Sharing your bonus

I have encountered some managers who give their direct reports a share of their bonus, like I knew a guy who once took no bonus because his group was kind of strapped for cash and he did it to retain the rest of his team.

How common is this, and if this kind of thing is expected, at what level of seniority would you need to do it? First rung of management, or higher?

I don’t believe I ever had a situation where my boss got a bonus and I wasn’t entitled to one

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If asked I’d go for the chairs over the copier

what alternate universe is this?

If I had to give up my own bonus to keep my team from leaving, you betcha I’m the first to leave the company before my team


His unit had a bad year so he did what he could with the bonii.

unless he is the cause for the bad year, that is not a logical rationale

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RN. Quick what is 15% of $4,300?

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There are some fields where it’s normal for a manager to just be given a pot of money, and it’s up to the manager to decide how much to keep as their own bonus and how much to distribute to staff, and how.

Insurance is not such a field, however. And at my company, there isn’t even a mechanism for a manager to give some of their bonus to their staff, other than as a (potentially taxable) personal gift, which would be weird on many levels.

He was the leader and responsible for bringing in sales so I guess you can say he was responsible.

It’s like that in consulting. I guess you’re not “given” the pot though, the pot is there as a result of the profit that year and the partners distribute it.

I have not seen this.

A prior employer did have one year where all the officers received 0% raise so that remaining staff got normal raises. Officers did get a nice bonus that year though.

I’ve heard of CEOs taking a salary cut, but that is probably because they know the real money lies in their bonus. I would never expect my manager to take a hit to his own pay on my account, nor has it ever happened.

Well, yes, the partners distribute it to the top-level managers, who then distribute it further. But I wouldn’t describe that as “giving your direct reports a share of your bonus”, I’d describe that has “having to decide how much of the bonus money assigned to your team you keep, and how much you share.” There’s no expectation that it’s “yours”, it’s assigned to your team, and you then have to assign it further.

Depends on the size of the firm. I was at a mid size (20-30) consulting shop and the partners all got together and assigned everyone’s bonus during one meeting, including their own. It was not uncommon during a down year for the partners to lower their bonuses to throw a few thousand towards every low level employee so that they could have a bonus even if the billable hours didn’t warrant it.

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Same. I’ve never heard of doing this, and I would think there would be ethical questions as to a manager giving his/her direct reports a significant chunk of money.

I’ve given direct reports $25 or $50 gift cards in December before, but that’s about it.

ETA: On further reflection, I think what I usually did was $25 gift cards plus we went out to lunch the last day everyone was in the office before people started taking vacations. So I ended up spending close to $50 per person, but that’s not how they received it.

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Everyone who owns a small business does this. They decide what wages will be, and what bonuses will be, and any remaining profit is theirs to keep. It depends on how it is structured, of course, but I don’t think it’s necessarily an ethics issue.

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I have heard of this happen at consulting firms.
Pretty much the bonus is paid to department heads, and they spread it down as they seem appropriate.


Hopefully they are generous and altruistic LOL.