48. Eddie Bauer

Apparel and gear maker

LOCATION: Bellevue, WA
BEST PERKS: Fitness, Community & Environmental Support, Swag
HIRING: YES! eddiebauer.com

Established in 1920 in Seattle, Eddie Bauer is a specialty retailer that sells casual sportswear and accessories for the active outdoor lifestyle, as well as expedition-class mountaineering gear. Our products are available in over 300 stores throughout the U.S., through our catalog, and online at eddiebauer.com and firstascent.com.

President and CEO Neil Fiske hosts quarterly town halls. Every Town Hall consists of a review of our accomplishments from the last quarter, a business update, and a preview of what’s coming up for the business and brand, and each town hall ends with a Culture Update, where we focus on cool employee programs and stories from across the company. We regularly survey and focus-group our employees so they can provide feedback in a secure setting. We use their feedback to influence and inform our programs and events. For example, our focus groups have led to the development of a new annual rewards program, a new everyday rewards program, our Get Outside benefit (associates get $100 per year to spend on an outdoor activity), and a new orientation program.

We offer many ways for employees to push their limits at work while getting outside with their families and enjoying life. Last year four employees won an all-expenses-paid trip to climb Mount Rainier with some of the country’s most well-known mountain guides. Teams of employees across the country dreamed up an adventure they wanted to go on. Eddie Bauer footed the bill for the winning team. Twenty-five employees won a weeklong adventure expedition to Alaska with a guest.

There’s also an annual bonus plan. The plan can pay out up to twice a year, midway through the year and at the end of the year. All corporate employees are eligible for the plan, and there is no waiting period to participate. In our stores, to honor Eddie’s passion to Be the Best, we award our top-performing teams on a monthly basis. Quarterly, districts nominate and award their top associate who demonstrates a passion for the brand, the business, and delivering on our legendary service standards. Nominees for the Best of Bauer program are flown to Seattle and treated to a Northwest adventure. The winners of the program are sent on a five-day outdoor adventure for themselves and a guest. Typically, there are 80 nominees selected from across the company, and about 30 winners are selected from those nominees.

Eddie Bauer has a separate shower facility for both men and women, available to all employees. Eddie Bauer offers three to four on-site fitness classes a week. These classes are held after work and are typically free or heavily subsidized. Classes in 2010 included yoga, Pilates, and Zumba. In 2010, Eddie Bauer launched a company-wide Fitness Challenge. The hugely successful online challenge incorporated different fitness levels into a fun eight-week program. Employees received fitness tips, nutritional information, and a way to get their personal questions answered.

Eddie Bauer employees have the opportunity to flex their schedules during the summer months to get outside and have an adventure. The program allows employees to work 4.5 days and take an afternoon or morning off to get outside and have fun. Eddie Bauer also encourages teams to use this time for fun outdoor-focused team development. Our policy is to schedule employees’ store hours based on availability. This allows employees with obligations outside of work (i.e., child care, family care) and to work a schedule that allows them to meet their needs.

This year, Eddie Bauer held its third annual employee Give a Coat, Warm a Heart coat drive. In return for donating a coat, associates receive a discount on a new piece of Eddie Bauer outerwear. This year more than 1,000 coats were donated by Eddie Bauer employees. Eddie Bauer partnered with a local organization to conduct a Thanksgiving Food Drive for a food bank. Over 1,100 pounds of food was collected during a critical time for a local food bank. Eddie Bauer made it easy for employees to contribute by leveraging a quarterly meeting and requiring employees to provide canned food for admission to the meeting. Food-collection barrels were strategically placed throughout the building. Eddie Bauer also partnered with a Seattle charity, and employees helped sustain several urban farms. The employees worked on maintaining the farms and built mobile greenhouse units that allowed the charity to provide fresh produce to local food banks in the winter months.

Eddie Bauer has a Green Team of employees dedicated to making our company more environmentally friendly. The Green Team is calculating our carbon footprint so that we can identify ways to reduce our impact on the environment. To celebrate Earth Day, Eddie Bauer organizes events across the company for employees to give back to the environment. Last year associates participated in trail restorations and park clean-ups. As a part of Earth Hour, Eddie Bauer corporate HQ went completely dark. Since January of 2010, all paper that Eddie Bauer purchases for its catalogs and catalog inserts have Forest Stewardship Council certification. In addition, Eddie Bauer has community composting and recycling bins as well as individual recycling bins at each employee’s desk.

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