Year End Bonuses – How to Navigate in 2020

December 17, 2020
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Year-end bonuses are a pretty standard way some companies and businesses reward their employees for another year of hard work. In 2020, when a lot of businesses faced hard times, are year-end bonuses still feasible? Keep reading to learn more about navigating year-end bonuses. 

Provide Bonuses – If you can

Your employees worked very hard for you, and 2020 brought a whole new set of unique challenges for your employees to conquer. Some industries did very well this year, while others did not do so well. Consider how your year’s profits were. Are there any funds available for your employees? If you did well this year, without question, your team deserves a year-end bonus. If you and your team struggled this year, bonuses just may not be possible this year. It all comes down to your budget. 

Talk with your team

Communication is key. Talk with your team and tell them the situation. Depending on the size of your team, it may be easier for your small team to come up with a fair bonus plan instead of trying to come up with everything on your own. Get their thoughts and opinions on the subject and use those in your determination process. You should also openly communicate with your employees how much you appreciate their hard work through this tumultuous year. It is very likely that they would already be aware of your business had a difficult year, so just be honest with them. At the end of the day, bonuses are great, but the open appreciation of your team is even better.


Something is better than nothing

If you cannot find a way to give a cash bonus, find another way you can reward your team that they can truly see the benefits of. Here are some ideas: 

  • Bring in a free catered lunch each day for a week.  
  • Offer bonus vacation days. This could mean making days you are closing around holidays paid instead of unpaid, or giving your team extra paid time off in 2021.
  • Give a series of smaller bonuses spread out over time to align with your finances.
  • Create a temporary or ongoing performance-based bonus. This is also a great way to be clear about where the business needs to improve right now. Give your team a production/collections goal to hit, and a defined bonus if those numbers are met. 

Again, communication is so important. Be honest with your employees. If cash bonuses are not in the cards this year, get some ideas from them about the types of rewards they would like.

If you say you can’t afford bonuses, you better mean it

If you go to your employees and explain that there is no way you can afford year-end bonuses, make sure that is true and you act as such. If you go on a lavish vacation or buy yourself a new car when you told your team you can’t make it happen, you can almost guarantee there will be some tense feelings among your staff. Be transparent and honest with your team. Don’t be greedy! No one want’s a membership to the “Jelly of the Month Club” while you cruise around in your new BMW. 

This year has been tough for a lot of people. Many have lost their jobs, loved ones, and have risked the health of themselves and their families to come to work every day. If you are financially able, give your team a financial boost. If you can’t, find another way to thank them. This year we need to support others more than ever.