Forty percent of professionals expect to get a bigger bonus this year

20 December 2019 2 min. read

Forty percent of professionals expect to receive a bigger bonus in 2019 than they did last year, according to a Korn Ferry survey of 1,028 respondents.

The vast majority of professionals surveyed were eligible for a bonus this year (92%), with a large proportion receiving a bonus in 2018 (84%), and most (88%) expecting a bonus this year as well.

The consulting firm’s survey found that 40% of respondents expect a larger bonus this year, 39% said their bonus will remain unchanged from last year, and 21% said it will be smaller this year.

Half of respondents (49%) said their bonus was directly tied to individual performance, while a further 81% said it was tied to the performance of their team and/or organization.

Forty percent of professionals expect to get a bigger bonus this year

“To avoid adding to fixed costs with large annual salary increases, companies are regularly relying instead on bonuses to reward employees for superior performance,” Don Lowman, global leader of Korn Ferry’s rewards and benefits practice, said. “CEOs are quite willing to pay for solid results, but only if those results are attained.”

Though 85% of professionals said they understand how bonuses are determined in their organizations, 41% said they think the bonus allocation process at their organization is unfair. Lowman noted that employees are increasingly discussing their salaries and bonuses with colleagues, so organizations should ensure a fair and transparent bonus process tied to objective performance metrics.

Cash was the most common bonus avenue (97%), while the remaining 3% of respondents received stock. According to the survey, however, professionals are also open to different forms of bonus incentives. The most popular non-traditional options were training and development opportunities (30%) and a paid-for vacation (27%).

“While bonuses are a critical part of total compensation packages, leaders must also look at all of the ways employees are rewarded, including development and advancement opportunities, meaningful work, an energizing work climate, health and wellness benefits, a competitive base salary, and paid-time off,” Lowman concluded.