Poll: Would You Rather Have A Huge Holiday Office Party Or A Year-End Bonus?

Though many companies are in better shape than they were a few years ago, some employers are still making cutbacks when it comes to holiday budgets which includes end of the year bonuses. Only 29% of small business owners are planning to give bonuses this holiday season, according to the results of an American Express OPEN study, which interviewed 503 owners of companies with fewer than 100 employees. That is a very un-merry picture compared to back in 2005 when 54% of small businesses that planned to give end-of-year bonuses. In addition, only 35% of small businesses are expected to throw a holiday party. That’s the lowest in the 10 year history of the study. Though for many opting for the bonus seems like an obvious choice some employees are very fond of the office holiday party. They look forward to it all year. Sometimes a holiday party can boost morale at a company more than money. What do you think?

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    • Alison

      In a choice between a party and a bonus I go bonus every time but it doesn’t have to be an either or situation. If an employer can’t afford a big party then organise a pub night and pay for the snacks, make everyone pay for their own drink or subsidise the drinks rather than making them free. Office parties are a great way to get people talking and can be done for very little money

    • Steph

      You don’t need an actual “party”. Put a cake or two and a meat and cheese party tray in the breakroom during regular business hours. Cheers everyone up and no expensive drinks.

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    • Anonymous

      I honestly think bosses should put this poll out to employees and find the hard truth. I honestly don’t like office holiday parties. It’s not a party in my book if you have to “restrain yourself”, if you are required to be there, and if you honestly could think of 1000 other places you would want to be.

      I don’t hate my coworkers, but when 5PM hits I want to go home and relax with a good meal and loved ones. I don’t want to be reminded of work until the next day. So when I’m being “required” to go out to some shindig after 5PM where I see the very people I see all day, it’s not my idea of a good time. In many cases I think it’s more the higher-ups want a forced cheering section as they give out their droll speeches patting one another on the back.

      Some say a cash bonus is impersonal and cold…I say it’s honey that more bees will be into. You could skip every single shindig, party, etc…but hand me a nice chunk of cash at the end of the year and you got my loyalty. I don’t buy into the idea that people want to “make a family” out of their office mates the way the fictitious Michael Scott desperately tries to. They respect one another, work together, but they want to keep all that at work between 9 and 5. I’m the same way.

      I think you’re setting a terrible morale when you throw a holiday party in January or February (because it costs less) and make it mandatory. You’re showing how full of it the “we don’t have any money for raises or bonuses or promotions” song and dance was. You’re showing how easier it is to spend $50 per person as opposed to giving them $100-$500 in a bonus they could really use.

      A better idea would be for bosses to first ASK employees what they would really want, and then make the party optional with NO “future consequences”. So you suddenly don’t decide the 10 people who didn’t come should be the first to get laid off when you need to let people go, or they are passed over for promotions (if they really earned one). If you see your employees really could care less about a holiday party, take it as the hard truth on what they really want in your company.

      Overlooking this, throwing a gala, forcing people to be there…you’re only stroking your own ego. Nothing more.