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5 Things You Can Do to Boost Your Chances of Getting a Year-End Bonus

5 Things You Can Do to Boost Your Chances of Getting a Year-End Bonus

By Catherine Conlan
Monster Contributing Writer


If your company gives out year-end bonuses, there are ways to put yourself in the best position to get one. Here are five things to do to boost your chances of getting a year-end bonus.

Focus on it All Year

“To get to a bonus, make sure you spend the year focused on it,” says Denise P. Kalm, chief innovator at Kalm Kreative and author of “Career Savvy.” It’s not something you can earn in the final quarter of the year -- and it’s probably not something that a one-time project triumph will get you.

Document Your Work Week

Keep track of the work you do during the week. Write down your accomplishments and successes, and outline ways you’ve solved problems.

This doesn’t have to turn into a long memo to your boss, says author and speaker Barry Maher. “Just keep him or her apprised of everything you did during that week,” Maher says. “Come bonus-decision time, the boss may well use those notes to help write the evaluation.”

It’s not a bad idea to do this even if your company doesn’t offer a year-end bonus. “At the very least you’ll have all that ammunition when it’s time to discuss raises,” Maher says.

“Tie everything to the business,” Kalm recommends. “Use dollar amounts where possible. This makes a clear case for any employer that you are worth money.”

Meet with Your Boss Early and Often

Meeting at least quarterly with your boss will help ensure that you are on track with expectations, says Julie Kline, SPHR, executive HR consultant at Prastmark Consulting. “As an HR leader and person who determines year-end bonus amounts, I always notice how the last three months of the year, employees are on their best behavior,” Kline says. “This is the obvious tactic that any Eddie Haskell knows.”

Maher adds that taking those weekly notes and writing a report that summarizes the highlights of the past quarter for your boss. By providing written proof of the work you’ve done, Kline says, the boss is better able to justify the bonus amount.

Speak Your Boss’ Language

Keep in mind that what’s important to you might not be important to your boss, and vice-versa, Kline says. “Communicate with decision-makers about what they care about, not necessarily what you care about. Skip the flowers and speak to the CFO about the financial impact your work is having on the bottom-line. Talk to the president about how your work is contributing to the company's strategy. Explain to your leader how your goals are aligned and making him or her look good.”

When you show that you care about the company’s goals and are focused on the role you play to help meet those goals, you’re seen as a key part of the organization.

Ask Your Boss

“This may sound obvious but most people won't do it,” says Laura C. Browne, co-author of “Raise Rules for Women: How To Make More Money At Work.” “Ask your boss, ‘What can I do to help you so I can get a bonus this year?’”

While this does take a little bit of courage, Browne says it does three things: It reinforces the fact that you want to help your boss, it lets your boss know that improving your work is important to you and it gives you the opportunity to find out what you need to work on.

“If you don't get a specific answer, be pleasantly persistent and ask again when your boss has had some time to think about it,” Browne says.

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