Post Register: Melaleuca gives out $1.6 million in bonuses

Post Register | Aubrey Wieber |

Several longtime Melaleuca employees were given a sizable incentive to stick with the company during an annual employee meeting Tuesday.

As is tradition at the meeting, bonuses were given to employees in accordance for their time at Melaleuca. All employees who have worked with the company for five years received a $5,000 bonus, and those who have remained for a decade got $10,000. The largest bonuses were $30,000 for 30 years served. In all, the Idaho Falls-based manufacturer of household products and health supplements handed out $1.6 million.

The program, which started in 2007, has awarded more than $15 million to date.

“We want everyone who has been with Melaleuca to prosper. When employees spend their entire careers at Melaleuca, it is befitting that they retire as millionaires, whether they are executives or custodians,” Melaleuca CEO Frank VanderSloot said. “This program ensures that our long-term employees share in the wealth they have created. We don’t want anyone to be left behind.”

Independent contractors with Melaleuca who sell the products are not eligible for the bonus program.

One of the beneficiaries of the bonus program is Jolene Hill, 59, who is a product development operations manager and has been with Melaleuca for 25 years. She started in 1988, and was looking for a short-term job to help pay some bills. She said Melaleuca provided a work environment that she couldn’t walk away from.

“(I stayed because of) the giving of Frank, the excitement of a small company growing and watching it grow over the years,” Hill said. “He’s real sincere.”

The goal, VanderSloot said, is to encourage saving for retirement. He believes if an employee sticks around for 30 years, invests all of their bonuses and receives a decent return on investment and utilizes the company’s 401(k) program, they can have more than $1 million in the bank for retirement.

Hill said that plan didn’t work for her. In order to retire with an excess of $1 million in the bank, you have to start with Melaleuca at 22-years-old. She started at 34.

But, she said she has put all her bonus money into her 401(k) — including retroactive bonuses to compensate for her anniversaries with the company before 2007. She said she expects to be able to retire in the next few years.

“I’ve watched it build,” Hill said of her retirement fund.