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Recognition and Reward

On25/ 02 /16

How to get the bonus you deserve

At work, there are few things more satisfying than gaining recognition for a job well done, and when this recognition is supported by a financial reward, it can be an incredible motivator. However, there is no doubt that asking for a bonus can be tricky. You can't simply burst into your boss’ office and demand one on the spot. Your approach must be considered and tactful to yield positive results.

Statistically, bonus payments in the UK are on the increase with a rise of 4.9% seen from 2013 to 2014, the highest figure since the economic downturn. Meanwhile, the median annual wage in the South East rose by 6.05% to £31,493 in 2014.

So with remuneration on the up, how should employees broach the subject?
We explore how to get the bonus you deserve, whilst maintaining a positive working relationship with your employers.

Clarify Your Company’s Bonus Structure

The first step is to make sure you understand your company’s promotion and bonus structure. Rather than making assumptions, try to clarify exactly how your company uses bonuses and how you might qualify. Some companies have a structured bonus system, however at other organisations the setup is not so clear-cut.

Some employers believe in promotion, proof and then rewards later whilst others operate on a yearly cycle where work is evaluated in an annual review. Meanwhile, some companies may favour salary increases over bonuses so it’s essential to get clear on your organisation’s approach.

It is also important to look at your entire remuneration package. Some companies may not have a bonus scheme but do offer other perks such as season ticket loans, private health care, etc. These may have a higher overall value than a one-off bonus payment so it makes sense to review your contract carefully.

Be Realistic in Your Expectations

Bonuses can be awarded for a number of reasons from rewarding an employee who hits a target or brings in a new client to incentivising staff retention. However, it is important to remember that being good at your job or working hard doesn’t mean you will automatically qualify.

You need to evaluate exactly why you deserve a bonus before you ask for one. Normally, holding responsibility is not a justification for a bonus in itself. Usually, you will need to show that you have gone ‘above and beyond’ to achieve business success.

Timing should also be a key consideration; three months into a new position isn't typically the point at which most employees would expect a bonus. That said, if this is the status quo at your company and you still think that you are eligible, it makes sense to start raising the issue.

Make a business case

If you ask for a bonus without any giving your employers any evidence to support your request, they are unlikely to sign it off. So, you need to make a business case and sell your achievements. Remember that you boss will need to analyse your bonus like any other business expense to see if it is justified.

Try to come up with a list of accomplishments that you have achieved since your last review. If you can prove that you’ve made tangible business improvements, you'll have a strong case for your bonus.

Ask for Feedback

If you don’t get the bonus you are after, make sure that you request feedback from your employers. Ask your boss what you need to do to qualify for a bonus or raise in the future. This will enable you to start actively working towards your goal and build up your track record.

If you decide that now is not the right time to ask for a bonus or raise, start to put the wheels in motion for the future. It’s good to get into the habit of monitoring your progress and documenting your achievements. This way you’ll give yourself the best chance of being rewarded when the right time comes.
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