Benefits and Compensation, HR Management & Compliance, Talent

About Those Holiday Bonuses

There’s good news and bad news … which do you want first?

Source: aydinmutlu / E+ / Getty

The good news is holiday bonuses are in increasing in value this year—by a lot. The bad news is fewer people will receive bonuses. So finds a new survey of 500 HR and hiring managers across all industries. The survey was conducted by Wakefield Research for staffing firm Accounting Principles.

Survey Findings

The firm finds employees who get a holiday bonus will see the bonus increase, on average, by 66 percent compared to last year. The average anticipated holiday bonus is $1,797, compared to $1,081 in 2016 and $858 in 2015.
However, this year, only 63 percent of U.S. HR or hiring managers indicate that their company plans to give its employees a monetary holiday bonus, down from 75 percent in 2016.
Although more than one third of respondents say their organizations are not planning to give out bonuses this year, many of these companies are still giving payouts to their employees in other forms. The biggest reason for not giving bonuses is that the company intends to provide other employee perks throughout the year (39 percent).
For the first time, the second most popular reason is that companies are giving charitable donations in lieu of a bonus, with over one third (38 percent) of respondents noting their company plans to give donations on behalf of employees, compared to just 7 percent in 2016.
“Salaries are steadily increasing, but this year there is a steep decline in those planning to give out holiday bonuses,” said David Alexander, president of Accounting Principals. “Employers are favoring non-monetary alternatives to reward their employees, or plan to give out bonuses at other times of year. There has also been a notable increase in organizations providing charitable donations in lieu of bonuses, as some organizations aim to align their goals and values closer to their employees.”

Bonus Worthy

The survey also indicates what HR and hiring managers look for when awarding bonuses. Bonus worthy behavior includes:

  • Staying more motivated throughout the year (56 percent, compared to 54 percent in 2016)
  • Being more positive or upbeat (49 percent, compared to 45 percent in 2016)
  • Volunteering to take on additional job duties (42 percent, compared to 34 percent in 2016)
  • Reminding the company of its accomplishments (42 percent, compared to 23 percent in 2016)
  • Asking their boss for a bonus directly (33 percent, compared to 15 percent in 2016)

“Employers who are giving bonuses, are being more generous with their payouts this year,” said Alexander. “Employees who ask their boss directly for a bonus are twice as likely to be successful in that request than last year.”
Accounting Principles notes that year-end incentives like holiday bonuses and paid time off during the holidays help retain top talent.

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