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Are holiday bonuses becoming more scarce?

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As the year-end holiday approaches and staff are hopping to receive a bonus, the question on HR leaders’ minds is – to give, or not to give?

According to Accounting Principals’ annual Holiday Bonus and Hiring Survey, this year, only 63% of HR or hiring managers indicated their company plans to give its employees a monetary holiday bonus, down from 75% in 2016.

That said, for those whose companies were giving out bonuses, the value of the average anticipated holiday bonus is expected to increase by 66% this year – from US$1,081 in 2016, to US$1,797 this year.

As for those who noted their organisations were not planning to give out bonuses this year, the biggest reason for not doing so is that their company intends to provide other employee perks throughout the year (39%). This was followed by companies giving charitable donations in lieu of a bonus (38%) as the second most popular reason for the first time, up from just 7% in 2016.

The survey also found that no matter an employee’s situation, they can increase their likelihood of receiving a bonus, through ways including:

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

David Alexander, president, Accounting Principals cautioned: “Employees who ask their boss directly for a bonus are twice as likely to be successful in that request than last year, so making proactive, bold moves in 2017 could pay off, but one always needs to approach these conversations with care.”

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