Christmas bonus or Christmas party?
I changed jobs a couple of years ago. For the most part, I am happy with the change. The new job is better for my family and I like our new location better. However, it has become clear to me that “Corporation B” is not as good at strategic planning and cost benefit analysis among other things as “Corporation A”. I am a little nervous about how this will affect my job in the long term, and I thought I would share one small example of this kind of thinking.
Corporation A always gave a Christmas bonus. Even when they had a tough year, the top executives at the company found a way to give a little extra income to all employees. We also had a Christmas dinner – but no frills – simple entertainment, a venue on the grounds of the company and a caterer that sponsored the meal for free due to a vendor relationship with our company. The meal was simple, but we always enjoyed the atmosphere and spending casual time with fellow employees. The food was served cafeterias style and our dinnerware was average. After the dinner, we all stayed to help clean up and were handed a bonus check on the way out the door. In my ten years working at that company, my bonus ranged from $150 to $400. Ironically, the biggest bonus came in the year where I was working at my lowest level. Bonuses were the same for every single full-time employee, regardless of rank.
Here is the math: Free meal, very few waitstaff, free venue, simple entertainment. I think that Company A spent about $2,000 for our Christmas dinner and usually handed out checks for $200 to approximately 150 employees. Total cost: $32,000.
I have worked at Company B for over two years and they do things differently. Every Christmas, the put on a big catered dinner. The food is great – Mrs. Stew had salmon and I had prime rib. Gourmet salad, dinner rolls, cheese cake and all of the trimmings. We ate off of china, drank from crystal glasses and held cloth napkins on our laps. Our beverages were poured by waitstaff and the venue was a large and well-furnished community fine arts center. Both years, Company B brought in outstanding entertainment. Last year was a well-known comedian and this year we had a great bluegrass band. At the end of the meal, we left the mess to the servers and walked to get our checked coats.
Not a bonus check to be seen.
Let me do some math. Fancy venue: $2,000 (just guessing here). Gourmet, catered meal for Mrs. Stew and me: $45 a plate, so $90 total. Top-of-the-line entertainment: $10,ooo. There were about 200 employees in attendance, so the grand total cost for Company B is around $30,000.
A fancy dinner is nice. Mrs. Stew and I really appreciated the gesture and a chance to get out without the kids even though we had to spend $25 on babysitting. However, I think Company B would get a lot more “bang for the buck” if they scaled back on the Christmas party and found a way to give a Christmas bonus.
What do you think?
Article by Stew
Photo by Collin Anderson