Recognise This! – The entitlement saga continues with employees demanding a bonus as if it were compensation.

I hoped it was an aberration, this idea of “Give me my bonus or I’ll sue.” Now US brokers are threatening to leave if their bonuses aren’t large enough.

“For some on Wall Street, a less-than-stellar bonus is simply too much to bear. Brokerage executives at one Wall Street firm, Jefferies Group, have threatened to leave the company if their bonuses aren’t up to par with other firms, the New York Post reports. …

“Estimates of this year’s Wall Street bonuses have varied widely, but usually see a drop from last year. According to a November survey from consulting firm Johnson Associates Inc., for example, bonuses should fall 20 to 30 per cent on average this year. Other surveys predict an average drop of 35 to 40 per cent.

“Still, the Wall Street workers themselves haven’t cut their expectations, with 62 per cent saying they expect a bonus that’s in line or bigger than last year’s, according to an October survey from eFinancialCareers.com.”

“Expect a bonus” – that’s the primary problem with the end-of-year bonus. It quickly becomes an expectation and an entitlement, much like base compensation. But a bonus is not compensation – it’s a discretionary gift for going above and beyond.

Instead of annual bonuses, employers should be creating a culture and supporting systems to recognise and reward employees throughout the year and in-the-moment. Timely recognition and praise of behaviours demonstrated, progress made and results achieved meets employees needs for validation and feedback whilst avoiding the creation of an entitlement in the form of a bonus.

Have you had employees threaten to quit when a “bonus” became an entitlement?

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