It was just another day at the office yesterday for 600 employees at Nashville health care company HealthStream—that is, until they received a welcome surprise via a video message sent to their cellphones. In it, CEO Bobby Frist announced that as of late August, they'll all be part-owners of the company. How? Frist is giving up $1.5 million of his personal stock, or 49,310 shares, to be split among them, reports the Tennessean. "This stock grant is being personally funded from me. So this is from me to you," Frist said. "Thank you again, and enjoy being an owner of the company." The stock won't be divided evenly. Instead, an employee's share, worth between $300 and $10,000, will depend on time at the company and job responsibilities; HealthStream as a whole provides online services to about 70% of American hospitals.
Frist also gave up another 4,931 shares, worth $150,000, to pay for administrative expenses and employer payroll taxes related to the gift, according to a press release, per MarketWatch. Not all employees are covered, though: Some 350 who've been at the company for less than a year or who've already received stock as executives are left out of the offer. "There's a whole new energy today," says a regional account manager. "You're hearing, 'Hi, I'm an owner!' 'How are you, owner?'" A payroll employee adds, "You just want to work for this man." (You probably don't want to work for this guy.)