retail news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Let's hear it for Larry Maykrantz, president of Maryland real estate firm St. John Properties.

The Washington Post reports that at the company's annual holiday party last weekend, he handed out red envelopes with end-of-year bonuses to his 198 employees.

Bonuses "averaging $50,000 and totaling $10 million, life changing sums based solely on tenure. One man, a maintenance technician who started at the company in 1981, received more than $200,000."

“I just hope other companies look at this and realize that the employees are who they are,” Maykrantz tells the Post, saying that company leadership "thought it was important to recognize everyone’s role and to do so based not on title but on tenure 'to show that all of us are equal in achieving this goal'."

Founder and chairman Edward St. John said: “I steer the boat, but they’re the ones that run the boat. They’re the ones that make the boat go.”

Now, not every company can afford this kind of largesse. St. John Properties has had a run of success, and so it could afford this level of generosity, could afford to, in many cases, quite literally change its employees' lives.

But … what is even more important than the number is the attitude, the recognition that everyone in an organization contributes to success, not just a few high-level execs and salesmen who collect big checks and contractually-required bonuses that sometimes seem out of synch with a company's performance.

So good for Larry Maykrantz and his team for understanding what really creates success. I hope that this Eye-Opening move pays them dividends for years to come.
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