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Deckers' Art of Kindness initiative is a biannual, week-long event dedicated to volunteering.

Deckers Brands was built on guiding values designed to hold employees accountable, encourage creativity and inspire. But chief people officer Pascale Meyran said that its culture wasn’t developed in an ivory tower. Instead, she said, Deckers is employee-centric, with an environment that was created and cultivated by its own people.

“Everybody feels like they have a hand in creating the culture. With that comes a stronger sense of ownership and belonging. That’s what makes us unique, frankly,” Meyran said, describing the company as warm, inclusive and highly creative.

It’s worth noting that the HR exec came out of retirement to work for Deckers during the global pandemic just over two years ago. She said it’s a testament to the company and the opportunity to work with great people and make an impact.

“We are inclusive, where everybody can be who they are and because of that, it allows us to serve our customer,” said Meyran.

For CEO Dave Powers, his sole focus is on ensuring the well-being of his employees. Mental health
is more important now than ever, he explained, noting that it’s critical to offer support and guidance to employees when needed.

“People matter. They’re not just an employee — I look at them as a holistic person,” said Powers. “We spend a lot of time talking about what’s best for our employees and not just about what will make them successful in their jobs, but how can we support them, their families, give them freedom and empowerment.”

Part of that comes from offering flexibility in working from home.

Powers added, “We look at it as work where you work best. I said to the employees, ‘Hey, we’re going to do this. I reserve the right to change it, but we’re going to try it because we believe in you and we trust you.’”

In addition, having honest conversations around DEI has remained a top priority.

Deckers has a range of employee resource groups, including LTX (Latinx), BLK (Black), Deckability & Allies, Healthy Minds, PRISM (LGBTQIA+), VERG (Veterans), South Asian, Boundless (Women), Working Parents and Caregivers. This is where community is formed, Meyran explained.

“It’s a way for employees to connect and feel a sense of belonging. A big part is also educating the rest of the organization. They’re helping us in HR — giving us ideas about hiring people, about the benefits we’re offering and whether that aligns with a diverse population, and they help our brands to think about the diversity of our consumers,” she said.

Since last year, the percentage of BIPOC leaders at director level and above positions has increased from 15% to 21% in the U.S., and 44% of all new hires have been from BIPOC communities in the U.S. Looking ahead, Deckers is targeting 25% representation for BIPOC people at the director level and above in the U.S. by 2027. Also, Ugg, Hoka, Teva, Sanuk and Koolaburra by Ugg each committed to featuring 60% BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and diversity of body types and abilities in marketing campaigns.

What’s also giving Deckers employees purpose is community involvement.

“People want to work for a company that has a higher purpose and it has been a real motivator for our employees,” said Powers.

Last year, Deckers donated $3.4 million to a variety of nonprofits. And its Art of Kindness initiative, for instance, is a biannual, week-long event dedicated to volunteering.

Out of Art of Kindness came another idea from an employee, where one week during the year is focused on personal development within Deckers.

“We let employees choose the training they want to attend. But what was most amazing, all the modules were developed by our own employees,” explained Meyran. “We encourage people to take risks, to explore new ideas. We truly have an open-door policy. When we ask people for feedback, we act on their feedback, and we take that very seriously.”

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