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Everybody loves a good office holiday party. And sure, who doesn’t want a branded company coffee cup or t-shirt or paperweight?

But when the weather outside is frightful, employees take more comfort in the fact that the holidays usually come with a nice chunk of extra change than they do in the knickknacks and free food their employers may hand out. Many even rely on their bonuses to help offset personal holiday expenses like gifts and travel.

Fortunately for workers, more companies are planning to give out holiday bonuses this year: Seventy-five percent of companies intend to give out bonuses in 2016, up from 67 percent in 2015, according to a survey from Accounting Principals, a staffing and recruiting firm for accounting and finance professionals. In addition, the study shows the average bonus is $1,081 – up from $858 last year – with 29 percent of companies planning to give bonuses larger than $1,000.

How to Get That Fat Bonus Check

If you’re reading this and wondering “Why don’t I get a fat bonus check?” then you should know that there are ways you can increase your chances of earning a holiday bonus. According to the human resources and hiring managers surveyed by Accounting Principals, the following things can help employees bring in bonuses:

  1. Stay motivated: Fifty-four percent of respondents say that motivation matters when it comes time to hand out bonuses.
  2. Be positive: An upbeat employee has a better chance at being recognized, according to 45 percent of those surveyed.
  3. Volunteer: If you’re willing to pull a little extra weight, 34 percent of respondents say that will pay off for you come bonus time.
  4. Speak up: Twenty-three percent of respondents say that reminding the company of one’s accomplishments will increase bonus chances, and 15 percent suggest just asking one’s boss directly for a bonus.

“We’re seeing salaries increase across the board, and it’s great to see that HR and hiring managers are continuing to recognize the efforts of their employees through holiday bonuses,” Kim Gottschalk, senior regional vice president at Accounting Principals, said in a press release. “Amidst the rise in demand for qualified candidates, employers have to get creative by offering perks that go beyond the salary. While issuing holiday bonuses is an excellent way to reward employees and help attract top talent, we’re also seeing employers that are offering extra paid time off during the holidays, which goes a long way in increasing morale and attracting new employees.”

MoneyYou’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch

While 75 percent of companies surveyed plan to give bonuses, that means 25 percent do not. Twenty-two percent of those who don’t give holiday bonuses say they give out bonuses at other times of the year, and thirty-nine percent say they prefer to use those financial resources to provide “other perks” to their workforces. Eleven percent claim they can’t give bonuses because of financial performance issues.

While executives may see these as good reasons to nix bonuses, it’s often hard for employees to agree. When 75 percent of companies give out bonuses, that means workers in the other 25 percent are surrounded by friends and family who got their bonus checks this year. Companies that ignore this fact risk damaging employee morale and engagement, which can ultimately affect productivity and the bottom line.

The holidays are a time when most people are forced to hang out with that cousin they don’t like, spend hundreds (or thousands) of dollars on gifts, and cram their entire family into a car for a series of long and exhausting trips. Your employees are stressed enough during the holiday season. Don’t be a Grinch this year. Give them a bonus, and you might just help them take the edge off.



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