Are Christmas bonuses impacting your company culture?

by Nicola Middlemiss17 Dec 2014
With the holidays almost here, some HR professionals will have already determined employee rewards – others may have even divvied them out– but how did you make your decision? One expert is saying more managers need to take company culture into account when considering Christmas bonuses.

Managers have more to worry about than striking a balance between austerity and generosity, says employment lawyer Dan Peyton. They need to make sure end-of-year bonuses are sending an ethical message, in line with company culture.

“Businesses can risk being seen as profligate and irresponsible, rewarding failure or throwing cash about, or as exploiting a hard-working workforce and their loyal customers,” warns Peyton. Employee bonuses need to be taken seriously, he stresses.

Recognising high performance with a financial reward may be one of the easiest ways to improve employee morale and increase retention rates but, according to Peyton, there are other key factors that employers need to carefully consider.

End-of-year ethics 

According to Peyton, businesses should “enforce ethical and responsible remuneration policies that are fair, equitable and above all about achievement.”

“Performance-related rewards must promote corporate values and incentivise employees to incorporate them into the way they work,” says Peyton. Unethical issues, like avoiding tax or taking advantage of foreign laws, are often regarded as matters of public interest and it could be detrimental to your company if such behaviour is rewarded.

Code of conduct

One of the most problematic dilemmas HR managers face on all fronts is dealing with a high-performing employee whose behaviour isn’t exactly ethical. Whether it’s breaching compliance rules or taking risks with company money – it can be difficult to discipline them when the risk pays off – let alone know how to reward them.

“It is in these circumstances that businesses need to take a firm line or risk facing public, regulatory and legal consequences,” he asserts. Managers can’t just reward employees based on results alone.

“Bonus payments may be tied to department or company performance, not just individual results,” Peyton suggests.


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