Christmas Bonus

I read (The Telegraph, 23 November, 2010) with a smile about Tesco’s Christmas bonus to its staff this year:

‘There’s a booklet of “exclusive money-off vouchers”, worth £120. But only if you spend them at Tesco. So, you can get £35 off a Sony Home Theatre System – but it will still cost you £114.97. There’s £1 off your Christmas wrapping too – but only when you spend a fiver.

Also included is the £20 of extra vouchers – all yours as long as you do a £100 shop (though, admittedly the 10pc staff discount lowers your total outlay to £70).

In short, it’s a seasonal way to boost Tesco’s sales. Just imagine, if all staff use their £20 voucher that would add £28m to sales.’


It got me thinking a little about the best and worst bonuses received.

A quick straw poll of the team here at Derigo Towers revealed some shockers.

Colin used to work at an engineering company and got a bottle of ‘own brand’ orange liqueur, with the price still on it… £6.99.  Apparently it gave him the biggest hangover of his life.

His colleague’s Christmas bonus was even better… ‘You’ve still got a job!’

Richard, on the other hand almost qualifies for the best and worst prizes.  When he started at Midland Bank his first Christmas bonus was £11.  Admittedly, in those days £11 paid for a slap up meal, 2 bottles of champagne, 8 pints of lager, the taxi home and a kebab with enough change to do it again the next night.

Whilst at Virgin, though, one year he received a copy of Richard Branson’s book (signed), a bottle of aftershave and a mobile ‘phone.

Me, I don’t have any great memories of Christmas bonuses when I was in corporate world… it was always cash and I can’t remember how much I got… says it all really, doesn’t it?

So, what to do?

The end of the year is a good time to thank staff for their efforts and to set them up with goodwill for the new-year.  Cash doesn’t necessarily do it for people, unless the number is big, which is difficult in these tricky times.

Personally, I think this is a huge advantage for EB.  Many of our businesses are small with fewer employees, which means we can be personal in the rewards we give… which means so much more the staff than the number of noughts after the amount.

A well chosen book, the ‘phone and even the aftershave, worked wonders for Richard and you’ll never hear him say a bad word about Virgin.


I don’t think so.

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