Want ideas for year-end bonuses?

Do you ever feel stuck by not knowing the best way to structure year-end bonuses for your team?

Do you wish you knew what other people were doing?

Since I get this question a lot, I decided to focus this week’s blog on different ways to structure year-end bonuses.

Vicki Suiter about Year End Bonus Ideas

It’s not just about the money…

Bonuses aren’t just about money.

You no doubt have heard before that money is not the only motivator for employees. While everyone wants to be paid fairly, equally important is that we feel like what we do matters, and has a sense of purpose, contribution and meaning. 

In a time when it’s tough to find and keep great people, it’s our job as leaders to create environments where people feel valued and appreciated.  To create an environment where people want to work.  

So as you’re coming up with what you’ll give people for bonuses this year, give equal thought to how you’ll present them to your team. Your presentation of that bonus will have much more impact and be more valued if you present it with a note of specific appreciation. 

Below I’ve shared with you ideas for how to do both. 

Bonuses can come in different forms…

Here are some ways I’ve seen clients bonus their teams.  Sometimes its just one of these, but I’ve also seen people mix and match bonuses.

  1. Give the week between Christmas and New Year’s off – PAID! 
  2. Give the week between Christmas and New Year’s off, WITHOUT pay, plus a cash bonus.
  3. Choose a dollar amount for bonuses and distribute based on a percentage of gross wages. To calculate, take each employee gross annual wages as a percentage of total annual wages for the entire company. 
  4. Provide all employee new jackets with the company logo
  5. Do 10% profit sharing split among employees at amounts chosen by the owners and/or senior management.
  6. A flat amount for each position in the company.
  7. Gift cards to a grocery store or big box store.

Acknowledge a job well done…

How you present the bonus is just as important as the money or gift part.  A well delivered gift includes a note (or conversation) that lets people feel acknowledged for their contribution by providing feedback that is specific.  Here are some ways you can do that…

  • Give them a hand-written note or sit down with them. Tell them what you value and appreciate about them specifically, NOT just “good job” or “you are great.”  Give it more depth. 

    Here are some ideas to help you come up with specific things you can share with them.

  • Something specific they did well – maybe fixing a problem, handling a challenge, etc.
  • Qualities about them that you appreciate – maybe pro-active, thoughtful of others, a good teacher, listener, trainer, leader, etc.
  • A behavior that makes them a great team member – maybe worked to solve an issue with other people on the team to get a project done on time, or helped to resolve a problem on a project that wasn’t theirs where a teammate needed help, etc.

These are just some suggestions, but you get the idea.  I’ve seen it time and again where the acknowledgment was valued more than the gift itself.  

Fundamentally, we all want to feel like what we do matters.  When people feel like you value them, and appreciate their contribution, they are going to tell their friends about what a great place this is to work.  They’re going to want to stay because working for you feels good!


Do you have other ways you bonus or acknowledge your team?  I’d love to hear what they are.  So please leave a comment below or reach out to me on LinkedIn or Facebook.



p.s. if you found this post valuable, will you please share it with your network? Thanks!

p.p.s.  for a limited time you can get my book, The Profit Bleed, FREE.  You just pay shipping and handling.  

Vicki Suiter helps people see their businesses differently, then gives them the tools to do things differently.  Since beginning her business in 1990, Vicki has helped hundreds of contractors achieve the kind of success they never dreamed possible. Today, in addition to consulting, Vicki is an in-demand speaker at industry conferences nationally and internationally. Vicki’s articles and opinions have been widely shared in print and across the web. She is also the author of the book “The Profit Bleed” How managing margin can save your contracting business.