Talent & Tech Asia Summit 2024
human resources online

The worst Christmas 'bonuses' ever

It's true that employees would probably rather have a Christmas bonus than a Christmas party, but I'm not sure these 'bonus' gifts are what they had in mind.

It's not quite as bad as getting coal in your Christmas stocking, but these gifts - given to employees by a variety of companies all over the world - probably take the cake for some of the worst presents we've heard of.

(Although, these are also pretty bad ideas.)

Bosses, you've still got time to re-think your corporate Christmas gifts before the end of the year, if they in any way resemble these terrible examples, compiled from Quora, Reddit and around the internet:

  • Royal Mail celebrated record 100 million pounds profits by sending all its employees a magnificent bonus – a packet of flower seeds. This "gift" retailed at around 30p.
  • One year each person got a ham. I don't eat meat and many of my coworkers were Jewish.
  • I got a company sweatshirt mailed to my house that was four sizes too big and one arm was longer than the other by six inches or so.
  • A letter of thanks directly from my boss. He got my name wrong even though I had been there for years and it was a small staff. It wasn't a typo either as he referred to me as "Danny" twice in the same letter.
  • A coupon to eat a free meal at the nursing home I worked at....as a cook. They didn't charge for staff meals either.
  • An envelope full of pamphlets on how to lose weight with no letter or explanation.
  • A gas card for 15 bucks from a place that had been closed for nearly six months.
  • A family size popcorn chicken with a $20 bill inside.
  • A letter from the CEO, explaining why there would be no bonuses due to the bad economy and low profits, but thanks for your hard work. The very next day the Wall Street Journal ran an article about his own multi-million dollar bonus and the company's great success/profit over the past year.
  • I once worked for a company that was extremely cheap. One Christmas season I received a sealed, official looking envelope from HR. Written on the outside were the words "Company Incentive Bonus" and underneath in smaller letters it read, "We Appreciate Your Hard Work". I was stunned. I thought, wow, this place is great -- they are giving out bonuses at Christmas, just when I need the money. I tore open the envelope. It was full of coupons. No money, just coupons.
  • Several years ago, my ex employer gave us an EZ-link card (MRT/subway public transportation card in Singapore) with a $3 (yes....THREE) dollar balance, designed by the boss' 7 year old daughter as Christmas bonus. We are all either Singapore citizens, permanent residents or long term pass holders for God sake, not a one day tourist.
  • A $10 gift card for Dunkin' Donuts. And if that wasn't bad enough, some of my co-workers (who were apparently saints) warned everybody to be "grateful- since my boss (who made well over what most Directors of non-profits tend to make) didn't have to give us anything.
Image: Shutterstock

Follow us on Telegram and on Instagram @humanresourcesonline for all the latest HR and manpower news from around the region!

Related topics

Related articles

Free newsletter

Get the daily lowdown on Asia's top Human Resources stories.

We break down the big and messy topics of the day so you're updated on the most important developments in Asia's Human Resources development – for free.

subscribe now open in new window