The Bonus

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Someone came to me and directly asked what my company gave its employees last Christmas. I told them we got the usual - 13th month pay plus the leave conversion to cash. My answer was then followed by a gasp and the question - 'That's it?' I responded with an equally surprised facial expression.

Question: Why do we feel like we're always entitled for something good for all the 'hard work' we did?

Some of you may not agree with my opinion on bonuses. That's fine. We (yes, that includes me) all want to be in a better financial situation. We all want more cash. We all want our purchasing power to increase especially during the holidays. But when we're talking business, are we really entitled to such?

I heard that one of the call centers here in Manila gave bonuses to its employees. Jealous much? Wait until you hear this: each of them received P500. Wow. How generous. Congratulations company X. You really made your employees very proud to be part of your organization.

I look at bonuses the way I look at incentives. Companies are not obliged to give them but it would definitely great to have it to boost employees' morale. Employees, on the other hand should not expect to receive bonuses just for providing the most basic expectations in their jobs. When I asked one agent, he said 'I've been so busy the entire year! I handled a lot of calls!'

Well, hunny, that's your job isn't it?

Now if the team did something extraordinary that improved the status of the company - for example beating the competition or minimizing costs or achieving the lowest absenteeism rate during the holidays or providing excellent service that makes the clients give more volume to our center - then that's when the managers have the right to demand for something like an incentive or a bonus.

Basic expectations do not merit something extra. Tasks done extraordinarily do.

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