The festive season is upon us! And with it comes the question of holiday bonuses. A recent survey by American Express indicated more small businesses are planning to give bonuses this year compared to last year. When it comes to holiday bonuses, here are a few do’s and don’ts to consider:

Do acknowledge your employees in some way. Whether it’s a cash bonus, an end of year party or a small token gift just to spread a little holiday cheer.

Don’t confuse a holiday bonus with an end of year or performance bonus. Employees should know why they’re receiving the bonus and whether it’s tied to individual performance, profit-sharing or some other compensation scheme.

Do ask other business owners for advice. If you’re new to the game and aren’t sure what’s standard for similar businesses, ask around and get some advice.

Don’t set the bar too high. It’s great you’re feeling generous and want to share it with your employees but is it sustainable? If the business falls on rougher times, how will it look if you can’t match previous year’s bonuses? It only takes one time to set precedence!

Do think outside the box. Holiday bonuses don’t have to be cash. A gift card to their favourite restaurant or an extra day off is a great gesture as well.

Don’t give small amounts of cash. Giving a small amount of money can be more harmful than giving no cash at all. Instead spend the money on a small gift like a bottle of wine or a turkey for the family.