Download a free guide!

Interested in strategies to keep your budget on target in 2020?  Download our Guide: "COVID-19: Keeping Your Budget Healthy

For some high-rise communities, the end of the year is not just a time to celebrate the holidays with loved ones, but an opportunity to pass on the spirit of giving to its staff. 

Come rain or shine, mask or no mask, the FirstService Residential and contracted staff work to make a difference in the lives of the communities they serve — every day. Additionally, the dedication behind the faces of each worker inspires residents to show tokens of appreciation in the form of holiday staff bonuses. 
“Holiday bonuses are definitely a morale booster,” says Dan Westman, senior director of high-rise management. “They project to the staff that residents appreciate the work they’re doing and that they should be rewarded for it.”
Setting money aside for hardworking staff is somewhat of a tradition for high-rise communities. Up to 50 percent of these residences participate in this act of giving, but there’s always room for more communities to show their appreciation. To get started, Westman recommends the following:

  • Consult with the board of directors to start a holiday fund.
  • Develop a board-approved communications strategy, including mass emails (at least every two weeks), front desk signage and newsletters. (Be sure to begin communicating by October so residents have time to collect funds. Thanksgiving is usually peak time.)
  • Any collections taking place after October run the risk of not being distributed in time for the holidays.
Given the events of this year, which are sure to continue into holiday season, many on-site essential personnel and contractors have taken on responsibilities outside of their scope of work not only maintain residents’ comfort but high levels of safety and cleanliness. However, generously supporting personnel comes with guidelines, via the board or vendor, to ensure the process runs smoothly.
Let's start with FirstService Residential staff, like concierge, valet services, doorkeepers and housekeepers. On the surface, their roles are easy to spot: 
  • Greeting residents as they come and go
  • Safely driving cars from the garage to the front entrance
  • Ensuring residents return to a well-manicured home each day. 
Much of what makes the high-rise experience unforgettable is the regard they have for your comfort and safety.

How can a community start a holiday bonus fund for FirstService Residential staff?

  • Residents must obtain approval from their board by a unanimous vote via email or an in-person meeting. 
  • Once approved, boards should email their region's Director of High-Rise with the associate(s) name, the gifted amount and the "exhibit of approval by the board."
  • The gifted amount will be automatically charged to the correct payroll line item and noted as a bonus on your bi-weekly payroll detail. 

Next up are vetted contractors. They vary from landscapers to maintenance professionals who look after the structural integrity of your building each day. Along with FirstService Residential staff, these two groups work together to maintain the high-rise experience residents have come to expect.


How can a community start a holiday bonus fund for contracted staff?

Contactors can vary from landscapers to maintenance professionals who look after the stability of your building each day. Here's how you can show your appreciation for contractors.

  • Get unanimous approval from the board via email or in-person vote.
  • Submit a W-9 form for each employee to [email protected].
  • Complete a check request form for each staffer.

Things to Note

  •  FirstService Residential will not pay taxes on behalf of the contracted staffer. They're responsible for reporting their income and will receive a W-9 form after the end of the year. Reporting using this form is mandatory.
  • ​FirstService Residential management will complete a check request for each staffer and submit the request and board approval to its director.
  • Any bonuses for FirstService Residential associates that need to be paid out BEFORE Christmas Day must be submitted no later than Thursday, December 3 at 3 p.m. All late submissions will be pushed to the following pay period.
  • FirstService Residential facilitates holiday bonuses only when an association’s account is established when the correct taxes and funding are applied.

It goes without saying that this year has had its fair share of unwelcomed adjustments for residents and staff alike. But if there’s one thing we can all appreciate, it’s when the world slows down just enough for us to show our appreciation for those who make a difference in our lives each day.

Monday January 01, 0001