By Evan Vitale
Let’s explore a little more into the world of whether you should or shouldn’t give bonuses to your employees during the festival holiday season.
Obviously, if you have given bonuses in the past, a bonus this year will be expected. However, if sales are down and your financials are poor, then you should be sharing this information with your staff (NOW) so they can make their own financial changes accordingly.
Some companies give bonuses based on tenure and some based on performance. If you are passing out bonus checks, how will you determine the amount given? Will employees share that information and “compete” with each other based on amounts? Of course, if everyone receives the same amount, some employees will obviously feel slighted because “I work harder for this company than anyone else!”
A colleague of mine didn’t give out bonuses for a few years to his staff because he was trying to grow his company. However, he wanted to give them something for their hard work.
In his fifth year with his new company, he was maintaining 10 or so employees. The company had a pitch-in lunch; a gift exchange, and everyone received a paid week vacation between Dec. 25 and January 1.
“Not one person said ‘thank you’” he said. “I felt like they either thought it wasn’t enough of a bonus or that they were entitled to it or, perhaps, entitled to more.”
The following year, with the same number of employees on hand, the owner told them at Thanksgiving that the company would host a holiday party/lunch at a local restaurant (an expensive one). However, in order to earn the extra week off between Dec. 25-January 1, they had to reach certain production goals so they wouldn’t fall behind work schedules by taking a week off at the end of the year.
“They didn’t flinch. No one was interested in reaching a goal or coming in 30 minutes early to work or staying 30 minutes late,” he said. “The production goal was never met. In fact, between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, production was short and clients were asking questions.”
Making them work a little harder during the holidays was a mistake, he said. Employees were disgruntled through December and a few turned in notices at the end of the year.
What will you do for your employees this year? Whatever you decide, let them know in advance. Employees don’t like surprises – especially bad ones.