How To Ask For A Christmas Bonus

How to earn and ask for a bonus

With the end of the year rapidly approaching, people’s minds and thoughts turn to Christmas trees, presents, spending time with family and the holidays. This is also the time when many start to wonder about the all-important Christmas bonus. The questions start to form. Will I get a bonus? How do I even ask for one? For most of us, asking for money isn’t fun and can be almost dreaded. Convincing your employers that you are worth more money is a daunting and challenging task, that most of us put off for as long as possible.

What is a Christmas bonus?

A Christmas bonus is the icing on the cake for a year of hard work and professional development. It may be more accurate to call it an end-of-year bonus, but given that the end of December is characterised so strongly by the holidays, most refer to it as a Christmas bonus.

Different companies have different approaches to Christmas bonuses. Your company may have an annual salary review, reward those who’ve achieved KPIs, give bonuses to all employees or require you to bring up the topic in a performance review or separate meeting.

How do I ask for a Christmas bonus?

If you’re in a situation where Christmas bonuses depend on you to ask for them, there are three must-have elements to make it easier:

  • The right things to say and show
  • The evidence to back it up
  • That nothing you’ve done will prevent your boss from saying yes

Luckily, a few tips and tricks can help you earn and ask for that sought-after Christmas bonus.

1. What do I say or do in a Christmas bonus conversation with my boss?

Employers are typically impressed if you demonstrate commitment to your industry, company and professional development.

Using your initiative to upskill in your career is a great selling point when it comes time to ask for a bonus. Your employer will value that you have taken it upon yourself to seek further education and advance your skills in your own time. You may show this commitment by continuing your job during the day and improving your skills at night. This level of dedication to your company and career will put you ahead when asking your boss for a bonus. Online learning can be a great resource for this type of study. It can give you the flexibility to work fast or slow, take breaks where needed, and still come away with knowledge and skills that will contribute.

It’s also worth pointing to other skills and experiences that make you stand out. Are you a team player, cheerleader or mentor? Do you make processes run more smoothly and efficiently? Have you taken on additional responsibilities outside the scope of your job description that you should be recognised and rewarded for? Are you performing your duties to a higher level due to increases in training, exposure or something else?

Write down anything that fits this description and formulate your case for receiving a bonus. Think of it similarly to selling your skill set to a hiring team or potential new employer. Preparation is key.

How To Talk To Your Boss About Career Growth

2. How do I prove my performance when asking for a Christmas bonus?

If you hope to convince your employer you deserve a bonus, a great way is to initiate an end-of-year performance review. Even if you’ve had one earlier in the year, asking for another review will show your boss you are a go-getter worth backing. Here are some positive ways of approaching common review questions, so you can prepare evidence and answers that will impress your boss.

What are you most proud of achieving?

Your manager should know about your efforts if you’ve worked hard to get where you are. Accomplishments like organisation, intuition, achieving deadlines, teamwork, and positive customer feedback are all worthy of mention. You can also use this time to showcase things your manager might not have seen. Was there a time you used your leadership skills successfully? Did you play a key role in the success of a project?

You can use the same STAR method used in interviews:

  • Situation – Explain the situation and context of your accomplishment.
  • Task – Talk about the task or challenge that you took on.
  • Actions – Describe the actions you took to achieve or overcome the task.
  • Result – Explain the results and outcomes of your actions. The more data and hard proof you can include here, the better.

Being humble is admirable, but in this situation, it’s okay to be upfront about your achievements. In fact, it’s encouraged. Be proud of your efforts and back yourself.

What improvements can you make?

If you know of an area of weakness in the business, team or process and you have a method to resolve it, pitch it to your boss.

It’s important to tread carefully around this question. You don’t want to put your foot in your mouth and say something you regret, but honesty is also important. If you are aware of an area for improvement, your manager probably knows about it too. Be honest about the situation and the actions you can take to resolve it. To reiterate, this pitch works best when you state your desire to improve the process and/or offer a solution. You won’t get brownie points (or a Christmas bonus) for pointing out faults on their own.

Do you have what you need to do your job well?

Highlight how you’ve sought further education and study in your field. Your manager wants to know what tools and resources you’ve put in place to help you succeed at your job. Now is the time to advocate for your initiative in seeking to understand your industry and succeed in your role.

Again, evidence is king here. If you have demonstrable ways that training has improved you as a worker or asset to the company, prove it. Your boss may argue with you over conjecture or opinions, but it’s much harder to refute hard numbers and data points.

How to Get Promoted in a Large Company

What are you worth?

Before your meeting, research the average salary range for someone in your position. It’s important to note here that this may not be someone with the same role title, but the same expertise, skills, responsibilities, and experience in the field. If you can prove that there is a discrepancy between the industry standard and your current earnings – especially if you could get that salary from a competitor – it’s an extra arrow in your arsenal.

Go for it and ask

You’ve cited your strengths, acknowledged your weaknesses and advocated for your improvement initiative. Now all that’s left to do is ask.

The hardest part is often finding the courage to form the question. Don’t be afraid to challenge that inner voice of anxiety – the worst thing that can happen by asking is that they say no. If that happens, you can leave the door open by asking to be considered for a raise next year.

3. How to receive a Christmas bonus

Asking for a Christmas bonus can be a brave step to take. However, there are things you can do to put your best foot forward and nail those conversations.

  • Correct any mistakes as soon as you become aware of them. Note the error, what you did to solve it and the result. Mistakes happen, but the important part is in the learning.
  • Take the initiative during the year to work hard and advance your skills. Take note of the things you do well and the areas you can improve to develop confidence in yourself and your skills.

Ultimately the key to asking for a bonus and getting the “yes” is preparation. As the saying goes – “those who fail to plan, plan to fail”. Your confidence and organisation will shine through and be so obvious that your boss will have no choice but to give you that Christmas bonus you deserve.

Download my Career Action Plan