Fewer Companies are Offering Holiday Bonuses this Year: Here’s Why

November 10, 2017

Holiday Bonuses are Less Common

It’s always nice to have a little extra cash in your pocket, especially when it comes to traveling and buying gifts for loved ones during the holiday season. But should those holiday bonuses be guaranteed at the end of each year? Turns out, many companies believe the answer to that question is no.

We looked to the 2017 Holiday Bonus & Hiring Survey from Accounting Principals to see what U.S. businesses are offering this year, and we were surprised at what we found.

How Common are Holiday Bonuses?

The Accounting Principals survey looked to HR professionals and hiring managers for an inside look at their companies, and the results show a noticeable dip in the number of holiday bonuses between 2016 and 2017. Respondents who reported that they planned to give employees monetary holiday bonuses:

2016: 75%

2017: 63%

Here’s Why

According to the survey results, more businesses are reallocating holiday bonuses to offer other perks throughout the year. In fact, 39% of respondents who reported they wouldn’t offer bonuses this year listed offering additional perks as the primary reason. The second most popular reason listed (for the first time in the survey’s history) is that businesses are trading out holiday bonuses for charitable contributions.

These decisions among managers and HR professionals align with a larger trend in the workplace. More companies are investing in creating desirable work environments, offering generous PTO packages, providing lunch on a regular basis, and other perks to attract top talent.

Related: Employee Benefits: Here’s What Top Talent Wants

The Perfect Bonus: How Much?

Among businesses offering holiday bonuses this year, there’s the difficult decision of deciding exactly how much to offer employees. Eventually, employers ask themselves: “Is just the act of offering a holiday bonus enough, or do we need to up our game this season?”

The Accounting Principals survey found that among respondents, holiday bonuses average at:

2015: $858

2016: $1,081

2017: $1,797

While the number of bonuses is down, the average amount per bonus is significantly up. For employees who want to increase their chances of earning a bonus, hiring managers and HR professionals listed the following as the best approaches:

  • 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)

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to offering (or not offering) holiday bonuses. Ultimately, companies must balance the shifting needs of their industries with an employees-first mindset.

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A Content Marketing Manager at Zenefits, Jordan has a lot to say about the nuances of payroll, benefits, and HR (and about the way we say it). He was raised by small business owners, so it’s no surprise that Jordan loves helping entrepreneurs achieve their goals.

Category: HR Tips & Trends, Trending

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