It’s disheartening to see how some corporations treat their employees. Recent stories about Amazon mistreating its workers have drawn harsh criticism.
On the other hand, it’s wonderful to see a company doing the opposite: giving its employees what they deserve.
A holiday party at St. John Properties, a real estate company in Maryland, took an amazing turn. The owner and president passed out Christmas bonuses to the employees. But the bonuses weren’t the regular end-of-the-year type. In fact, they came with a very special announcement.YouTube Screenshot/Associated Press Source: YouTube Screenshot/Associated Press
President Larry Maykrantz said the company had reached a huge milestone.
They were celebrating the development of 20 million square feet of real estate. To that end, they handed out $10 million in holiday bonuses.
For a company with 198 employees, that means the average bonus check was $50,000. The bonuses were calculated based on length of tenure. The longest-tenured employee who’d been with the company for 45 years, received a check for $270,000.YouTube Screenshot/Associated Press Source: YouTube Screenshot/Associated Press
When the employees opened their checks, there were gasps and screams.
People began to weep and hug one another. But the owner of the company, Ed St. John, was very clear about why they had done it.
“I wanted to make it meaningful for the people who did it,” said St. John. “You know, I steer the boat but they’re the ones that run the boat. They’re the ones that make the boat go.”YouTube Screenshot/Associated Press Source: YouTube Screenshot/Associated Press
Maykrantz said that it’s a lesson St. John has taught him many times over the years.
“It was our way to give back to our employees who have been with us,” said Maykrantz. “Our longest-tenured employee is 45 years. The shortest starts on Monday. From the day I started 38 years ago, he told me — I’ve heard it thousands of times: ‘Larry, employees are the foundation of our organization.’”YouTube Screenshot/Associated Press Source: YouTube Screenshot/Associated Press
The smallest bonus check went to an employee who hadn’t even started working at the company yet.
It was for $100, which is a nice little holiday bonus in itself.
“It was truly one of the most amazing things I’ve ever witnessed in my life,” said Maykrantz. “Everyone was all overwhelmed with emotions. They were screaming, crying, laughing, hugging.”YouTube Screenshot/Associated Press Source: YouTube Screenshot/Associated Press
For the rest of the employees, the bonuses were nothing short of life-changing.
They lined up to thank Maykrantz and St. John. Many of them talked about what they were going to do with the money. They talked about paying off credit card debt and student loans. Some said they would buy homes, set up retirement accounts, or send children to college.
“We are so proud of our employees,” said Maykrantz. “They are the foundation and the reason behind the success of our company. And we wanted a big way to thank them and I think we were successful in doing that.”YouTube Screenshot/Associated Press Source: YouTube Screenshot/Associated Press
St. John Properties is a midsize real estate company headquartered in Maryland. It has eight branches across the country. Out-of-state employees were flown in for the party on the company’s dime.
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