Some 43% of Employers to Award 2003 Bonuses, Throw Employee Bash

November 20, 2003 ( More than four out of 10 (43%) of business owners planned to give employee bonuses and the same number cited plans to hold holiday parties, according to a new survey.

The OPEN Small Business Network 2003 Semi-Annual Monitor from American Express survey also found that 33% said they planned to give employee gifts, while nearly a fifth (18%) said they intended to give raises. Business owners in the Northeast were the most likely to give year-end bonuses (49%) followed by the North Central region (43%), South (42%) and West (39%).

Not surprisingly, holiday festivities also depend partly on company size. According to the survey, businesses with over $200,000 in annual revenues were more likely than their smaller counterparts to have holiday plans for their employees, including:

  • handing out bonuses (60% vs. 26%)
  • holding holiday parties (54% vs. 31%)
  • giving holiday gifts (40% vs. 28%)
  • giving raises (27% vs. 10%).

In a related issue, companies’ holiday budgets for client and customer gifts are up to an average of almost $1,000, The survey found that the number of business owners with holiday gift giving plans for clients and customers held steady in 2003 at 41%, and average gift budgets rose 2% to $966.

According to the survey, sending cards or calendars remained the most popular holiday gesture for clients and customers (21%) followed by a food or fruit basket (9%). The number planning to give retail or restaurant gift certificates to key clients or customers doubled to 8% in 2003 from 4% in 2002.

For additional, free holiday gift giving tips and tools, including gift-giving etiquette, tips for giving employee bonuses and creating a holiday budget, visit the OPEN Network’s Online Holiday Center at .

The OPEN Small Business Network Semi-Annual Monitor, released in March and October, is based on a sample of 787 small business owners/managers of companies with fewer than 100 employees. International Communications Research (ICR) conducted the survey via telephone from September 8 to September 19, 2003.