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#165769 07/05/07 08:56 AM
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 348
ITO Offline OP
At this point I am very seriously considering never giving another bonus again.

Every time I give out a bonus something bad happens; somebody quits, gets their feelings hurt, asks for more then gets mad when you say no, or they just cop and attitude and work about half as much as they did before the bonus. Then it becomes some kind of entitlement and some guys start demanding a bonus, or bickering about who got what, or why they deserve more.

Seriously, I get more mileage out of company sponsored fishing trips, summer BBQs, company hats, jackets, novelty stuff than when I give out a cash bonus.

I have had it, it looks like its time to turn that tap off, but the problem is once you start, how do you stop?

Anyone else have a similar experience?

Last edited by ITO; 07/05/07 08:56 AM. Reason: typos (there is probably more too)

101° Rx = + /_\
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ITO #165776 07/05/07 10:10 AM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,454
Likes: 3
Cat Servant
From the receiving end:

Bonuses, and other perks, often lack the most important element: prompt, accurate feedback as to the reason.

Employees are typically well insulated from the customer; they are deliberately kept in the dark as to the 'big picture,' and have no way of telling if the job went well.
This is sad, as most folks really want to perform well. Imagine - no sports game would be entertaining, if the players were kept in dark as to the score!

Apply this to bonuses. Imagine if we went through the entire summer, without any baseball scores ... and were then told in October who had won the World Series! Sound silly? Yet, this is exactly what happens when a large company gives out an annual bonus.

One firm I know awards bonuses promptly, when a job goes well, to those involved.

Another firm has split itself into competing teams, and distributes bonuses according to team performance.

Bonuses, and praise, are crucial as 'positive' feedback. It's not enough to tell me when things go bad; I need to hear what I'm doing right as well.

Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 348
ITO Offline OP
From the giving end:

It’s not that black and white. My experience has been that when I communicate how well a job is going that shortly thereafter a number of the people on that job ask for a raise, a company truck and in some cases production just slows down. However when a job is in the hole and you communicate the job is not doing well, then there seems to be guys that want off of that job and onto another that is doing better because they know there is little chance of getting a bonus on a losing job. Once your labor starts cherry picking their work its over. Overall the less I say about my business to the people the work for me the better things seem to work out.

101° Rx = + /_\
ITO #165789 07/05/07 03:07 PM
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 745
That's a really tough question to which there is NO easy answer. I've resolved myself to awarding bonuses on an annual basis about two weeks before Christmas. Awarding bonuses on a "per-job" basis is always difficult because there is so much that goes on behind-the-scenes that a project manager might cover. Other employees might be fully aware of how "Employee 138" missed three days of work, yet the project was completed on-time.

By offering an across-the-board bonus, it might might not be very popular, but it tells all employees that regardless of the project(s) that they complete successfully, ALL of them must be done this way in order for there to be any extra money to share.

I know that the good employees probably lose out with this strategy, but at least it encourages the rest to put forth the effort. It also helps us weed out those who are not true team players. It's not about the project; it's about the company as a whole.


"But the guy at Home Depot said it would work."
EV607797 #165806 07/05/07 10:51 PM
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 141
The company I work for is a fairly large (for the area) EC,nobody asks for a raise when they get praised for a good job because well, we'll never get praised for doing a good job, that's besides the point though.

Nobody asks for a raise because we all know raises come once a year, it's a cost of living raise and it's across the board. We all make the same amount of money after a 90 day probation period so theres no complaining about who makes what.

Ive been at this company right around two years, this year was the first time they gave a bonus in the last three or four years, we all got $600 minus taxes. Nobody expected it and nobody knew about it until we opened our checks, LOL one guy thought he was fired and it was his last weeks check.

They do give out $100 on your first year anniversary and I believe up to $500 for 5 years and above. They also give out a $50 gift card around Christmas.

I'm in a service department so we don't have a foreman or job sup on our jobs, obviously they would have to be paid more. On the new construction side of the company there is two payscales, journeymen and foremen. Apprentices get yearly raises as they go through school.

ITO #165811 07/06/07 12:02 AM
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 272
A pat on the back is nice every now and then, but honestly for me... Back when I worked in construction, it was incentive enough just to stay busy with the company that I was with.

I was part of a very sucessful EC company before I was hired by TVA. We were always busy, and that alone was all the incentive I needed to remain a happy employee. cool

Luke Clarke
Electrical Planner for TVA.

Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 138
Nice Luketrician, but if you were a happy employee, why did you look for - and take - another job?

I worked on two nukes and couldn't be dragged to one to work maintenance. The paper work to get anything done must consume half the day. On the flip side, it's probably a very steady job with great benefits. It also is the only viable solution for the future electrical needs of this country.

A close thread may be on why employees (electricians) look for a different job doing probably very similar work for very similar pay? Is it personnality issues, pay, opportunities to grow?

PE&Master #166379 07/19/07 11:58 AM
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 613
My last boss put it simpley. You guys don't dig money out of your pockets when the job goes bad so why should you get a bonus when it goes well. If enough jobs go bad then you will be looking for a job in a company with a better estimator. If enough jobs go well then the company will be here to provide employment.

mikesh #166482 07/22/07 01:43 AM
Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 34
I pay a bonus based on the job. I pay them half of what they save and keep them posted with a progress report updated weekly and posted on the board. If they shave 15 hours off a job that I have figured at $30/hr, I pay half of that to them minus the labor burden.

The way I do it is through a spread sheet. Each guy on the job is on the sheet and his weekly hours is entered every week. At the end of the job I take the total hours worked and divide it into the money they saved (minus my half). This gives me a $/hr bonus amount. If Joe has 10 hrs and Sam has 30 hours that's how many bonus hours they get.

It works great on small jobs as they have saved over 50% on some, but those running several weeks I've found tend closer to the estimated time.

The smaller jobs that last no more than two weeks we routinely knock them out with 70-85% of estimated time.

One thing I find it that many contractors for whatever reasons don't spend any time educating their employees as to the code. This causes rework which you don't budget in the job. If you do you likely won't get many jobs or will have to lower your hourly rate such that you don't make any money.

My wife works for a large construction company that isn't doing very well and says "we don't have the money to pay the bonuses" They don't because the guys are getting paid by the hour only. You go on their job and see them taking smoke breaks frequently which last for 20 minutes to an hour sometimes. Three or four guys! That's why they don't make any money but many people can't see that. It is beyond me...

One thing I do to make this work is explain the importance of having necessary tools and that if someone isn't pulling their load they need to say something to them. We're not in kindergarden and elementary school. Peoples livelyhood depends on us doing well and if they continue to freeload they need to share that info with the office. If someone is goofing off it is taking money from their pockets. I stress that to them and it seems to motivate them to handle it.

Last edited by teester; 07/22/07 01:52 AM.
teester #166789 07/28/07 03:24 PM
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 348
ITO Offline OP
How do you handle the jobs that go in the crapper?

How do you handle a job that lasts for years?

How do you handle labor that finds out the job is in the hole?

How do you handle labor that is fired or quits halfway through the job?

Last edited by ITO; 07/28/07 03:30 PM.

101° Rx = + /_\
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