Company: Near Infinity.
Number of employees: 70.
Brandon Marc-Aurele, 22, wasn’t used to receiving gifts from his boss.
So when one arrived in his inbox earlier this year, he paid it no notice.
“I got an e-mail from my manager and assumed it was just more work,” said Marc-Aurele, a junior software engineer at Near Infinity. “I let it just sit there for a while before I opened it.”
The e-mail turned out to include a $50 gift card to NewEgg.com, a computer parts site Marc-Aurele frequented.
“It was so thoughtful,” Marc-Aurele said. “I wasn’t expecting it at all.”
Near Infinity, a Reston-based software development company, gives managers $100 to spend on each employee every year.
Some managers take their team on quarterly lunches, while others purchase gifts throughout the year.
“Managers love it because they don’t have to come and ask us for approval if they want to do something nice for an employee,” said Karen Upton, director of human resources.
Over the summer, Caroline Wizeman took a group of interns and employees out for bowling. They left work after lunch, went to Bowl America in Sterling for a few games, then stopped for ice cream.
“It’s great because we can tailor rewards for our employees,” said Wizeman, director of marketing and communications. “Like, I wasn’t going to take my team out for happy hour because so many of them weren’t 21 yet.”
The company keeps a running spreadsheet where employees can log their interests and hobbies, ranging from their favorite coffee shops and sports teams to coveted items they’d never buy for themselves.
“This really allows managers to get to know their employees and to thank them in a personal way,” Upton said.