Are you giving your staff a Christmas bonus this year? How about a holiday party or other recognition this month? Many small business owners struggle with deciding exactly how to share the spirit of the holiday season with their teams — and very often they also struggle with figuring out how to pay for these extra one-time-a-year expenses.
Over the years I have witnessed everything from the business owner bringing in sandwiches for the staff to share all the way up to expensive all-weekend destination parties. I’ve seen Christmas bonuses range from a grocery store gift card for a turkey up to tens of thousands of dollars paid annually around this time of year.
How do you decide what to give your staff for Christmas?
Always asking you to be strategic, how do you make your decision? What culture have you created around holiday gift expectations?
I remember one Christmas when my travel agency was hit with yet another pandemic or travel disaster and sales were very low in the months coming up to the holidays. I ended up cashing my own paycheque and using that money to give each of my staff members a small cash bonus. The years prior to that, I had easily been able to give them several hundred dollars each in a bright red envelope. This particular year, however, things were very tight.
I hadn’t planned ahead for the bonuses my staff were expecting and once it was time for me to give something to them, I didn’t have a system for giving. I had a few new staff as well, so I had to think about what amount would be fair based on how long they had been with my company. The following year was better and I had the money. But I still had to spend hours trying to determine who would get what all over again.
Setting up a System for Holiday Bonus Giving in Your Business
The time to plan for a holiday bonus is now — except that I encourage you to plan NOW for next year as opposed to this year. Review and go with your plan for 2015, but take this opportunity to write down your holiday giving system.
- Your company’s profit for the previous fiscal year.
- Will you give a cash bonus, a party, both or neither.
- Create and document your formula for determining the bonus.
- Add a budget line for this starting now so that funds are available in 2016 when you need them.
Tell Us About It
What is the best holiday party you ever attended and why? Share your ideas big or small for giving to your staff and supporters at Christmas. If you give Christmas bonuses how do you decide the amounts?