The Elephant and the Holiday Bonus

The newest Elephant Tale.

The Elephant had an awesome Thanksgiving weekend with his family, and was in great holiday spirit. Near the end of his executive meeting he announced, “I want to take 10 minutes for one more thing. A companywide holiday bonus!”

The executives murmured in excitement and surprise. The Elephant had never given out holiday bonuses before.

“We’ve really done well this year,” he continued. “Ahead of all our production and financial targets, not the mention the record December in sales we expect to close the year.”

“I want to give every employee a bunch of bananas!” he announced.

The room got quiet.

“What’s the matter?” the Elephant asked.

“Well that’s very generous, Boss…” started one executive, “but not everyone likes bananas.”

“And I think a couple of the gazelles in Accounting might even be allergic to them”, said another.

The HR executive jumped in, “It might even be against their religion to eat them.”

“Oh,” said the Elephant. “I never thought of that. Well it has been a very good year. Forget the bananas. Let’s give them each a check for $500!”

“Great idea!” “Very generous!” “Wonderful idea!” remarked the room.

Then one voice hesitatingly spoke. “$500 for each person? Regardless of their position or compensation?”

“Yes! What’s wrong with that!” exclaimed the Elephant.

“It’s just a matter of proportion,” the executive continued. “For some in our company it is almost a week’s pay, for others a day, and still other’s not even that.”

“And what about taxes” chimed in another. “The withholding on a bonus is at the maximum rate so the check will net far less than $500.”

“It is generous, but not equally beneficial.”

“Hmmmm,” the Elephant thought. “Ok. Then let’s give everyone a week’s pay! Its is a stretch, but we can do it.”

“We can,” said the CFO. “But we will be tight on cash. Many of the December deals will want us to begin work January 2nd and their payments are deferred until later in the year. If we are not careful we may fall out of out covenant with the bank that holds our credit line if we do that.”

Starting to get a little frustrated, the Elephant said, “The holidays are really for children. How about basing it upon the number of children in each employee’s family? Then they can get their children something special!”

“The problem with that is about half of our employees are single” said the HR executive.

“And some of them have blended families” said another. Do we count their spouse’s children?”

“Ok, ok”, muttered the Elephant. “You guys figure something out!”

And the executives jumped in with gusto.

“How about factoring each year of employment?”

“Performance scores! Why measure them if we don’t use them?

“How about contribution to the business? Sales! Billable hours!”

Several hours later the Elephant locked up the building on his way out. They had finally come to a fair conclusion. He knew it was fair because no one was completely happy with it.

The Elephant smiled, shook his head and muttered, “Ho, ho, ho.”

Happy Holidays to All!

The author of “Elephant Tales (mostly trues stories about entrepreneurs)”


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