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Lululemon Will No Longer Push Employees to Attend Self-Help Classes

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Photo: Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images

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There's an interesting aside in a New York Times profile of Lululemon's chief executive Laurent Potdevin regarding the retailer's connection with Landmark Forum, a self-help program that some former employees have alleged they felt forced to attend in order to advance within the company. It seems like Potdevin might be de-emphasizing Landmark Forum, which Lululemon founder Chip Wilson incorporated into the brand's culture. NYT's Katherine Rosman writes after her interview with Potdevin at the Lululemon's campus in Vancouver:

He also said he has tweaked the company culture, putting less pressure on employees to take, as they have for years, Landmark Forum personal-development seminars (though many still do, and the company pays for them, along with fitness classes).

"I don’t think it’s one size fits all in personal development," said Mr. Potdevin, known to many of these employees as L.P. "Some people find it through yoga, some people get that through meditation, some people might get that through Buddhism or some through sweaty endeavors."

Mary Mann, a former employee who wrote a 2013 Salon essay about her experience working at an NYC Lululemon store, called Landmark Forum a "group therapy-cum-self-help seminar."

Another Lulu employee described the sessions to Racked in 2014: "They go through several levels of what they call "distinctions" and there was a lot of encouragement to open up about past experiences which might hinder future explorations." She continued, saying: "Some even strived for public humiliation, citing it as a break-through. I didn't think it was for me, but I felt pressure to attend because all my coworkers had."

But not everyone is weirded out by Landmark. An LA-based employee said she didn't feel compelled to go to the seminars, telling Racked: "Attending Landmark helped me work on integrity, like coming to work on time, for example. I sort of had this 'eureka' moment and the culture at Lululemon reinforces what I try to accomplish. The employees are all on board to help each other work towards are goals, the vibes are always positive and we support each other through struggles."