Real Estate Firm Surprises 198 Employees With $10 Million Bonus

Real Estate Firm Surprises 198 Employees With A Total Of $10 Million In Bonus Money

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St. John Properties/Vimeo

A Baltimore real estate company just rewarded its employees with a whoppin’ $10 million collective bonus

In news that’ll fill you with the holiday spirit, Baltimore real estate firm St. John Properties held its annual holiday party on Saturday, during which the employees received their end-of-year bonus. But instead of the “Jelly of the Month Club” gifts most Griswoldian-types get from their bosses each year, St. John’s 198 employees get to split a cool $10 million.

True story. The heartwarming moment the employees learned of their collective windfall was shared in a video created by the company. Grab the tissues because it’s a whole lot of wonderful.

In it, company founder and chairman Edward St. John thanks his team for their contributions, saying, “Everybody is important in this company, and everybody performs in this company. They really do.” He then announced to the crowd that they would all be receiving part of a $10 million bonus, with their portion based on the number of years they’d been with the company. “And now,” he told the shell-shocked group, “you can open your red envelope!”

Each employee’s surprise envelope contained a card revealing the amount of that particular person’s bonus. According to a press release shared by the company, the average employee received $50,000. The largest bonus was $270,000, and the smallest $100 — the latter going to an employee who’d been with the company for less than a week.

Not surprisingly, there were tears. Lots and lots of tears. And we’re not just talking about ours when we watched the video (but, yes, also those). Watching one employee after another burst into tears of shock and joy is simply heartwarming to see.

What’s even more impressive is the fact that this $10 million payout is in addition to the company’s annual year-end bonuses. Yes, you read that right — the 198 employees will be receiving their portion of $10 million, plus whatever the typical year-end bonus is. Which, considering what we now know about the company, is probably already generous.

This specific bonus serves as a reward for the company meeting a goal St. John set in 2005 to hit 20 million square feet in their real estate portfolio. To celebrate achieving that milestone, they wanted to do something extra special for the people who helped make it happen. Uh, mission accomplished.

This isn’t just cool for its fairytale quality. In August, a study performed by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) found that CEO compensation has grown a staggering 940 percent since 1978. Over that same time, typical worker compensation has only risen 12 percent. That sort of exorbitant CEO pay contributes to the ever-increasing disparity between the proverbial “haves” and “have-nots.” Per EPI, CEOs make more due to their power to set pay, not necessarily due to increasing productivity or high-demand skills.

So, it’s pretty damn amazing — and, in a sense, revolutionary — for St. John’s CEO to use his power to balance the scales a bit more and to thank the employees that have had a huge hand in making his company such a success. Now, we just have one question…

Where do we send our resumes?