Canadian Employees: Cash Tops List for Most Preferred Holiday Bonus

Experts Answer: Should Holiday Bonuses Be Merit-Based?

Staffing companies across the country have seen quite the range of bonuses over the year, including a door manufacturer who gave employees the last two weeks of the year off and $75 in after-tax spending money. A construction firm handed out $2,000, while another company gave out frozen turkeys.

While fowl might be a welcome addition to the holiday dinner table, most employees prefer cash, according to multiple Express owners and surveys.

Respondents were asked, “What is your favorite type of holiday bonus?” Seventy-seven per cent (77%) said cash bonuses, 15 per cent said paid time off, 5 per cent said gift cards, 2 per cent said a holiday party, and 1 per cent said a steak or turkey. Cash also topped last year’s results.

Jessica Culo, Express franchise owner from Edmonton, said while cash bonuses are not uncommon, gift cards are a popular choice in her market.

“We get positive feedback from employees when they receive a gift card to their favorite store,” she said. “This way, they are more inclined to get something for themselves, maybe something that they wouldn’t otherwise buy. It feels more personal.”

Culo also said paid time off to spend with family and friends is also something she sees at this time of the year.

“Paid time off is a very popular holiday incentive,” she added. “We find that people generally like to have paid time off around the holidays, and many companies are willing to give this ‘bonus’ to employees.”

“Whether it’s a cash bonus or another gesture of appreciation, showing some ‘holiday spirit’ this time of year can go a long way in enhancing workplace morale and employee loyalty,” said Bob Funk, CEO of Express, and a former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. “Plenty of businesses may not be in a position to give bonuses. Those that do, though, are not only spreading some cheer but also some goodwill, which is always a wise investment.”

The survey of 300 employees was conducted through Express International Headquarters.

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