How To Get Your Boss To Fork Over Your Bonus

money lick

Photo: The Consumerist via Flickr

The holidays are a cheery time in the office too. For many people, a bonus is just around the corner.If you’ve worked hard the past year and hit all of your goals, there’s a big check coming your way.  But exactly how long will you have to wait for it?

Here are some ways to inquire about the extra money you were promised without making your boss angry.

1. Wait an appropriate amount of time

If you're supposed to get a bonus at the end of the year, don't ask for it this week. Wait until at a month or two has past to inquire.

Better yet, ask coworkers in similar roles when bonuses are usually handed out and manage your expectations accordingly.

2. Don't assume your boss remembers

Your superior probably has a lot on his or her mind. Remembering precisely when each of their employees should get their bonus is not a top priority.

If you've already asked your coworkers about bonus timing and your bonus is definitely overdue, then it is appropriate to politely inquire about it to your boss. An initial email inquiry may work best and can come across as less demanding than an in-person approach.

3. Don't say you need the money

As a general rule of thumb, bonuses are meant to be just that -- a bonus. You should not be counting on your bonus to pay off an overcharged credit card bill or to buy extravagant holiday gifts. Your personal finances are not your company's problem.

Appearing desperate (even if you are) will turn off your employer, so play it cool.

3. Master the timing offers this piece of advice: 'Approaching your boss when the company is taking a beating on the NASDAQ or when the company has just did a national recall of its best-selling product is not the most opportune time.

'Common sense has to kick into high gear for this matter because even if you've got your bonus pitch down pat, it's all about timing.'

4. Catch your boss in a good mood

Receive an upbeat email from your boss? Then it's a good time to approach them about your bonus. The conversation is sure to go smoother if your boss is happy, especially if he or she is happy with something you did recently.

A good mood will certainly help up your odds, but you also need to be prepared to back up your bonus request with cold, hard facts that reflect positively on your annual performance.

5. Come prepared

Many bonuses are the result of hitting your goal, be it an individual one or the company's.

Have milestones outlined so your boss can measure your efforts. It is especially good to show where the company benefited financially from your work.

Back up your performance with reports, charts and documentation. Nothing is more influential than statistical-based facts to support your request. Make sure to give credit where credit is due. If your team helped you achieve the goal, say so.

6. Don't slack off

You just spent all of December working hard to make sure you reached your goals. That doesn't mean January is a time to slack off. Until you're physically grasping your bonus, you need to keep up the stellar performance.

Says, 'You can't waltz in the office tomorrow and demand a bonus for your hard work. You need to prepare yourself a little. For the next two weeks go the extra mile. Show up early, stay late, make up for someones missed work, etc... Your boss needs to see that you're going above and beyond in the next two weeks.'

8. Don't appear desperate, demanding or pushy

Remember, no matter how excited you are to receive your bonus, a bonus is a gift from your employer. Although many employers are beginning to use performance-based bonuses to justify paying employees lower salaries, there are still a lot of companies that simply dish out the cash to show gratitude.

Don't come across as side-tracked by the extras. No matter how long you have to wait, remain respectful of your boss. Continuing to do a great job will make you appear deserving of your cash.

A lot of people have already received their bonuses. Check out:

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