The treacherous trap of the holiday bonus

2007

It's the end of the year and you can almost feel the employees at your company biting at your heels, looking for their holiday bonuses. Do you give out gift certificates? Do you hand out turkeys? What about cash?

Well, whatever you choose, do so carefully – because as this piece from Entrepreneur magazine points out, the holiday season brings with it a raft of potential pitfalls.

First off, remember that it can sometimes be better to give nothing at all rather than a half-baked, ill-though out something. Most employees look back on bonuses they liked fondly and for a long time. At the same time, those bad ones get talked about forever. One employee in the article remembers well when her BMW-driving boss walked over and handed her an oversized Hershey's Kiss.

It really is true that it is the thought that counts. One person discussed in the article didn't have a lot of money to spend. However, he went out and bought his staff I-Passes - electronic devices used in Illinois to allow those driving on the numerous tollways to pass through without stopping. They cost very little, but the though impressed his people a whole lot.

So, whatever you do, remember, that it can be tricky and truly affect morale and your company's goodwill. A well-thought-out bonus will score major management points with the workers. A bad move, can result in people taking their holiday time off to look for new jobs.

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