Post Register: Melaleuca awards $2.9 million in bonuses

Post Register | Aubrey Wieber |

Reaching a milestone at Melaleuca pays big dividends.

That’s a message not wasted on Ronnette Gifford of Ammon.

Gifford, a senior manager in human resources, was one of 265 employees who celebrated landmark anniversaries with the company this year and received part of a combined $2.9 million in loyalty and longevity bonuses at a Nov. 7 employee meeting. Gifford, who has been with the company 20 years, received a $20,000 net check after taxes.

“It meant a lot to me,” she said. “It was really exciting to get that from the company that I’ve worked for for such a long time.”

Gifford said the money is going to her retirement account along with her previous longevity bonuses. She first started with the company as a part-time customer service associate while going to college. After a year, the Shelley native became a full-time employee and later moved into human resources, where she has spent the past 17 years while being promoted multiple times.

“I’ve seen a lot of changes here,” she said. “I’ve definitely had the opportunity to grow my career at Melaleuca.”

Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot credits employee loyalty for much of the company’s success.

“It’s impressive to watch how many people are going the distance with us,” VanderSloot said. “We believe that employees who have helped us build this company should share in the wealth.”

The longevity bonus program rewards employees who reach milestones of five, 10, 15, 20 and 25 years with the Idaho Falls-based manufacturer of household products and health supplements. All full- and part-time employees, regardless of position or pay level, qualify for the bonus program based on their length of service. Melaleuca pays $5,000 for a five-year anniversary, $10,000 for 10 years, $15,000 for 15 years, $33,000 ($20,000 net) for 20 years, $25,000 for 25 years and $30,000 for 30 years.

This year, three Melaleuca employees earned $25,000 checks, 39 employees received $20,000 checks and 24 employees picked up $15,000 checks. Melaleuca also presented $10,000 checks to 59 employees and $5,000 checks to 140 employees.

At a special meeting for longevity bonus recipients, held prior to the employee meeting, VanderSloot encouraged employees to make conscientious choices with the money they’d be receiving and plan for retirement.

“It’s our goal that all Melaleuca employees will retire as millionaires,” VanderSloot said.

The company created a program so all 30-year employees can have in excess of $1 million in the bank when they retire from Melaleuca. To reach that goal, an employee would need to participate in the company’s 401(k) matching program and invest the bonuses and achieve a modest rate of return on that investment.