Employers Still Want to Spread Holiday Cheer

December 11, 2008 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - According to a new survey from Hewitt Associates, 42% of companies will continue to provide employees with holiday bonuses this year, although the value of those bonuses may be slightly lower than in the past.

Hewitt’s 2008 holiday survey of more than 160 organizations reveals that of companies offering holiday bonuses this year, more than half (52%) will provide them in the form of cash – spending an average of $863 per employee, Hewitt said in a press release.

Employers that provide holiday bonuses say they do so to show their appreciation (57%), for good will or morale (18%), to maintain tradition (12%), and/or as an incentive for employees to improve business results (8%).

Employer gift giving will also continue as 42% report they will give gift cards or gift certificates averaging $76 per person, and 16% will give food (e.g., ham or turkey).

Party On

Most employers (71%) responding to the Hewitt survey will also continue to throw holiday parties this year as a way to recognize and say thank you to hardworking employees. Of these, 22% say they will spend $5,000 or less on their parties, 19% will pay between $5,000 and $10,000, and 20% will spend between $10,000 and $25,000.

More than half of those surveyed (51%) say they hold holiday parties after work hours – 62% at offsite locations – and half of respondents allow employees to bring significant others. On average, according to Hewitt, 69% employees attend their company’s holiday party.