9 signs you're about to get a holiday bonus

The Wolf of Wall Street

Year-end bonuses are often a holiday cliffhanger for employees, 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.”

“You may be in the dark on whether a bonus is in the cards — and if it is, how much the bonus will be — because it’s discretionary and there are so many variables,” she explains. “They can also cause the jitters because the amount can represent a very tangible indicator of your job performance.”

Adding to this year-end mystery is the fact that most employers don’t have a stated policy on bonuses because managers prefer maximum flexibility, she says. “Some firms offer alternatives to holiday bonuses, such as spot bonuses throughout the year, special perks, or small gifts. The surprise element can be good or bad, depending on your expectations.”

Here are nine signs you’re about to get a holiday bonus:

Company sales are up.

If your company is experiencing solid growth, that can boost the likelihood of a bonus check, says Taylor. If, on the other hand, sales have been down for a while, you probably won't be seeing that extra cash this year.

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.'

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.

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.'

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.'

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.

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, she says.

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.

Your department beat its goals.

'If the department's stated goals were met or exceeded, you may be in luck -- especially if your boss makes it a point to laud the accomplishments of those who contributed; namely, you,' she concludes.

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