What It's Like to Work at Reebok International

FRAMINGHAM (07/24/2000) - Interviewee: Lynn Stevenson, SAP project managerCompany: Reebok International Ltd., the footwear and apparel maker whose brands include Reebok, the Greg Norman Collection, Ralph Lauren Footwear and Rockport Co.

Main location: Canton, Mass.

Number of information technology employees: Eight employees and two consultants on the core application development team; 105 total IT employees at headquartersNumber of employees (end users): 6,100 worldwide; 1,000 at headquartersMajor IT initiatives: A global implementation of SAP AG's Apparel Footwear Solution (AFS) module, which Reebok helped develop in a partnership with SAP.

"Another big project for IT this year was moving our entire IT infrastructure to a new headquarters building in Canton, 10 miles from our old buildings in Stoughton, Mass."

IT training: "In my department, we'll get training in the next version of the SAP AFS module."

Employee reviews: Twice per year

IT career paths: "They're mapped out individually with your supervisor, and there are options for technical tracks and management."

Bonus programs: Spot bonuses in IT for project completion; two annual companywide bonus programs for management and staffDress code: "Professional casual. And we're big on not wearing competitive products, but that's not dictated."

Workday: "Typically, it's 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., but right now we have flexible summer hours - as long as an employee gets in their 40 hours for the week, they can leave at 2 p.m. on Friday."

40 hours a week? Really? "When we're under deadline, we obviously have to work more, so we like to take opportunities when we're not under pressure to refresh and regroup. For example, we recently had a project kickoff activity where we spent the morning in an off-site team-building activity at Blue Hills Reservation [a local park], and afterward, we all hiked up the mountain for a picnic lunch and let everyone go home at 1 p.m."

Kind of offices: The new headquarters has a campus feel with four four-story buildings connected by a "spine." Executives have perimeter offices, directors and above have offices with 12-foot ceilings and staff members have large cubicles in an open workspace.

Decor: A modern design with floor-to-ceiling windows, oak floors and trim - "very artistic and cutting-edge." A bubbling fountain is being constructed outside. "When we went on our team-building hike, we took lots of digital photos and made calendars from them."

On-site amenities: A basketball court, soccer and softball fields, a track, volleyball and tennis courts, a three-floor gymnasium with a full-length basketball court, two aerobics rooms, two weight rooms, a cardio room, spinning and yoga classes and full locker rooms with "every bell and whistle, from shampoo to hair driers to a massage therapist." The Sundries Shop features Starbucks coffee, stamps, toiletries and film-developing and dry-cleaning services.

How often does the IT group use the gym? "It's definitely a more athletic MIS group than you would usually see. We have an MIS league for softball and a basketball team."

On-site day care? "That starts this fall or winter."

Percentage of staff that telecommutes on a given day: "Nobody in my group does because we interact so much with users. But we have some moms in MIS who work from home. It's on a case-by-case basis."

Little perks: A 40 percent discount off wholesale prices for Reebok products, free screenings of movies with Reebok product placements and opportunities to meet athletes who have endorsement deals.

- Leslie Goff (lgoff@ix.netcom.com)

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