Year-End Bonuses Dry Up: Survey Says

Did your company give employees a year-end bonus? If you didn't, you're part of a growing trend. According to a survey by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, 43 percent of HR execs say their companies don't give out year-end bonuses or gifts to employees. (Pre-recession, in 2007, just 28 percent were similarly Scrooge-ish.)

Among the 53 percent of companies that did award bonuses, half gave employees either a non-monetary gift or less than $100. Thirty-one percent gave all employees a monetary bonus based on the company's overall performance, and 19 percent gave performance-based bonuses only to certain employees. Among those companies giving bonuses, most bonuses were similar to what they gave in 2010.

Why it matters to your business: It's understandable if you can't shell out huge bonuses, but rewarding your employees in some way is important. While Challenger's study noted that small companies are on tight budgets, it also suggests that even something as simple as a $25 gift card or a day (or two) off with pay can boost employee morale. Since it's too late to do anything about that for 2011, you might consider a New Year's treat for your employees (sometime in the month of January), or a nod to the Chinese New Year, which starts January 23.