A CEO’s decision to set a $70,000 minimum wage for his employees more than a year ago isn’t just paying off for his company, his workers are paying him back with a huge thank you gift — a new Tesla.
Dan Price went through a range of emotions, crying, laughing, hugging, and even jumping into the arms of his employees when they surprised him with his $70,000 dream car outside the Gravity Payments headquarters in Seattle, Washington.
A plaque attached to the car read: “Thank you for always putting the team before yourself. This gift is our way of showing how much your sacrifice means to us.”
Price decided to raise the starting wage at his company in April, 2015 after he overheard a worker talking about how she could barely make ends meet on her salary. He cut his own salary to $70,000 a year to help pay for his employees’ raises.
Some in the business world criticized his move, saying it would run the company out of business and drive higher salaried workers away. But the exact opposite has happened.
The company recently released an infographic on how the first year has shaped up since the 5-digit minimum wage took effect.
Turnover is at the lowest level in Gravity’s history, the company received an influx of 30,000 resumes, and added 50 additional positions since the raises were enacted. The company, which processes credit card transactions for small businesses, has also seen its own business boom. The number of transactions for clients have increased 30% and profits have nearly doubled in the past year—from $3.5 million to $6.5 million— with more companies signing up.
Price also likes to talk about the quality of life for his employees since taking home the extra pay.
It’s let them move to more pricey homes and apartments closer to the office, cutting commute times by six hours a day, and increased contributions to retirement accounts by 130%. He even credits the added financial security with a “baby boom” in the office — where in the past there were no more than two birth announcements annually, but ten in the last year.
The car’s $70,000 price tag is also symbolic of the life-changing minimum wage he set.
“I think this is just the ultimate way of saying, ‘Thank you,’” employee Alyssa O’Neal says in the video below. “He’s been up to bat for us, so we figured we could do something nice for him.