After two years of businesses cutting back on the traditional end-of-year bonuses, a majority of companies report they are back to putting a little something in at least key employees’ stockings. 

A new survey from staffing firm Robert Half finds that 57% of American companies plan to award year-end bonuses this year. More than half of Dallas-Fort Worth companies (54%) surveyed by employment agency Robert Half  said they plan to award year-end bonuses, with managers in marketing and creative departments feeling the most generous this season (62%).

Allen Wallach, CEO of PAVLOV Advertising, said he is not surprised marketing and creative departments received generous bonuses. 

“When it comes to creatives, champagne and cotton candy will only get you so far,” he said. “We work in a constant pressure cooker of details, deadlines and client demands, so a holiday bonus is just a small part of saying thanks to our team. It’s a tangible way of validating the hard work that they do.”

Houston, Atlanta and Phoenix ranked highest cities where employers plan to award year-end bonuses.

Randy Dewey, a CEO adviser with CEO Coaching International in Ontario, said he is not surprised companies are giving bonuses to valued employees. 

The constant fight for talent continues to plague businesses at the moment,” he said. “It’s different in each market across the U.S., but there’s no doubt a significant amount of war over talent.” 

Companies are doing everything they can to keep employees with the company and that means they will try to buy their loyalty as much as possible, he said. 

“And that often means bonuses,” he said. 

Dewey, who works with several companies in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, said concerns about a recession are hampering some companies’ plans for bonuses. 

“If a company feels like they can afford it, they’ll be offering bonuses to their talent, but if they can’t it could affect their long-term prospects,”  he said.  

Bonuses may conflict with a company’s efforts to tighten budgets in an uncertain economy, Dewey said. 

“Some companies may be able to offer some bonuses within the constraints of what they can afford,” he said. “That could make a difference on who can hang onto talent.” 

Having a healthy workplace environment may make a difference for some companies, Dewey said. 

“If companies can’t afford bonuses, they might need to look at being more flexible with working from home,” he said. “You’ve got to find a way to be attractive to these key workers.” 

Steve Farco, president of Mason-Dallas Inc., a vibration and noise control company based in Euless, said keeping key talent is important. But, he said, it goes beyond offering bonuses. 

“You’ve got to have a good working environment and be a place where people want to come to work,” he said. “We’ve been in business nearly 45 years and worked hard to provide that.”

Farco wouldn’t disclose if the company was paying bonuses, but did say the company has had a couple of “very good years.” 

Robert Half workplace expert Thomas Vick said with budgets tightening, some companies may not be able to offer bonuses in the coming months. 

In those instances, workers said the most effective ways employers can show their appreciation is by providing extra paid time off, a verbal or written thank-you note, and having a small team celebration during work hours, he said.

Whatever a company does, they need to find some way to let key staff members know they are appreciated, said CEO Coaching’s Dewey. 

“Don’t do nothing,” he said. “That sends the wrong message.” 

Bob Francis is business editor for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at bob.francis@fortworthreport.org. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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Bob Francis

Bob Francis is business editor for fortworthreport.org. He has been covering business news locally and nationally for many years. He can be reached at bob.francis@fortworthreport.org