The Journal Gazette
Sunday, November 22, 2020 1:00 am

Survey: More firms offering bonuses

LISA GREEN | The Journal Gazette

Christmas cash is coming.

At least for some people.

Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc., a global outplacement and executive coaching firm, said last week that more companies plan to reward employees with bonuses this year than last year.

While they may have a giving spirit, they aren't so sure about expanding staffing next year, the firm said.

Last year, 34.9% of companies reported they never offer a year-end bonus, gift or perk, similar to results since 2017. In 2016, 27% of employers responded they never offer a gift, a news release said. This year, however, just 19% of employers reported they would not offer a bonus. An additional 14% said they provide a bonus at other times during the year.

“The employers who were able to retain their workforces and are, so far, weathering the pandemic recognize the importance of rewarding their teams, despite not being able to predict exactly what will happen next year,” said a statement from Andrew Challenger, senior vice president of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, based in the Chicago area.

Through October, U.S.-based employers have announced 2,162,928 job cuts, according to Challenger. That's the highest number of cuts since the firm began tracking in 1993, last week's release said. Meanwhile, the U.S. economy is still down by 10 million jobs since the pandemic shut down businesses in March and April.

The majority of respondents reported the coronavirus pandemic has negatively impacted business, as 52.3% reported worse business conditions. An additional 17% reported that the pandemic has not affected business, while the same percentage of respondents said business conditions are mixed.

Challenger said it conducted the survey in October among 189 companies of varying sizes and industries.

“Uncertainty is driving most business decisions, especially as state and local government officials advise more stringent measures to control the spread of the virus. No one is quite sure what this will mean for consumer and business spending in the next few months,” Challenger said.

“The good news on both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines is propelling more positive predictions from businesses nationwide, but the questions surrounding deployment and availability still cloud the forecast,” he added.

Over a quarter of businesses report uncertainty is making it difficult to predict hiring needs in 2021; over 31% say hiring will be slow or flat in 2021; 7% predict decreased hiring in '21; and 6% report a skills shortage.

Habit forming

Habits. They're just that. Routine. Regular. Hard to break.

They can be good, creating consistency, predictability and efficiency.

They can be bad, causing people to get stuck, limiting potential and thinking ability.

“The Power of Habit” was the topic of a Vital Smarts webinar this month, led by company executive Scott Robley and based on a New York Times best-selling book by Charles Duhigg.

Habits are those things we do mentally or physically that start as a choice and then become patterns without our thinking about them.

Robley said one person has stated that we first make our habits and then our habits make us.

“That is great news if we have habits that are helping us succeed,” he said.

But what about when life changes: jobs and family? And what about this pandemic that brought on countless changes in 2020 – albeit some that are temporary?

“There's no doubt that our current state has been forced upon us,” Robley said.

As hard as habits are to break, they are also surprisingly delicate – when circumstances change, they can fall apart.

Individuals and organizations should identify the habits that may be holding them back, causing what Robley called a lag. The sooner, the better. “The longer you're in the lag,” he said, “the more you believe change is impossible.”

Part of the key is learning what cues and rewards people respond to. What gets rewarded gets repeated.

If you want positive change, make it doable and make it desirable.

To share a thought, a favorite quote or other wisdom about leadership, email Lisa Green at Lead On also appears online as a blog at

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