Real estate CEO Larry Connor recently gave $1.6 million in stock market dividends as bonuses to his employees in a show of appreciation amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“We just sold our position in four stocks and made about $1.6 million in eight days,” Connor told Yahoo Finance (video above). “I felt, on the one hand, great about [the sale]. But then I'm like, ‘This didn’t feel right to me.’ ... so I said, ‘I'm going to take the $1.6 million and I'm going to give it to [the employees]. The only people I'm not going to give it to is the highly compensated.’ And so it was that quick. That's what we did.”
Connor founded The Connor Group, which operates 13,000 apartment units in 14 different markets and handles about $2.5 billion in assets, in 1992. Connor wanted to show employees of the Miamisburg, Ohio-based company that their efforts, especially as operations remained open as essential businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic, have not gone unappreciated.
“We’re all in this thing together,” Connor told Yahoo Finance. “People need to help other people, and I would encourage other organizations and other businesses to define their own unique way to do that.”
‘I want to thank each and every one of you’
Connor addressed the Miamisburg, Ohio-based company on April 17.
"I started to think about probably our most important core values: Do the right thing and people count,” Connor told employees at the beginning of the broadcast.
The video flashed to employees’ faces watching the broadcast looking curious.
“I want to thank each and every one of you for staying in the game and doing your part,” Connor said after announcing the bonuses. “Thanks to you, we will move through this adversity and turmoil.”
Connor explained that employees “got anywhere from $2,000 to $9,000 so long as you stayed and continued to do a good job through June 30th. The first of July we're sending out checks.”
“In my view, this is not a gift — you’ve earned it,” Connor told employees. “I hope I’ve demonstrated my belief and appreciation.”
‘They had that additional financial burden’
Connor told Yahoo Finance that he had about 92 associates who had to find alternate daycare for their children when schools across the country closed due to COVID-19.
“They had that additional financial burden because we're an essential business and we need them to help us at our apartment communities,” Connor told Yahoo Finance.
The Connor Group stated in a press release that they were “committed to paying unexpected childcare expenses for all employees and expanded its associate loan program, increasing loan amounts and extending the repayment period.”
Connor explained to Yahoo Finance that he has told his employees: “If you test positive [for COVID-19], and you’ve got a quarantine for 14 or 21 days, stay home, we'll pay you for that 14 and 21 days plus the testing period. And this will not count one iota against either sick days or vacation.”
Olivia is a social media editor for Yahoo Finance.