High-Rise Holidays: Staff Appreciation Bonuses
As we head into the last few months of 2020, we reflect on our associates' performance and show gratitude by way of rewarding their exceptional service.
In an industry where associates are considered "essential" to each resident's comfort and quality of life, this year has been notably challenging.
Every day, FirstService Residential's associates and third-party staff work to make a difference in the lives of their communities. The tenacity behind those familiar faces inspires residents to show gratitude by contributing to a Holiday Bonus Fund.
Holiday bonuses show thankfulness and further instill a sense of value for our associates.
"Holiday bonuses are definitely a morale booster," says Dan Westman, Houston's senior director of high-rise management. "They project to the staff that residents appreciate the work they're doing and reinforce their loyalty to the community when they are rewarded."
Setting money aside for esteemed associates is somewhat of a tradition for high-rise communities. On average, less than 50% of our Texas high-rise residents contribute to the Annual Holiday Fund. For many boards, this presents an opportunity to be proactive and plan a well-deserved year-end recognition. Westman recommends the following:
- Consult with other board members to start a holiday fund if you don’t traditionally sponsor a collection.
- Develop a board-approved communications strategy that includes mass emails (at least every two weeks), front desk signage and newsletters. (Start communicating by October so residents have time to contribute. Thanksgiving is usually peak time!)
- Money collected in the weeks after Thanksgiving may not be distributed before Christmas Day.
- All holiday bonuses are distributed through FirstService Residential's secure ADP payroll processing.
- To receive the holiday bonus in before Christmas, they must be collected and submitted no later than December 15, 2020 for distribution within the December 24, 2020 pay period. For distribution by the December 11, 2020 pay day, funds must be collected and submitted no later than December 1, 2020.
- Any funds received after the initial deadlines will not be available to the associates before Christmas holiday.
When it comes to on-site personnel, contractors assume diverse responsibilities outside their scope of work to maintain residents' comfort and ensure a high level of sanitization. However, generously supporting contractors comes with its own set of guidelines, through the board or vendor, to ensure a smooth giving process.
How can a community start a holiday bonus fund for FirstService Residential staff?
- The board must unanimously vote via email or by a majority vote in-person to establish the solicitation of a Holiday Fund.
- The General Manager will create a communication piece for residents with instructions on the collection process.
- Checks are made out to the association.
- Written consent to add a specified amount to their HOA Account (residents only)
- Cash or gift cards are not accepted towards the Holiday Fund.
- Contribution guidelines can be based on one month's monthly assessment.
- Associate Name
- Length of Service/Start Date at FirstService Residential.
- Estimated hours worked in a calendar year.
- Recommended bonus amount.
- Payroll /Bonus Tax: Board approval needed to "gross-up" and have covered by the association or pass the responsibility to the associate.
- The gifted amount will automatically be charged to the correct payroll line item and noted as a bonus on their bi-weekly payroll detail.
Monetary recognition for vetted daily contractors varies between valets, front desk/concierge services and courtesy patrol/security staff. These contractors work together with FirstService Residential associates to maintain the high-rise experience residents expect.
How can a community start a holiday bonus fund for contracted staff?
• Get unanimous approval from the board via email or by a majority vote in-person.
• Management will collect and submit a W-9 form for each staffer to our vendor services and complete a check request form for each contractor.
Things to Note
• FirstService Residential does 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 will complete a check request for each staffer and submit the request and board approval to its director.
There are handfuls of associations that set aside Holiday Funds in their budget, so contributions remain consistent and fair. This not only removes the annual solicitation process but allows the General Manager to work with the board on distribution in the same way they'd collect funding. Either way is acceptable.
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 that the world slows down just enough for us to show our appreciation for those who make a difference in our lives each day.
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