Year-end bonuses can make for a nice little 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:
1. Company sales are up
If your company is experiencing solid growth, that can boost the likelihood of a bonus check, says 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 be seeing that extra cash this year.
2. Your boss seems friendlier than normal
“Is your boss’s demeanour more like Santa than Scrooge?” Taylor asks. “If your boss is more available, in a better mood, friendlier, and more talkative than usual, your prospects are more merry and bright.”
3. 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,” she explains. “Consider all the other factors before making your educated guess.”
If, conversely, there have been significant layoffs, that’s not a good sign.
4. You’ve received a lot of kudos in recent months
If your boss recently gave you praise for a job well done, especially if the recognition was public, you’re looking good, says Taylor. “Managers who plan to reward you monetarily will be more positive and vocal about your successes.”
5. 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,” she says. “Maybe you landed it. This might spur some cheer in the office, in the form of your bonus check.”
6. Research looks promising
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 stead, says Taylor.
7. Your success can be measured
It’s not enough to feel like you’re doing well. You’ve got to be able to demonstrate your success, in quantifiable, measurable terms, as the Bateman Group’s blog aptly notes.
8. 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 says.
9. 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 says.
10. You’re a team player
As Heather Dugan writes for Salary.com, “Going 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.
11. You asked for one
It can be nerve-wracking to ask for an end-of-the-year bonus, but, as Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter writes 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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