Employees Seek Days Off in Lieu of Bonuses

Discussion
Dec 18, 2009
Tom Ryan

By Tom Ryan

According to
a recent survey, about 37 percent of employees said they would favor extra
time off to keep them motivated if a year-end cash bonus wasn’t an option.
Twenty one percent said a simple “thank you” would be an ample motivator,
and 15 percent said that they would favor a holiday bash.

The remaining
26 percent felt there was nothing that could be done to motivate them at
year-end. Nine percent felt that their companies did a fine job keeping
them motivated during the recession, whereas 17 percent stated nothing
could turn their low spirits around.

The survey from
TopGrading Solutions consisted of workers in the retail technology, payment
solutions, and supply chain procurement and planning industries.

Dave Camp, executive
recruiter for Retail Technology at TopGrading Solutions, said in a statement
that increasing employee spirits becomes more crucial as the recession
comes to its tail-end. He pointed out that the company’s last poll showed
that nearly 50 percent of respondents were looking to leave their current
employer due to mistreatment during the recession.

“Either a day
off or a simple card showing your gratitude could be enough to bring the
team back together in time to embrace and conquer 2010,” said Mr. Camp. “Otherwise,
as the economy improves, managers may face a retention nightmare.”

Discussion
Questions: What is the best way to motivate employees if raises and cash
bonuses aren’t an option at year end? Can you come up with some more
innovative ways to reward employees?

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13 Comments on "Employees Seek Days Off in Lieu of Bonuses"


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Kevin Graff
Guest
11 years 4 months ago

If you mistreated your employees during the past year, no short-term fix will make up for it. Look for these employees to leave soon. (They’ve already quit but forgot to tell their boss!)

As for what works to motivate people, that’s as individual as the person is. Why not ask them what they want?

Doron Levy
Guest
Doron Levy
11 years 4 months ago

Extra days off in retail? Works for me! Most of the floor people I have ever worked with would gladly take days off in lieu of no cash being available. Throw in 2 weekends off a month and only 1 close a week and you have yourself a happy camper. The schedule in retail is such a dicey subject that it is refreshing to see it being used as a way to actually motivate staff.

Steve Montgomery
Guest
11 years 4 months ago

The best way to reward people at the end of the year is to have treated them fairly all year long. There will always be those whose morale you can’t raise. But as the survey shows, over 25% would be happy if someone simply thanked them.

Beyond that, I agree with Kevin’s comment–ask them what they want. My only caution would be to be sure that in granting their wishes, they see equal value in the “reward.” Thanking some may be what they ask for but if their counterparts get time off with pay, they may then change their mind and you have then successfully taken someone who was happy with what they received and made them disgruntled.

Susan Rider
Guest
Susan Rider
11 years 4 months ago

I agree. Year round appreciation, recognition, and personal development will keep your team motivated and help ignite passion. Not enough attention is given to empowering and building a strong team of passionate associates. If you have this seemingly simple tool (but really very hard to consistently deliver), many of your worries go away.

John Boccuzzi, Jr.
Guest
John Boccuzzi, Jr.
11 years 4 months ago
No question the recession has impacted employee moral. How you treated people as they departed is going to weigh heavily on how your current employees treat you as the economy improves. Tough to change the past, so let’s look forward. Some ideas that could help build moral as we enter 2010:1) Team building activity – Invest in your people and take them out of the office for an afternoon of fun. Working together to solve a problem (while having fun) other than what they do at work can really help with moral. 2) Host an employee appreciation breakfast each month. Buying bagels and coffee is a small investment for raising your team’s spirits.3) Say Thank you – Have one or more senior executives go around the office to shake hands and personally thank employees.4) Inspire – Tell people where the company (they) are going. Don’t look back, help your company look forward. Show them more than just numbers. Show them how what they do impacts the company and more importantly, the customers they serve. 2010… Read more »
Mark Burr
Guest
11 years 4 months ago

I think the rate of 25% sells ‘Thank you” well short of its true potential and real impact. It’s rarely heard. My own experience tells me so. Also, declaring someone the ‘Champion of the World’ for the day has remarkable results.

Although, if as Kevin suggests, they asked me what I want, it would be a new Buick, a contract with Accenture, and a lifetime supplied Nike wardrobe. I don’t think that question will be coming anytime soon.

Nick Samson
Guest
Nick Samson
11 years 4 months ago

In this more than difficult economy, the perceived expectation that bonuses are the norm at Christmas does not sit right with me.

We’ve motivated our team by providing them with what they asked for…time off. We introduced four “me” days per year that can be used for whatever they wish and we close the office between Christmas and New Years without deducting that time from their normal vacation allocation.

Motivation is about treating your staff with respect, involving them in the business, listening to their ideas, being flexible and above all letting them know that you appreciate them. No amount of bonuses or raises will ever achieve the feeling of being valued and belonging.

Li McClelland
Guest
Li McClelland
11 years 4 months ago
This discussion pinpoints again (as if we had forgotten) how retail is different from other occupations. In many industries things slow down at the end of the year and so offering employees a day off with thanks and with pay to do “whatever” in lieu of a bonus can be a true win-win for everybody. Retailers’ very lives depend on production in the holiday season and they are usually understaffed to begin with, so employee time off in retail is not really a viable option in most cases. Employees relish praise, though, and it’s a pretty inexpensive investment in their satisfaction. I strongly support the value of personal thank you notes and sincere walk-arounds by senior executives. Recently, when cleaning out a personal file I ran cross a hand signed end-of-year thank you note that I, a lowly employee, got in 1982 from the Sr. VP of the company I worked for. More than a generic “thanks for your service” it referenced a couple of specific points in which he said I had made a… Read more »
David Livingston
Guest
11 years 4 months ago

Make more employees owners and give them more say in the hiring and firing of other employees. If employees work like they own the place, they will have a better understanding of the business and be more accepting of hard decisions that need to be made.

Mel Kleiman
Guest
11 years 4 months ago

Even if you gave a year-end bonus, research has shown that the benefits are short lived. If you want to keep your staff motivated, engaged, and productive throughout the year, here is the list of what almost every employee is looking for, no matter what age, sex, background, education, or job.

1. Great boss and co-workers.
2. Chance to grow, learn new things, and opportunity.
3. Interesting work.
4. Work life balance (Family friendly environment).
5. Positive and meaningful recognition.

Research also proves that money in most cases is not a motivator. But lack of adequate pay is a demotivate.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest
11 years 4 months ago

Kevin, are you hiring, and if not, where can I send my resume for when you are?

Seriously though, and touching on what both Kevin and David mentioned, there are really two models for compensating people: one is the “market” model (where compensation is tied to market conditions, regardless of the specifics of the firm) and the other is the “owner” model (where compensation rises and falls with the fortunes of the firm, and employees are treated–pay wise–as if they were partners); the problem, of course, is the tendency of both parties to cheat: employers who wish to share the pain but not the gain, and employees who are carried full scale during tough times, but jump ship when something better comes along…God Bless each and everyone who stays with the program.

Ed Dennis
Guest
Ed Dennis
11 years 4 months ago
OK, why no bonuses or salary increases to begin with? If it’s some government related mandate, I say get the government out of business. If it’s because you aren’t making enough to provide salary increases and/or bonuses then that’s another matter. I have never worked anywhere where company-wide bonuses were paid if the company didn’t achieved very defined goals. I have, at the same time been paid a bonus because I achieved my very defined goals. If the company had failed to pay me my bonus they would have breached my employment contract. If employees want days off and the scheduling during this downturn will allow for it then I say, let them have the days off without pay. What are we thinking about, another giveaway?! If this topic had arisen 15 years ago, it would have been laughed down so fast that the consultant giving it voice would still be looking for his next job. If you aren’t happy with your job, then do the American thing and go find a new one. Or… Read more »
Mark Johnson
Guest
Mark Johnson
11 years 4 months ago

I think you need to treat your employees with respect, pay them reasonably well and keep them engaged with high perceived value activities.

We just did a similar survey at Loyalty 360 (www.loyalty360.org) and the results were quite different.

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