Corporate Culture and Employees
We seek to provide a dynamic work environment that promotes the retention and development of our employees and is a differentiating factor in our ability to attract new talent. We also are committed to providing our employees a rewarding work experience that allows for career development. We strive to offer our employees attractive and equitable compensation, regular opportunities to participate in professional development activities, outlets for civic engagement and reasonable flexibility to allow a healthy work/life balance. Our employees further our commitment to social responsibility through their efforts to become involved in outside organizations that promote education, environmental and social well-being.
We have a talented and diverse group of employees, and we are committed to providing a positive work environment for them. We value equal opportunity in the workplace and fair employment practices. The following highlights certain key aspects of our corporate culture:
We Value Diversity and Inclusion. We have built an inclusive culture that encourages, supports, and celebrates the diverse voices and backgrounds of our employees. We believe diversity encourages innovative thinking and the opportunity to be aligned with our tenants and the community around us. Women comprise nearly 40% of our employees and hold approximately 36% of our management positions, providing significant leadership at our Company. Our commitment to diversity extends to our board of directors, as three of its seven independent members, or approximately 43%, are women. Additionally, we have a consistent and strong record of hiring veterans of the U.S. military, including our Chief Executive Officer.
Diversity Recognition. In 2020, we were named a “Champion of Board Diversity” by the Forum of Executive Women, a network of executive women that began in 1977 and is headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Attractive Compensation. Our compensation package includes attractive market-based base compensation, equity compensation for many employees, health benefits (medical, dental and vision) for all employees and their families, and a 401(k) plan (with a Company match equal to 100% of the first 5% of eligible compensation). Our compensation program is designed to attract and retain talent, and to align our employee’s efforts with the interests of all of our stakeholders. Factors we evaluate in connection with hiring, developing, training, compensating, and advancing individuals include, but are not limited to, qualification, performance, skill, and experience. Our employees are fairly compensated based on merit, without regard to color, race, sex, national origin, ethnicity, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identification or expression, or any other status protected by applicable law.
Health, Family and Wellness. We strive to promote a healthy work/life balance for our employees. We have an onsite gym that, but for the recent COVID-19 restrictions, is accessible and free of charge for all employees. We support corporate sponsored athletic teams, including the EPRT employee soccer and basketball teams. We ensure our health benefits and coverages are attractive and supportive of the needs of individual employees and employees with families alike. We supplement the costs of a comprehensive annual physical for our named executive officers. During the pandemic, after the “stay at home” mandate was lifted in New Jersey, we implemented a program through which half of our employees working at our corporate headquarters worked in the office on Mondays and Wednesdays and the other half worked in the office on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with all employees working from home on Fridays. Since returning to the office, subsequent to the lifting of the stay-at-home mandate, we have provided in office lunch to our employees with the goal of limiting their potential exposure to the virus. After the vaccination program was announced, we returned to full in person staffing from Monday through Thursday, with Friday continuing to be a work-from-home day.
Professional Development. We offer our employees various continuing educational opportunities and reimbursement for certain educational expenses. We also offer reimbursement for certain costs associated with an employee’s professional certifications, including continuing education and preparation for certification examinations. We encourage our employees to grow within our organization, and we provide opportunities for employees to develop expertise in various aspects of our business, including acquisitions and dispositions, leasing, credit analysis, asset management, finance, and reporting and compliance. Employees are given regular feedback through formal annual performance reviews and an “open door” culture that encourages less formal guidance in “real time.” We support employees as they develop within our industry with memberships to industry organizations, such as the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts and the International Council of Shopping Centers. We periodically arrange “promotion dinners” to acknowledge and celebrate members of our team who have been promoted to positions of increasing responsibility.
Internship Program. We are committed to developing talented individuals through our paid college internship program by providing career learning opportunities and an introduction to our business to students at the outset of their careers. During 2020 and to date in 2021, we have had three individuals work as interns at the Company.
Our commitment to maintaining a positive work environment extends beyond offering attractive compensation and meaningful opportunities for professional development and advancement.
Employee Engagement. We hold weekly all-hands staff meetings virtually or at our corporate headquarters, where developments in, and objectives of, our business are broadly communicated. After each quarter, we hold a company-wide meeting, where we summarize overall corporate achievements and acknowledge significant employee contributions. At our weekly and quarterly meetings, all employees are encouraged to provide input into the development of our business and voice any suggestions or concerns that they may have.
Team Building. We believe that fostering a collegial work environment is an important element of driving long-term success. Accordingly, we strive to develop a supportive work environment through various events, such as an annual summer outing and a holiday celebration near year end, which are designed to foster an increasing level of collegiality among our employees and develop a shared sense of mission.
Civic Engagement. We are committed to improving the community around us, and we believe that giving back is an important part of being a responsible corporate citizen. We actively support many organizations in the greater Princeton, New Jersey area surrounding our corporate headquarters, and we encourage our employees to volunteer with organizations that are meaningful to them. We have been proud to support organizations such as:
During 2021, we look forward to continuing to support the organizations that we have been involved with previously, and we plan to identify new organizations to support which are contributors to the betterment of our local community and causes in which our employees participate.
Employee-Directed Engagement Initiatives. For our employees, we are committed to creating a diverse and vibrant workplace that respects individuality, helps every person realize his or her full potential, and includes persons with a broad range of experiences, backgrounds and skills that enable us to anticipate and meet the needs of our business and those of our tenants.