At The Clearing, a weekend stay at a beach house for top-performing employees

December 9, 2012

Company:

The Clearing.

Location:

Washington.

Employees:

40.

In September, Julie Brodell and her boyfriend took a weekend trip to Rehoboth Beach. They strolled on the boardwalk, dined on fresh crabs and retreated to their beachside accommodations to relax in a hot tub.

This mini-vacation was made possible by Brodell’s employer, District-based management consulting firm The Clearing. Twice a year, company President John Miller turns over his shore house to a top-performing employee and his or her guests for a weekend. The prize is known as the “Rock the Beach House Award,” and it is given to employees who demonstrate exceptional customer service and embody the company’s culture.

“I had been working very hard. I had been very committed,” said Brodell, a senior consultant. “It was really nice to have my work acknowledged.”

Patricia Koopersmith, the company’s chief operating officer, said this policy was put in place as a nod to what their workers seemed to want from their employer.

“The type of people that we hire tend to be more motivated by appreciation of their contribution than by monetary spot bonuses,” Koopersmith said.

To win the prize, an employee can be nominated by any co-worker, including a boss, a subordinate or even a peer. Any staffer is eligible, except those who have been with the company for less than one year or who have won the prize in the past two years.

The recommendation must include a detailed explanation of how the nominee met the criteria of the award. Applications are then reviewed by a panel of senior leaders who work together to select a winner.

“It’s really thoughtful,” Koopersmith said of the entries she has judged. “People take it really seriously.”

The recipient of the award is announced at one of the firm’s quarterly all-staff meetings.

“This was a way to really recognize people publicly, recognize people with something that would be fun that they couldn’t just buy,” Koopersmith 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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