We seek to attract talented people who want to grow and be part of a great team. Our recruiting philosophy is built on our company's vision and values. We look for people who are friendly, respectful of others, open-minded, team-oriented, innovative, flexible, action-oriented, and passionate about what they do. Our recruiting website Live Your Life Love Your Job offers a view into our culture and hiring process.
We get one chance to get each associate's new orientation right. Associates in the Corporate Office, New York Design Center, Distribution Centers and Field are welcomed through our AEO New Orientation program. AEO New Orientation guides the new associate through their first full year, with a special focus on the first 90 days.
We maintain a variety of learning and development avenues to meet the diverse training needs of our people.
The Associate Experience provides an interactive course curriculum for store associates on defined success factors and core values. The curriculum begins with an industry-leading, interactive onboarding program about our brand and products led by a designated store trainer. Store associates are then introduced to Customer First, which defines AEO, Inc.'s approach to communication and strives to ensure that every customer leaves our stores happier than when they walked in. Finally, store associates continue their development through Communication Center, which provides personalized selling goals, promotional news and new product knowledge, and AEOTV, which provides up-to-the-minute, short training videos featuring product knowledge and selling tips directly from our design team.
Achieving Excellence is our 16-week entry level training program for merchandising and planning & allocation. Every year, we recruit approximately 30 college students from major universities across the country and associates from our stores. Achieving Excellence provides a combination of classroom training, field experience, interoffice exposure and on-the-job training. Upon successful completion, associates are placed into areas that best suit their skill sets.
The AEO Internship Program is an important way that we discover and recruit future company leaders. The program is designed for college students who have finished their junior year of study. AEO, Inc. internships offer talented individuals the opportunity to experience a fast paced retail environment with the potential of a full-time offer after graduation. Internships are available in a variety of divisions, including Merchandising and Planning & Allocation. Furnished housing, including rent and utilities, is provided for students that do not live in the Pittsburgh area.
In 2007, the New York Design Center also launched our Design Assistant Trainee Program, offering full-time permanent placement for fashion design graduates. This program helps us to hire top talent and build bench strength for future growth.
Finally, our Mentoring Program pairs senior executives (Mentors) with high performing associates (Proteges) in a nine month one-on-one mentoring relationship to foster stronger partnerships between current and future leaders of the business. Promotion rates of Proteges over the past four years have exceeded 80%.
Our company is successful when our people are successful. In 2010, we celebrated our associates' achievements at all levels, ranging from awards to sales associates for building customer connections and driving sales performance to excellence awards for distribution center associates to our Eagle of the Year, our top annual award which recognizes an associate who has made an outstanding contribution to the company.
In 2010-11, our Eagle of the Year was Stan D., Senior Maintenance and Facilities Manager at our Kansas Distribution Center. Stan spearheaded an energy- efficient lighting and HVAC overhaul project at the distribution center, which resulted in significant environmental and financial savings.
"The lighting retrofit for the Kansas DC was a conscious effort to conserve energy and reduce the carbon footprint of the DC. Just a few short years ago, to get adequate lighting in the DC, we had to add an additional fixture for every existing two, which increased the cost immensely. With new technology, we were able to swap fixture for fixture. That alone justified the project with a two year return on investment (ROI). But adding strategically-placed automatic lighting brought an expected one year ROI and it now looks like our investment will be recovered in nine to ten months. To be successful in today's business atmosphere you have to make smart decisions. I'm thankful that American Eagle looked at this project as a win for the environment, as well as a cost-savings opportunity"
- Stan D., Facilities
Every quarter, we also recognize associates who have gone "above and beyond" in their jobs as Eagle's Elite. A panel of Vice Presidents and above selects recipients who demonstrate excellence and have gone beyond the scope of normal job responsibilities. Winning individuals and teams come from many different divisions of the company.
We also encourage associates to recognize each other in real time through our High Five program. Winners receive a choice of gift cards and a High Five certificate to display in their work areas. In early 2011, we also began profiling High Five winners on our company-wide intranet. In FY2010 and through the first quarter of 2011, associates in our corporate offices and distribution centers recognized fellow teammates with more than 660 High Five awards.
With Pittsburgh, PA, New York, NY, Kansas, and Canadian-based based corporate office and distribution center locations, we are a sports-minded culture. We offer many opportunities for corporate and distribution center associates to take advantage of company-sponsored tickets to sporting events.
Every year, associates have opportunities to attend a variety of events, including the Pittsburgh Steelers and University of Pittsburgh Panthers at Heinz Field, the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center, the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park, the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium and the New York Mets at Citi Field, the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium and Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium, and University of Kansas football and basketball.
Pittsburgh-based associates may also attend concerts at Stage AE®, where some of the coolest new bands perform.
In early 2011, American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. was also the presenting sponsor of the Big East basketball tournament, which provided our New York-based associates with the opportunity to attend some of the season's most sought-after college basketball games.