Nearly all (92 per cent) Canadian employers say they plan to award a year-end bonus to their teams, according to a new survey by Robert Half Canada Inc.

The survey, which polled more than 900 employers, found nearly half (45 per cent) said they’re awarding a larger bonus than last year, while two-fifths (39 per cent) said their bonus will be similar to 2022 and just eight per cent said they plan to award a smaller bonus.

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With the size of bonuses varying depending on the success of individual businesses and their respective industries, companies that had a less successful year will have to get creative to supplement any financial bonuses, says Evangeline Berube, associate director at Robert Half.

“There’s certain industries that are more successful right now [and] they’re going to be in a position to be able to offer some extra money to their workers. For industries that aren’t seeing as much prosperity, [there are still ways] to reward employees by things like offering more flexibility or even giving them a little bit of extra paid time off.”

However, at least one employer outside of Canada is awarding bonuses despite poor company performance. As part of a new worker incentive strategy, employees of the U.K.’s Royal Mail Group Ltd. will receive a £500 bonus if they meet delivery targets over Christmas as the company battles mounting losses. The bonus, which is the first of its kind, marks efforts by the postal service to avoid a repeat of last Christmas, when deliveries were thrown into chaos by a series of strikes.

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It’s important for employers to consider the impact of bonuses on attraction and retention efforts, she says, especially amid rising inflation and the cost of living.

“As costs rise and people are dealing with less disposable income, offering a bonus is definitely going to be very attractive to current employees. As workers head into the New Year, [a bonus] can keep them more engaged and wanting to stay on with the organization. [A bonus] is also highly attractive to [prospective employees] because they see an opportunity to make more than just their salary.”

Bonuses are also an effective tool amid ongoing challenges in the labour market, says Berube. “We’re seeing that organizations are understanding that, ‘OK, so this is the talent that’s available out there — how do I incorporate that into my workforce and still move my organization forward?’ It continues to be a very dynamic [labour] environment.”

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