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'Tis the Season: Holiday Bonus Time

You’ve probably been seeing holiday decorations and lights since just after Halloween, but now that we’re past Thanksgiving, there is no denying that the winter holidays are right around the corner. During this season, businesses often want to extend a holiday bonus to their employees as a gesture of gratitude for the work done during the year. Of course, whether that bonus is monetary or a physical gift of some sort is up to the company. But there are some guidelines that you may want to follow.

NO EMPLOYEE LEFT BEHIND: If this is a Holiday Bonus and not a performance-based bonus, than all employees should be included. If you are considering a financial bonus in the form of an additional check or direct deposit, the amount may vary due to the employee’s role and responsibilities, their tenure with the company, and their salary. (And be sure to consult with your accountant as taxes do apply in this situation). But having said that, leaving someone or a group of employees out can cause animosity within the workplace. The holiday bonus is an opportunity to show your appreciation to your employees and foster goodwill, so make sure you have a fair and unbiased system in place when determining the amount given.

CASH OR PRIZES? Many times the holiday bonus is monetary. But each company is different and may choose to give out the holiday bonus in another way. Some options include:

  • Additional paid time off, helpful for personal shopping or preparation for holiday entertaining

  • Company “swag” or company branded luxury items

  • Gift cards to local movie theaters, restaurants, fitness centers, or spa services

  • An office holiday party

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE TIMING: For a holiday bonus, distributing it around the Thanksgiving holiday accomplishes a few things. Black Friday traditionally kicks off the holiday shopping season and receiving the bonus around this time allows people to budget the additional holiday spending this time of year usually brings. Also, if your company gives year-end performance based bonuses, increasing the amount of time between these bonuses helps differentiate the two.

A holiday bonus should be designed to show appreciation and thanks to your workforce. Hopefully, your employees are feeling acknowledged and appreciated all year long, but there is something to be said for a little extra gesture during this time.

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