Christmas is often considered a time of year to reflect on all the hard work completed throughout the year, celebrate it and reward staff with bonuses or lavish Christmas parties. There are no limits to how far companies will go to reward their employees, and for those working in industries such as finance, tech or executive search in London, the bonuses are often very generous. 
Sometimes the Christmas bonuses might not meet the team’s expectations, especially if they have been high value in the past. There are some ways to manage the expectations of employees, which are all highlighted below. 
What are Christmas Bonuses for?
An end-of-year bonus is often granted to the employees of the business as a token of recognition for all the hard work that has been done throughout the year, and in some companies is even expected as part of the benefits package offered upon hiring. 
They are a great way of keeping morale high, especially towards the end of the year when the winter sets in, and can help alleviate some financial stresses around Christmas time. 
Each business may have a different way of rewarding their employees during the Christmas period, whether it be a cash bonus, annual trip or additional leave, but either way, it is a time for employers to give back to their staff and enter the new year with a happy and refreshed workforce. 
However, as financial pressure builds during difficult economic times, Christmas bonuses are often one of the first things to be cut, which can negatively impact morale. 
How much is the average Christmas Bonus?
Each business will have a different scheme for their Christmas bonuses, and these will vary depending on the industry. More often than not, the Christmas bonus will be worth a percentage of the staff member’s salary, otherwise, it might be a fixed rate, such as a £200 cash bonus, added to the December pay cheque. 
The total sum will depend on the industry, for example, those working in finance could expect to receive a larger bonus than those in teaching. 
Those working in up and coming industries such as AI, fintech or executive search in London could also expect to receive higher bonuses as these industries often receive a lot of funding and have a large cash flow available. 
Those working in sales or recruitment can also expect to receive larger bonuses, and often these bonuses are part of the companies offering to its applicants in the hiring process. 
To manage the expectations of your employees around Christmas time, it’s important to communicate clearly with all staff so that if there are any changes to the bonus amount, it does not come as a surprise. 
Dealing with expectations
If the Christmas bonus is changing, it’s important that employees have some idea of what to expect before they receive it. 
If the bonuses are usually quite generous and are going to be less so this year, you must let them know. There may be some staff that rely on this bonus if they are used to regularly receiving it, and receiving less than usual could give the opposite of the desired effect, and cause a lack of motivation going into the new year. 
Of course, the most important message is one of recognition and positivity, but it must be delivered in the appropriate way. 
Rather than sending an email, inform the managers of the bonus scheme and give them time to feed this back to their team in the right way. This would be a more appropriate way of delivery, as each team will react in a different way and might have some questions that their manager would be able to answer immediately and discreetly. 
What are the alternatives to a Christmas Bonus?
While many businesses cannot afford to offer employees large bonuses at the end of the year, cash bonuses are not the only way to reward your workforce. 
If you are one of the companies that need to manage the expectations of your staff, don’t worry, there are some great alternatives that will show your staff that they are appreciated just as much as a cash bonus. These could include:
An exciting Christmas partyChristmas hampers Additional annual leaveA trip away
If one of the above options is preferable, this should be communicated to all staff in the lead up to Christmas and presented as the reward, so that employees are not expecting a bonus. 
There’s nothing wrong with changing your Christmas bonus offering. Even prestigious firms such as banks, recruitment and executive search in London have opted for alternative rewards in recent years while budgets have been tighter. 
If you are unsure whether your employees would prefer a cash bonus or a lavish party, why not ask them? Don’t be afraid to ask the team what they would like to do – this could even boost morale as their opinion is accounted for as part of the decision-making process. 
To Conclude
As Christmas draws closer, there is never a better time to start telling your staff members about what they can expect over the festive period. Whether it’s an exciting Christmas party, giving back to charity or the usual Christmas bonus, as long as your team knows what to expect, you can consider their expectations managed.