Employee Bonus Etiquette

The idea of the Holiday Bonus dates back to the 1800’s. During that period actual gifts were given to employees; it was not until the 1920’s that these gifts shifted to the coveted bonus check. This tradition was originally started by many banks, the first being JP Morgan who reportedly gave his employees an entire year’s salary as a holiday bonus.

The first step to giving bonuses is to decide if you are giving a holiday bonus and/or a year-end bonus. A holiday bonus is typically a monetary or non-monetary gift given as a present for your employees, while a year end bonus is strictly based on employee performance.

When giving a proper holiday bonus it is important to keep a few things in mind. First and foremost, if giving a true holiday bonus out of your gratitude, take the time to make it personal. Taking the time to attach a handwritten note to the gift shows your appreciation. Secondly, if it is a monetary gift, think of the timing — giving the gift earlier rather than later allows employees to offset holiday expenses.

For a year-end bonus, strictly based on employee performance, it is necessary to plan for evaluations for all employees. Setting a metric system for this evaluation process is the most important part. Here at I & O Medical Centers we evaluate on knowledge of job, policy adherence, interpersonal relationships/ cooperation/commitment, attendance, and quality of work. After evaluations are completed, it is pertinent to sit down with each employee and have a constructive conversations about their results, including professional strengths and weaknesses. At the time of review, year-end bonuses should be discussed with them.

During the holiday season there is much workplace chatter about holiday bonuses. When giving bonuses this holiday season it is imperative to properly choose the type of bonus and execute in a personalized manner. During this time of year employers must invest time and appreciation into your employees who daily invest their lives into your company.

“The way your employees feel is the way your customers will feel. And if your employees don’t feel valued, neither will your customers.” – Sybil F. Stershic, Taking Care of the People Who Matter Most: A Guide to Employee-Customer Care.