Bonus Watch ’16: Underachievers

Good news for the lion's share of you who are unexceptional: you're getting paid!

Good news for the lion's share of you who are unexceptional: you're getting paid!

Over a quarter of the 120 employers surveyed by the human relations consulting firm Willis Towers Watson said they give performance-based bonuses to employees who "fail to meet expectations." The survey also uncovered rampant grade inflation for performance reviews. Most managers rate underperforming workers as either meeting or exceeding expectations, said Laura Sejen, a managing director at Willis Towers Watson. That means a lot of undeserving workers are getting merit-based bonuses, which kind of defeats the purpose of rewarding people with money for a year of good work.

For many salaried employees, bonuses have turned into an expected addition to your income rather than a reward for performance. "There is this whole sort of entitlement mentality that's built up around merit increase," said Sejen.

You could blame the entitlement mentality on The Lake Wobegon effect although here's another theory:

Many employers use the annual payout as a way to increase wages without giving people salary increases. Companies would rather dole out one-time, cash lump sums than add to fixed expenses because it gives organizations more flexibility.

Adjust your frustration accordingly.

[Bloomberg]
 

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