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Employees Prefer Prosocial Bonuses Over Cash

Everyone loves being appreciated at work and nothing says “we love you and hope you stay here forever” more than monetary rewards. According to new information, however, employers are moving toward prosocial bonuses – bonuses that you pass on to either coworkers or charity, rather than keeping for yourself. Do you feel more rewarded and appreciated when you receive the warm and fuzzy feeling of a good deed? Or is this just the next step up from a doughnut bonus?

Donut Bonus

(Photo Credit: LucianVenutian/Wikimedia Commons)

When asked “How would you like to be rewarded for your efforts and performance, in addition to your fixed salary?” employees who replied that they would like cash to spend on themselves really meant they preferred bonuses they can use to spend on their coworkers or designated charities, says Harvard Business Review.

However, there are a few questions one must ask. What if I don’t really like my coworkers that much? And, what if I want to donate to my favorite charity myself?

According to the article, rewarding employees with money to be used as they choose, is actually detrimental to morale and productivity for the following reasons:

1.  Monetary rewards decrease motivation and interest for the job.
Are you less motivated when your boss gives you extra money? Do you lose interest in your job when you are rewarded?

2.  Monetary rewards impair performance.
It is assumed that employees focus too much on extra cash if you reward them with money and thus, they are unable to perform effectively.

3.  Other employees get jealous.
Well, unfortunately everyone can’t win in life. Rewarding successful employees with certificates to charity or options to give other coworkers gifts, is not going to eliminate the jealousy and anxiety of under-performing employees.

In the end, any bonus is better than no bonus. However, it’s difficult to believe that, while we all want to participate in acts of goodwill, most of us would opt for this new type of bonus. Personally, I'd prefer the ability to choose how I spend my bonus.

Tell Us What You Think

Would you prefer a bonus designated for coworker gifts or charitable donations? Or, would you prefer a bonus you can spend however you choose? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter

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