surveySurvey results – We asked you during January 2010 whether you got a bonus in December, and then to let us know if it was more or less than expected. Well,  it really is as we expected….51.9% of respondents received….

No bonus at all! A reality check from the current economic situation – but I must add, if your firm did well and you did not receive a bonus, start submitting your CV to other companies.

Next was 18.2% of the respondents who said they got a bonus, but which was lower than they expected. Again it must be said that this is caused by the recession, maybe if you had a better understanding of the firm’s profitability it would be easier to understand and accept.

Then 16.9% said that they received more than they expected – this is a positive sign, although it could be that staff expected the worst last year and normal bonuses were more appreciated. For firms where these respondents originate, well done – it is a case of over delivering on the expectations. These staff members will be your key employees this year.

13% got what they expected, not a very measurable survey question, as these people could have received a 14th cheque, or received nothing, but expected what they got. Also these firms could have communicated the situation really well, in which case people would have expected exactly what they received. So apologies, my bad as the kids say – should have taken this option out of the survey.

Thanks to all of those who responded, if does paint a picture that South African law firms are a little apprehensive about the coming year, as the majority did not pay bonuses or paid less than their staff expected.

The important message to all legal firms is that they should keep their staff up to date with the financial health of the firm and if staff are going to be retrenched, that it is communicated properly and effectively to staff. This allows the staff to focus on the work where they can make a difference and forget about their job security. And bonuses should rather be incentive targets, well communicated and measured often – that way each person feels responsible for their share and can be rewarded or penalised accordingly.

Contributed by:
Malcolm Pearson




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