January 26, 2011 at 2:26 am #165401Randy RoyerParticipant
I am interested in hearing what other firms out there are doing with regards incentives and bonus programs. (Of course I mean prior to the economic meltdown!)January 26, 2011 at 4:40 am #165409Thomas J. JohnsonParticipant
I once got a square of chocolate from my project manager for “all of my hard work” (several weeks of 70+hrs.including more than a few over-nighters) I used restraint and did not throw it at him/her/it.January 26, 2011 at 12:10 pm #165408Andrew Garulay, RLAParticipant
All jobs that I have had have given some type of bonus at the end of the year.Almost all seem to be based on a combination of the success of the company and individual performance (ie, different every year and usually a round number – not linked to payscale or a percentage). More recently, I have been getting surprise bonuses, usually just befor going on vacation.
The thing that I like about the more random bonuses is that as an employee I don’t know exactly what my employer bases these bonuses on. That means that I can’t target a specific thing (while ignoring other things) in order to up my score for bonuses. My incentive is to do the best I can for the company because that must be what drives the bonuses – I think that is a smart strategy for the employer. Another thing thing that I like is that there is no structure to these bonuses and therefore no expectation or disappointment on when they come or ny what amount. At the same time, I know that if I do well, I get bonuses. I like to think that I give it my all everyday, but I can’t help feeling a lot more positive and have a little more kick in my step when I feel “extra appreciated”.
It is also a nice way for an employer to give a raise without having a continual commitment by making it part of the pay scale. It is pretty hard to know someones payscale down if circumstances make it necessary, so employers are apprehensive to give raises right now. It is a nice way to give someone a few hundred or a few thousand dollars a year without committing.January 26, 2011 at 2:49 pm #165407Thomas J. JohnsonParticipant
That sounds like a great approach. Very human. “Hey, you’re going on vacation. Here’s a few extra bucks. Have a great time…” I also like the idea of it being random. Surprises are nice and it probably discourages gossip within the office. Instead of everyone getting their bonus at the same time and sharing notes; get your bonus, don’t talk about it and carry your quiet contentment with a little extra pep in your step.January 26, 2011 at 3:59 pm #165406ncaParticipant
I asked a very similar question here recently, so I’d like to know what’s going on out there as well.
As far as I can tell in terms of compensation, it’s all across the boards. New grads with little or no experience are getting paid very well in some regions, while others with lots of experience and skill are making low hourly wages.
In the past two years I have been at offices where the principal was very generous with me, ie small bonus after just a few months as an intern, as well as full benefits and I have experienced very much the opposite. I know some people in my area that have received holiday bonuses and other perks while others are being laid off. It’s just very inconsistent right now as far as I can tell.
Personally, I think bonuses should be a given when a company is doing well. If the office has had a decent year and employees have made significant contributions to the vitality of the firm, regradless of the economic climate, bonuses are a small token of appreciation and respect. Of course everyones situation is different.
I like the way Andrew put it in terms of an alternative to a traditional pay raise.
I’m going off topic here a little bit, but it seems to me like there is an underlying consensus that employers hire out of goodwill. This just isnt true in my experience. If an office has work, you should be compensated. If you bring a set of skills or level of dedication to a firm that leads to their success, you should be rewarded in some form.January 26, 2011 at 5:20 pm #165405Randy RoyerParticipant
All good thoughts. I appreciate the comments from the employee side of the table but I am also interested in input from the employer side as well. Meaning – How are bonuses determined? As a percentage of profit made for each project? Or of the overall profitability of the company? How often? (quarterly, biannually, annually?) What has proven to be fair and equitable and keep employees motivated to do their best work? I know some engineering firms that are very formulaic in their incentive programs.January 26, 2011 at 6:29 pm #165404BZ GirlParticipant
I like Nick’s summary- “If an office has work, you should be compensated. If you bring a set of skills or level of dedication to a firm that leads to their success, you should be rewarded in some form”
That pretty much sums up the general notion of what a bonus SHOULD be for. But every employer is different. I worked at one office where everyone got bonuses at christmas time, and it was the equivalent of one extra paycheck and everyone knew it and expected it. If it was determined by merit i don’t know how. Seems like everyone just got one. Meanwhile here at my current job i haven’t gotten a single bonus since i started 3 years ago. In terms of ‘dedication to the firm’ i’ve done everything in my power to try to help the firm be successful….plenty of overtime, late nights, weekends, etc. just to make sure the job gets done, and gets done well. I’ve seen my efforts pay off in the form of landing new contracts and new jobs, but ZERO in terms of financial compensation. No raises. No bonuses. Not even a ‘hey i appreciate you working all weekend; why don’t you take Monday off’ every now and then. Bonuses don’t have to be strictly financial…i would do cartwheels if they would even give me a few extra vacation days each year.
Bonuses, or some form of gratitude and thanks and reward, should be given to the hard-working employees regardless of the economic climate. Otherwise the employees like myself will just feel over-worked, underpaid, and completely unappreciated, and as soon as the economy picks up i will LEAP out the front door at a better opportunity.January 26, 2011 at 6:33 pm #165403MandyParticipant
^ Like ^January 26, 2011 at 8:28 pm #165402ncaParticipant
I agree and feel for you siuation, but I also think a lot of the responsibility lies on the side of the employee in terms of setting the standard for compensation–with so many entry levels willing to work for literally nothing, more experienced professionals naturally think their time and effort is worth less. If the labor market doesnt ‘demand’ better compensation and fair wages there will be no incentive for the employer to provide it.
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