At Tangent, champagne is used to thank employees

October 7, 2012

Company: Tangent.

Location: Washington.

Employees: 10 locally; 12 nationwide.

At Tangent, a District-based recruitment firm, employees say there’s typically a buzz of excitement around the office on the day before Thanksgiving.

That’s because they’ve come to expect that they’ll receive a treat before they head home for the holiday weekend. For the past 25 years, firm president Fran D’Ooge has given all of her staffers a bottle of specially-branded Tangent champagne to celebrate the holiday.

And whether she hands it out at an all-staff meeting or delivers it directly to employees’ desks, D’Ooge makes a point to give each person his or her bottle individually, so she can thank them for their work.

“It’s very different to thank someone or recognize something in person than to send them ‘congrats’ on an e-mail,” D’Ooge said.

For Kathleen Edquist, a senior executive recruiter who has worked at Tangent for 13 years, the champagne has become part of her holiday traditions.

“Both my husband’s family and my family have come to expect that I bring the lovely champagne to Thanksgiving holiday,” Edquist said.

D’Ooge first began doing this in 1987 when a woman who used to work for her moved out to Napa Valley to work in the wine business.

“She called me up, and she’s a good salesperson,” D’Ooge said.

The bottle is customized so it bears Tangent’s logo.

While it may have seemed like a fanciful idea at the outset, D’Ooge kept placing orders because employees seemed to appreciate the gesture.

“It’s amazing how these little perks can really change the dynamics of the office,” said Maurice Roche, a senior executive recruiter.

The customized champagne has also been used to celebrate other employee milestones. For one staffer’s wedding, the company gave him an entire case of champagne with a personalized label featuring a photo from his nuptials.

Edquist said she’s impressed by the fact that it’s been done regularly for so many years.

“The continuity of that gesture carries just as much weight as the gesture itself,” Edquist said.

Sarah Halzack is The Washington Post's national retail reporter. She has previously covered the local job market and the business of talent and hiring. She has also served as a Web producer for business and economic news.
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