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February 2022

Employer offering new houses as a worker incentive

February 2022

Two employees of a Florida company will receive keys to mortgage-free homes, compliments of the boss.

The prizes are an incentive being offered by Jason James, CEO and founder of Mechanical One, which furnishes new developments with air conditioning and plumbing. It is his way of addressing the Great Resignation and labor shortage while enticing workers to stay. "My passion is really trying to reinvent employee appreciation," James said.

The privately held company, which has about 100 employees, bought two lots for three-bedroom, two-bath homes and has earmarked $500,000 for the project. Winners will be selected by a random drawing in December.

To qualify, employees must be with the company for a full year, complete 20 hours of community service at a nonprofit of their choosing, and take a financial literacy course paid for by Mechanical One.

James said he considered giving away a car or vacation, but thought a home would have more impact. He told a reporter his business model is "if we take care of our people, they are going to do more for us than any marketing budget."

The Great Resignation, also known as the Big Quit and the Extraordinary Exodus, is an economic trend (primarily in the U.S.) in which employees voluntarily resign from their jobs en masse, beginning in early 2021. According to Wikipedia, it started when the American government refused to provide worker protections in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in wage stagnation amid rising costs of living. A study by PwC found that upwards of 65% of employees are searching for a new job.