cumulatively offset 3,000 pounds of CO2 in the month of May, using alternate forms of commuting. Brooks employees rallied around this challenge and reached their goal. As a reward, all participants were treated to a catered lunch and were entered into a raffle to win prizes such as iPads, Kindles, Brooks product, and more. In 2011, the Commuter Challenge was made even bigger. Employees are encouraged to find alternate forms of commuting like carpooling, biking, running, etc. The companywide goal is to reduce our total number of single-occupancy vehicle commuting trips by 1,750 during a five-month period that will end in September.