Bonuses Are Getting Bigger This Year. Here’s How to Snag One

Gift box with cash in it

If you've come to rely on an annual work bonus to put a little extra cash in your hands, you may be in luck. According to staffing firm Accounting Principals, 63% of U.S. companies are planning to give out bonuses this year. But that's not the only piece of good news. The average 2017 bonus is expected to hit $1,797, up from $1,081 from the year prior. That's a roughly 66% increase, in case you were wondering.

Why the change? Though part of it has to do with companies meeting or exceeding projections, in many cases, getting a good bonus often boils down to personal performance on the job. Regardless of what your bonus looks like for the current year, here are a few tips for increasing that number in the future.

1. Have a positive attitude

Slapping a smile on your face may not seem like the sort of thing that determines whether you get a bonus, but in reality, the right attitude at work can carry a lot of weight. If you approach your tasks from a positive perspective and make yourself a pleasant person to work with, your boss is apt to show his appreciation -- with cash.

2. Volunteer

A bonus represents excess cash on top of your salary, so it stands to reason that to snag one, you'll need to go above and beyond the typical call of duty. Depending on the nature of your work, this might mean volunteering to head up new projects, or jumping in to assist when other folks clearly need the help.

Putting yourself out there is a good way to show others that you're a team player who doesn't shy away from making an extra effort. If you do it enough, you're apt to be rewarded.

3. Add measurable value to your company

It's not always possible to quantify the things you do on the job. But if you do have an opportunity to establish some data points around your success, go for it. If you implement a strategy that increases sales by 10%, collect that data and make sure your boss sees it. This way, he or she will have an easier time justifying their decision to award you some extra cash.

4. Know what makes your boss tick

Let's face it: The decision as to whether or not you'll get a bonus will most likely fall on your boss alone. Get on their good side, and you'll increase your chances of snagging a neat little payout. Rather than just focus on your core responsibilities, take the time to get to know your boss and learn about the things they value the most. You might even come out and ask them how you can make their life easier in the coming year, or add the most value to the team. Either way, they're bound to appreciate your effort.

Whether you're happy with your bonus this year or not, it never hurts to strive to do better in the coming year. Remember, just because you've managed to score some extra cash this December doesn't mean you're guaranteed a repeat in 2018. If you grow too complacent at work, you'll risk losing out on that money in the future.

Keep doing the good job you've been doing while aiming to up your game. If you do, you could wind up even happier -- and richer -- come this time next year.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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