Earning a bonus is not the same as earning a raise. The two terms both relate to a pay increase, but a raise refers to a permanent change to your base pay, while a bonus is a one-time payment or benefit.
In most workplaces, bonuses are more common than raises, since bonuses do not cost the company as much money. Bonuses are normally monetary in nature, but some companies provide other benefits as a bonus, such as time off after your team completes a difficult project.
The first reason managers provide bonuses is to improve morale. The second reason is to incentivize and reward hard-working employees. Alternatively, your company may provide bonuses for specific holidays, most commonly for Christmas or the end of the year. Your employer determines when bonuses are available, but there are ways you can show your employer you deserve a bonus.
Volunteer for Additional Responsibilities
One of the most effective ways to earn a bonus is to volunteer for more responsibilities. By accepting additional responsibilities, you show your company how valuable you are as an employee. The harder you work, especially if you actively seek out additional work, the more likely you are to earn a bonus.
However, when you volunteer for additional responsibilities, do not ask about additional payment, even if you are only volunteering specifically for the chance of a bonus. If you ask for a bonus right away, it tells your employer you are more interested in your own needs as opposed to the needs of the company.
While you should try to take on additional responsibilities where possible, do not pester your manager to come up with tasks for you. Depending on your profession and company policy, it may take several days or even a few weeks before your manager can provide you new responsibility. Bothering your boss can end up annoying him or her, rather than showing your dedication.
Furthermore, make sure to not blindly accept new responsibilities you cannot take on. You ruin your chances for a bonus if you accept responsibilities you are ultimately unable to complete.
Improve Your Skills
If you want a bonus, you need to show your employers you deserve a reward. You can do this by improving your skills independently. Look for classes or professional development courses relating to your work.
For example, if you work in marketing, you can attend seminars or take classes to improve your presentations. This can further develop your skills and put you in a better position to receive a bonus. Consider enrolling in a course from your local community college that awards you a professional certificate. The more your skills increase, the more valuable you become to the company.
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If you are unsure of how to increase your skills but you have existing skills to share with your employees, speak to your manager about running a training program during your downtime. This shows initiative and helps improve the performance of other workers as well.
Avoid Being Negative
Employees are more likely to receive a bonus if they act positive around the workplace. Even if you are an efficient worker, employers are hesitant about awarding employees who are consistently negative in the office. Being negative at work gives the impression you are unhappy in your job and are more likely to quit. Employers do not want to award employees who are likely to leave the business, since it ends up being a waste of valuable resources.
If you are negative at work, it is difficult to improve your skills or accept additional responsibility. Having a positive attitude helps you stay motivated and improves your overall productivity. A positive attitude helps to raise the morale of other employees. Many managers prioritize rewarding positive employees because it is so important to reward positivity in the office. Positivity often spreads to other employees, leading to an overall increase in productivity.
Ask for a Bonus
It may seem like an obvious option, but it is common to fear asking your manager directly for a reward. Asking for a bonus is intimidating, but it is the most straightforward way to get a bonus. If you plan on asking your manager for a bonus, it is important to carefully time your request.
You do not want to ask for a bonus while you are in the middle of a large project. Moreover, you should avoid asking if the business just finished an expensive purchase, such as opening a new branch or hiring new employees.
One of the best opportunities to ask for a bonus is during a company review. Your manager is more likely to approve your bonus after reviewing everything you have done for the company. If your company does not do annual employee reviews, wait until the end of a project to request your bonus. This is a good tactic if you complete a project where you took a lead or were influential in completing the deadline on time.
In addition to timing your request carefully, employees should choose the right medium to make the request. Many employees who are nervous to ask for a bonus decide to email their manager or discuss the bonus over the phone.
For the best results, employees should speak with the manager face to face. If an employee discusses a bonus over email or phone, it is easier for his or her boss to dismiss the request. Speaking face to face ensures that the manager must listen to the employee. Requesting a face to face meeting gives the employee a better idea about his or her manager’s schedule.
Even if your boss is unable to give you a bonus right away, it is important to make the request. By asking for a bonus, your boss knows you are interested. He or she can pay more attention to your work.
If you are working hard, he or she is more likely to reward you once a bonus becomes available. It is important to keep in mind that you may be initially denied a bonus because it takes weeks for your manager to file the request.
In some cases, your manager is upfront about whether you can expect a bonus in the future. However, some company policies discourage managers from discussing unapproved bonuses.
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