11 signs you're about to get a holiday bonus

Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design/FlickrAre you in for a nice surprise, just in time for the holidays?
  • Everyone wants to have their hard work recognised with a holiday bonus.
  • But thanks to vague company policies, it’s not always clear whether or not you’ll earn extra cash.
  • Still, indications like a positive relationship with your boss and a company-wide hiring spree are good signs.

Year-end bonuses can make for a nice stocking stuffer around the holidays.

But they can also be a source of major stress. Many companies don’t have a concrete policy regarding bonuses, so you never really know exactly what you’re going to get.

This is especially troubling considering the fact that sources of “variable pay” like bonuses are increasingly eclipsing raises,according to Time.

Here are 11 signs you’ve got nothing to worry about when it comes to your holiday bonus:

Company sales are up

Sergi Alexander/Getty Images for Haute Living

If your company is experiencing solid growth, that can boost the likelihood of a bonus check, said Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and the author of “Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behaviour and Thrive in Your Job.” If, on the other hand, sales have been down for a while, you probably won’t see that extra cash this year.

Your boss seems friendlier than normal

“Is your boss’s demeanour more like Santa than Scrooge?” Taylor asked. “If your boss is more available, in a better mood, friendlier, and more talkative than usual, your prospects are more merry and bright.”

Your company is hiring like crazy

If your employer is on a roll and in the hiring mode, that can mean that times are good, and you’re more likely to get a bonus – assuming you’ve been performing well.

“Sometimes, however, a small reduction in headcount can mean that more money is freed up for bonuses,” Taylor said. “Consider all the other factors before making your educated guess.”

If, however, there have been significant layoffs, that’s not a good sign.

You’ve received a lot of kudos in recent months

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

If your boss recently gave you praise for a job well done, especially if the recognition was public, you’re looking good, said Taylor. “Managers who plan to reward you monetarily will be more positive and vocal about your successes.”

Your company landed a big account

“Maybe your company stumbled along all year, but just in the nick of time, it landed a sought-after account,” Taylor said. “Maybe you landed it. This might spur some cheer in the office, in the form of your bonus check.”

The company has given out bonuses before

Sean Gallup/Getty Images

If you’ve visited a site like Glassdoor.com, and found that the company typically pays bonuses this time of year, you might be in good standing, said Taylor.

Your success can be measured

It’s not enough to feel like you’re doing well. You need to ensure that your achievements have furthered the company’s success this year.

“You should always link individual performance to departmental goals, and then to overall company goals and how what you’ve done directly impacted each,” Adam Ochstein, founder and CEO of StratEx Partners, previously told Business Insider.

Your boss is fine with your vacation time

Is your manager encouraging about your taking some time off during the holidays? Does he or she want to be sure you’re content and take a deserved break? This is a good sign that a bonus might be coming your way, Taylor said.

You had a very positive review

“If you’re just coming off the heels of a very positive performance review and your boss talks up your bright future, you might be getting a nice bonus,” Taylor said.

You’re a team player

As Heather Dugan wrote in Salary.com, “Going at it alone isn’t always a sign of strength. In fact, it can be a red flag indicator of social ignorance.”

Make sure you’re networking with your colleagues. Acting as a lone wolf might end up hurting your chances of snagging that bonus.

You asked for one

It can be nerve-wracking to ask for an end-of-the-year bonus, but, Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter wrote in U.S. News & World Report, putting yourself out there can pay off big time. Just be prepared to demonstrate how exactly your actions have contributed value to your organisation.

Jacquelyn Smith contributed to a previous version of this article.

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