Is your workplace a holiday Santa or Scrooge?

Two-thirds of employers plan holiday bonuses or parties, surveys say. But bonuses often are selective, and workers may pay for their parties.
Two-thirds of employers plan holiday bonuses or parties, surveys say. But bonuses often are selective, and workers may pay for their parties.

Will you be getting an extra $858 in your paycheck this December?

That’s the pretty amazing average holiday bonus reported by human resource and hiring managers surveyed this month by Accounting Principals, a hiring recruitment and placement company.

Sixty-seven percent of more than 500 officials surveyed said their organizations will give monetary holiday bonuses. Thirty-three percent said no to holiday bonuses, but about a fourth of the “no” group said they do give pay bonuses at other times of the year.

The survey indicated, though, that holiday bonuses aren’t being doled out across the the board. About eight in 10 respondents said employees could increase their likelihood of getting one. Tactics mentioned included “staying more motivated throughout the year,” “being more positive or upbeat” and “volunteering to take on additional duties.”

A different survey by the Society for Human Resource Management reinforced that holiday-related bonuses are selectively granted. Only 23 percent of those surveyed said their organizations would give “nonperformance-based gifts to all employees at the end of the year.”

Employers appear to be getting choosier. That 23 percent was a decrease from 32 percent in 2013, according to SHRM’s random survey of 385 human resource professionals in October.

Of note to a greater share of employees is that 65 percent of hiring professionals said in the SHRM report that their organizations will host an all-employee holiday party. But, perhaps a surprise given the largely improved economy, the percentage of party hosting is waning. The share of no-party workplaces was up 13 percentage points this year from 2012.

For some places, “parties are a thing of the past,” said Evren Esen, SHRM’s director of survey programs. “They may have been cut initally because of tough financial times during the recession or because of other reasons.”

Various surveys show that many workplaces have turned to a charitable focus instead of paying for parties. Employees are urged instead to contribute volunteer time, gifts or monetary donations to social service organizations, often augmented by corporate contributions.

In a nod to the holiday spirit, though, some workplaces produce do-it-yourself parties, with employees bringing food or creating gift exchanges.

On the flip side of employee-financed events is the finding that some employers are hosting galas that are bigger and better than ever. Among organizations paying for employee parties, 45 percent said their party budgets are larger than five years ago.

Two-thirds of the party hosts told SHRM researchers that their parties will be staged away from the workplace. Six out of 10 said alcohol will be served. Five out of 10 said random prizes will be given at the party.

Diane Stafford: 816-234-4359, @kcstarstafford