Are holiday bonuses a good idea or is it just money down the drain?

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by Tom Watson on August 21, 2016

I know it’s only August, and we’re still in the grips of the summer heat, but the holidays will be here before you know it.

I bring this up because I was recently asked about holiday bonuses. I’ll share my thoughts and ask you for yours via the comments at the end of this post.

Are holiday bonuses good idea?

I was always a fan of holiday bonuses because they are a way of giving back to those that make your lifestyle possible. Add in the fact that I really LOVE the holiday season and it was a no-brainer for me. I know that not everyone shares my thoughts on this matter.

The guy I leased space from for my office was totally against it. He thought that every good deed he tried to do (Bonuses, free Thanksgiving turkey’s and holiday parties etc…) was just a waste of cash because all the employees did was complained that they should have gotten more money instead of a party and some small bonus.

Having worked in a few places before starting my cleaning business, I know that kind of talk among employees goes on, but there is nothing you can do about it. My view is that on the whole you can only do the best you can do as a business owner. And besides, it’s the thought that counts!

How much should a holiday bonus be?

When I first started out, I kept it all very simple. I didn’t have a lot of money so I just gave out ten or twenty bucks worth of lottery tickets, or maybe some Dunkin Donuts gift cards or something along those lines. I tried to scale it so the more someone worked, the more the bonus was.

As my company grew I started increasing the bonuses. My goal each year was to give everyone one weeks pay at Christmas. If they worked ten hours, they got ten hours as a bonus, if they worked twenty, they got twenty and so on. Sometimes I made my goal and sometimes I didn’t, but that is what I was aiming for.

So now it’s time to ask your opinion on giving out bonuses. Don’t be shy, it’s your company, so whatever you decide, just know there is no “right or wrong”. Share your thoughts below and get the conversation started.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nann August 21, 2016 at 2:11 pm

I like the idea of bonuses based on how many years they have worked for me AND the company profitability.

Start with a small but generous “base” bonus their first year. Increase the “base” bonus each year that they work for the company.

Then add an amount based on how much the company has grown or how may new customers for that year. Add the “company increase” bonus to the “base” bonus. With this bonus plan, I can use the Christmas bonus to encourage longevity and build company loyalty.

2 Jeffrey Carruthers August 22, 2016 at 3:02 pm

I use sub contractors and I have been giving them about $100.00 each at Christmas time. I think any little bit you can help someone, especially at this already expensive time of year, the better. We are a small company but as we get bigger I plan on scaling the bonuses up as well. Even if people do complain about something, which they always will, I just chalk it up to good karma. If I put good out there maybe it will come back to me some day, some how.

3 M Carvalho August 25, 2016 at 6:02 pm

I think that bonuses are a good incentive ,and shows the employee that you are thinking of them , especially at Christmas time.
On the other hand, bonuses should go to those who really deserve them, especially those who work really hard and progress the company forward.
After all, a good company needs good employees , so if you feel that giving out bonuses is the way to go, then by all means give them out.

4 Tom Watson August 28, 2016 at 6:07 pm

I appreciate your thoughts! THANKS for commenting.

5 Tom Watson September 6, 2016 at 1:12 pm

That’s an awesome philosophy! Thanks for sharing that Jeffery.

6 Tom Watson September 6, 2016 at 1:13 pm

Hi Nann! Thanks for sharing that. If helps others on how to think about their own plan.

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