The end-of-year bonus will be here before you know it. Some companies have a written-in-stone procedure to determine bonuses such as using a factor of the employee’s salary and the company’s profit to formulate a bonus. Many other (often smaller) companies use a more seat-of-your-pants process. It may be each manager is given an amount to split amongst the department as s/he sees fits.
Regardless how the bonus is determined, now is the time to remind management of your impact this year. The people who do this will be top of mind for managers while those who do not will be seen as being okay with whatever is given them. Really, do you want to be okay with just any ol’ thing? Even if you think your manager has no say, it is worth having a bonus conversation. It is a good reminder for raises, promotions, and not to be on the next round of lay offs list if it doesn’t impact bonus.
Remind yourself of the work you have done before popping in on your manager. Your impact on revenue and costs are the best arguments for additional money. Employees tend to think in terms of their actions when discussing work, i.e. “I managed the Smith project.” Try figuring out what the Smith project generated or saved the company and talk about that instead. Let’s face it; money is the fuel of all organizations including non-profits. When you show that you know how you are creating more fuel then you have a much better shot at getting more money (fuel for your household). Did you complete the project on time or even early? Did you bring the project under budget? Can you compare this to other projects managed by other people? When all was completed would the project itself bring in more money for the company or save money? Most likely the project would not exist if it did neither of these things.
Don’t worry if you are not management. Each employee is considered a revenue generator or cost center. Take a great waitress. What makes her better than the other wait staff is that she is brining in more money each shift. She probably is doing this by pushing higher end liquor and turning her tables over quicker in the friendliest of manners. Don’t talk about turning the tables over. Talk about the average revenue per shift. Here is a sample of things to consider for different types of employees:
- The money saved in vendor contracts that you negotiated to lower rates
- The money saved in your widget redesign that takes less time or material to produce
- The increase in revenue based on the customer service improvement you implemented resulting in a higher percentage of return customers
The list can go on and on depending on the type of work you do. As the saying goes “follow the money” and you will figure out your financial impact.
Once you know your impact it is time to pop in on management. Notice I refer to it as popping in. You don’t want to make this a big deal. It truly is a quick touch base. You state your case and leave. You are not waiting for a more meaningful response from your supervisor than “I’ll take it into consideration.” So, what do you say to start the conversation?
You: Hi, boss. I know the end of the year and bonuses will soon be here. Just a reminder, I saved our company $X by doing Y and made the company an additional $Z by doing Q which is why I believe I deserve the high end for bonuses this year. Do you agree?
From there you and your boss are having a conversation. It may be very brief or it may open up a longer conversation. Regardless, the fact that you had this conversation just gave you a better shot at more money come bonus time.