Looking forward to that year-end bonus? Keep your fingers crossed.

According to a new Robert Half survey, 57% of employers across the U.S., including New Jersey, plan to award year-end bonuses. But that is down from 77% in 2021.

Why is this so?

More companies may be in belt-tightening mode given the uncertain economic outlook, said Robert Half Regional Director Dora Onyschak.

Bonus levels can depend on many variables, including individual or company performance.

While employers are keeping a close eye on their budget, she said it’s encouraging to see bonuses on the table at many companies.

How can employers show their appreciation to employees, aside from bonuses?

According to the survey, 51% would prefer extra paid time off. She said 19% would be okay with verbal or written recognition and 14% said they would enjoy a staff celebration during work hours.

“Leaving work early on a Friday, and bringing in lunch for the team every so often are other perks. It’s good to get creative about what else can you do to show appreciation to your staff if you’re not able to do that with a year-end bonus,” Onyschak said.

What if there is no year-end bonus at all?

Onyschak said employers must communicate to their staff why there is no year-end bonus, whether that’s the individual performance, and if so, what could they have done, or what can they do in the future to maximize that bonus, if companies have one.

“If you had one last year, don’t have one this year, having these conversations one-on-one with your employees is super critical to being able to retain them,” Onyschak said.

What if an employee was expecting a year-end bonus and didn’t get one?

Have an open, honest discussion with your manager, she said. Ask about other bonuses like are there bonuses being paid but not just to you or your level? If so, ask why? What can you do in the future to make sure that you qualify for those bonuses?

As quit rates and job openings remain at elevated levels, employers know they need to up the ante to retain and attract top talent. Awarding year-end bonuses can be a powerful way to recognize staff for their hard work, she said.

Jen Ursillo is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at jennifer.ursillo@townsquaremedia.com

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