Professionals mixed on prospects for 2019 payouts

- Training and Development Tops Wish List for Other Ways to Receive Incentives Besides Just Cash or Stock -

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 18, 2019 — As professionals head into the new year, there is mixed expectations on the amount they will receive for their hard work and accomplishments in 2019. That according to a new survey of professionals by Korn Ferry (NYSE: KFY).

The majority (88 percent) of respondents say they expect to receive a 2019 bonus. Forty percent said it will be larger than their 2018 bonus, 39 percent say it will be the same size as their 2018 bonus and 21 percent said it will be smaller than last year.

Nearly half (49 percent) say their bonus is tied directly to their individual performance, and 81 percent say their bonus is tied to the performance of their teams and the organization overall.

“To avoid adding to fixed costs with large annual salary increases, companies are regularly relying instead on bonuses to reward employees for superior performance,” said Don Lowman, Korn Ferry’s Global Leader, Rewards and Benefits Practice. “CEOs are quite willing to pay for solid results, but only if those results are attained.”

While the vast majority (85 percent) of respondents say they understand how bonuses are allocated in their organization, only a slight majority (59 percent) agree that the bonus allocation process is fair.

“Our research shows that increasingly, employees are talking with their colleagues about how much they make, including the size of their bonus,” said Lowman. “That’s why bonuses need to be structured in a fair and transparent way that focuses on objective performance metrics supported by a management process that is understood and accepted.”

While 97 percent of respondents say they receive their bonuses via cash, there are other forms of differentiated rewards that employees would like to receive. The largest percentage of respondents (30 percent) say training and development opportunities top their list, and 27 percent cited a paid vacation.

“While bonuses are a critical part of total compensation packages, leaders must also look at all of the ways employees are rewarded, including development and advancement opportunities, meaningful work, an energizing work climate, health and wellness benefits, a competitive base salary and paid-time off,” said Lowman.

About the survey

The Korn Ferry survey of professionals took place in December 2019 and garnered 1,028 responses.

Survey Responses:

Are you in a job that is eligible to receive a bonus for the work you completed in 2019?

Yes 92 percent
No 8 percent

Do you expect to get a bonus for work you accomplished in 2019?

Yes 88 percent
No 12 percent

Did you get a bonus for work you accomplished in 2018?

Yes 84 percent
No 16 percent

If you are getting a bonus this year will it be:

Larger than last year 40 percent
The same as last year 39 percent
Smaller than last year 21 percent

Is your bonus tied directly to your individual performance?

Yes 49 percent
No 51 percent

Is your bonus tied to the performance of your teams and/or organization?

Yes 81 percent
No 19 percent

Identify the way your bonus is allocated to you

Cash 97 percent
401(k) or other employer-provided defined contribution 0 percent
Stock 3 percent

Besides cash or stock bonus payments or a 401(k), what’s the top way you’d like to receive incentives?

Flex time 14 percent
More time off 14percent
International assignments 7 percent
Sabbatical 12 percent
A paid-for vacation 27 percent
Training and development opportunities 30 percent

Do you understand how bonuses are determined in your organization?

Yes 85 percent
No 15 percent

Do you think the bonus allocation process is fair in your organization?

Yes 59 percent
No 41 percent

About Korn Ferry

Korn Ferry is a global organizational consulting firm. We work with clients to design their organizational structures, roles and responsibilities. We help them hire the right people and advise them on how to reward, develop and motivate their workforce. And, we help professionals navigate and advance their careers.

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