More than half of employees say they’d like to receive a financial reward of some kind as the Christmas and New Year’s holidays near. The reality is, many won’t be seeing a bonus of any kind as employers tighten their belts and layoffs loom on the horizon.
Challenger, Gray & Christmas surveys businesses every year on their bonus plans. In 2021, 23% of respondents said employees wouldn’t be receiving a bonus. This year, the picture is a little bleaker – 27% are holding off on giving bonuses.
Various surveys over the years show that younger employees expect and appreciate gifts or bonuses around year-end more so than older ones. Failure to receive financial recognition may factor into a younger employee deciding to find work elsewhere.
Wall Street is slashing bonuses this year. Overall bonuses for stock brokers, investment bankers, hedge fund managers and other financial employees is expected to drop by 22%. JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs announced impending cuts weeks ago to employees.
On the flip side, companies in retail, hospitality and other sectors that enjoyed higher profits in 2022 are spreading the wealth. Home improvement chain Lowe’s is doling out $200 million in bonus pay. And the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas is giving employees $1,500 bonuses.
What to give? Follow the safest route
Some companies make the mistake of creating a “personal” gift to employees at Christmas time. Often the time and money spent doesn’t hit the mark. Employee surveys find that when folks do receive a company gift, about half don’t appreciate the gesture.
The reason is simple: Cash is king. Gift cards come in second, but you run the risk of picking a shop or restaurant that not everyone likes.
In past years, the sweet spot for making a good impression was a $50 gift card. Go lower than that and some folks tended to view their employers as Scroogelike, for better or worse. With inflation hitting people hard in their wallets, the safer bet may be raising the amount to a minimum of $100.