The CEO of a marketing agency grants 10 of his employees’ wishes each year instead of giving them year-end bonuses

Accelerated Partners CEO Robert Glazer. Piranha
  • Instead of giving out year-end bonuses, the CEO of a Boston marketing agency grants 10 of his employees’ greatest wishes.
  • In the past two years, Robert Glazer has sent an employee to visit her grandmother in Greece, paid for employees to take skydiving and guitar lessons, and hired a private investigator for an employee trying to find her long-lost brother.
  • The gestures show workers that their company cares about them, Glazer said, and are more meaningful than a cash bonus.

For the past two years, Robert Glazer, the CEO of the Boston-based marketing agency Acceleration Partners, has welcomed the holiday season by granting some of his employees’ greatest wishes.

In one case, Glazer sent an employee and her daughter to visit the employee’s grandmother in Greece. For another employee, the CEO called in a favour to have her lead a lecture about marketing at MIT. And in one dramatic example, he hired a private investigator for an employee who was trying to find her long-lost brother, who had been given up for adoption.

Glazer said he borrowed the idea from another company, Appletree Answers, which runs a similar program called “Dream On” every year.

Every year, he told Business Insider, the company’s 130 employees are invited to submit a long-held goal of theirs, or a relationship they want to strengthen, on Slack. Glazer and the company’s head of culture then select 10 wishes to grant each year.

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The end result not only made individual employees happy, but brought the company closer together, Glazer said.

“The goal of this was really about intrinsic motivation and finding out what was most important to our employees,” he told Business Insider. “And if we help them with that, then maybe they develop into better people and better employees.”

“They’re really touched that we care, that we did the work, that we did the research, that we cared about what was important to them.”

Although only 10 employees are chosen each year, there’s no bad blood among those who weren’t picked.

“When I didn’t get picked last year, I was just thrilled for everyone who was, and the general consensus was that everyone was so happy,” Kaylee Feldt, an Acceleration Partners associate, told Moneyish.

In the past two years, Accelerated Partners has paid for employees to go skydiving and learn to play the guitar, according to Moneyish. Last year, Glazer said a group of employees submitted that they wanted to run a marathon or triathlon, so Glazer hired his personal trainer to coach them. Some of the wishes don’t cost any money for the company to grant, while others can cost up to $US2,000, he said.

“Think about the impact and the emotion, all that stuff. You don’t get any of this out of, like, a thousand-dollar bonus,” Glazer told Business Insider.