The bonus-round question


Are bonuses a right or a privilege?

Q. Are bonuses a right or a privilege? Should we expect them this year?

Dr. Thom Haig

This whole line of questioning is debated every year, especially in December, says Dr. Thom Haig, a veterinary management consultant with Profit Profile Corporation in Knoxville, Tenn. "If a clinic gives a bonus every year that's tied to a holiday, it becomes a reasonable expectation," Dr. Haig says. "On the other hand, if bonuses are tied to the financial well-being of the practice, this is really profit sharing. And profit sharing can only occur if there's a profit." However, neither of these scenarios describe bonuses in Haig's opinion. "A real bonus isn't expected but is a surprise for a team member who exceeds job expectations," he says. Bonuses shouldn't be tied to the calendar or confused as an incentive to make the practice more profitable. "Realistic expectations need to be communicated in these times," Dr. Haig says. Only when you deserve one, and the practice can afford to give you one, should you be hopeful for a bonus.

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