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blogpost-dec9-That is a question that we get a lot! Christmas brings about the topic of bonuses every year. Should I give a Christmas bonus? What if we haven’t had a good year? Will staff start to expect it each year? How do I decide what to do and how much to give?

These are all great questions and there are a number of things you want to think about when trying to decide if you want to implement a Christmas bonus.

    1. Know your message. What message do you want staff to receive when they get their bonus? Is it about wanting to share profits because the company has done well? Then perhaps it is cash. Is it about wanting to make sure that they have a great Christmas dinner with their family? Then maybe you give them a gift card to a grocery store or purchase turkeys for everyone. This message is about enjoying a wonderful dinner with their families. Maybe you want to spend time with your team, so you volunteer for a local charity together as a group because you want to celebrate all the abundance you have by spreading some cheer. Try and connect what you give to the message you want to convey.
    2. Shake it up! Employees can begin to expect something when they get the same bonus every year. If you change things up and give something different each year, then you are less likely to have staff “expecting” it. They may be anticipating something – but they won’t know what it is!
    3. Start small. The first time you give out a bonus, keep it simple and small so that you have room to grow. If you go really big on your first year, you will have set your bar really high and you may end up feeling like you have to top it each year. Over time, this will become really hard to do.
    4. Personalize it. Where possible, create a personalized bonus that allows you to appreciate your staff in a variety of ways. Consider how your employee likes to be appreciated and enhance the impact of your Christmas bonus by giving according to their language of appreciation. Gifts work for some but they don’t work for everyone so maybe the bonus is a well worded card of appreciation for the impact they have had on others, or maybe you take them for a holiday lunch and spend time together one-on-one. If your employees have a big project that has to be completed before the Christmas break, dive in and help them. And, maybe you do a combination of these things with a gift.

The point is, think it through. Oh and one more thing – if you do give something that has a cash value, be sure and check the rules of the Canada Revenue Agency with your accountant. You don’t want to give a gift that is taxed and ends up costing the employee money. That sort of defeats the purpose!

Your Engaged HR Assignment: What creative ways can you implement to bonus your staff? Does it have to be about giving money?  Tell us about your ideas – we would love to hear them!

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