REI + NOD: Case Study
To recruit and employ people with disabilities to join the REI team at the state-of-the-art distribution center in Goodyear, Arizona. REI is already known for creating a progressive work environment that is inclusive and respectful. Through their partnership with NOD, REI had a goal of building a workforce reflective of the community and their customer base, by including people with disabilities.
In previous efforts to create a working environment welcoming to people with disabilities in other REI facilities, the company noted how long the transition typically took. Working with the NOD team, REI saw near immediate results in the facility’s culture, including employees who took it upon themselves to learn sign language to communicate with a new co-worker who uses sign. NOD’s training program – created for all levels of employees, including leadership – taught the REI team how to work with and lead team members with disabilities. These training sessions, including etiquette and awareness lessons, were delivered to more than 30 REI managers and 120 staff members in anticipation of hiring more people with disabilities from the greater Goodyear area. Another key portion of the REI and NOD partnership was a comprehensive review of their existing inclusion policies resulting in specific recommendations to advance their inclusion goals.
“If anybody were to ever ask me if I’d work with the National Organization on Disability, my answer is a heartfelt ‘yes!’ They’ve been a fantastic partner to us and most importantly it wasn’t about them having a canned program that they had set that they would roll out to every employer. They truly take the time to understand you, understand your business, understand the opportunities in your business and really match those up. There’s no force fed, pre-programmed set of ideas they have for you. They really work with you to make something right for your company. I really appreciate that and I’d highly recommend the National Organization on Disability as a key partner on your initiative to find, recruit and employ great talent.”
Chris Joyce | Director of Operations, REI
“The NOD really set the foundation for us and gave us a base and a ground to really start walking. We were there, but I think we were more crawling towards that direction. The NOD really got us walking and really got us to run towards the goal we had. They were a great coach and mentor.”
Christian Saldana | Operations Supervisor, REI