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Santa has come early for the employees of one British real estate firm, with their boss handing out festive bonuses totalling £7.5m (HK$78m).
Head and founder of St. John Properties – Edward St. John – stunned and delighted the company’s 198-strong workforce with the surprisingly generous bonus, announcing it during the firm’s annual Christmas bash.
Staff were given their lavish festive bonus in an envelope containing individual bonuses – some of which were in excess of £200,000 – and the remainder of the pot was divvyed up among employees based on their length of service.
Melissa Alleman, the firm’s payroll and benefits administrator, who had worked with the firm for 19 years recalled, “I remember opening the envelope, seeing the number, blinking my eyes a couple of times because I thought my vision was off and then hugging my co-workers.
“I think I said a few times, ‘I can’t breathe,’ I felt a little nauseous and then just celebrated,” she was quoted as saying on the HR Grapevine website.
The unexpected bounty was recognition of the firm hitting its target of a portfolio of 20million-square-feet of real estate which was reached in early December.
How HR can reward employees at Christmas
While very few organisations will be in a position to factor in such generous Christmas bonuses into their budget, there are a number of cost-effective ways to make employees feel appreciated during the festive season.
Providing flexible working around Christmas is a welcome gesture that will benefit employees during the busy lead-up to the holiday period and will only temporarily affect staffing levels.
Work parties – ideally held at a bar or restaurant rather than in the office – may work for some, but not all, company cultures. Other alternatives for employers include having a more casual drinks reception, karaoke or even paintballing, to help teams bond with one another and let off steam at the same time.
Gift giving is another way of acknowledging employees for their continued hard work over the year. Even a simple thank you to staff for the efforts can go a long way.
Parts of this article first appeared on the HR Grapevine website.