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What are the conventional standards of etiquette toward one's boss after receiving a (regular) Christmas bonus?

  • Is it appropriate to send a "thank you" email?
  • If appropriate is it necessary?

It is a small company in which everyone is on very friendly speaking terms (employer and employees).

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Did everybody receive this bonus? (You said "regular" but I don't know if you mean "periodic" or "broadly applicable".) And how was it presented to you -- in person, you got email, it mysteriously showed up in your paycheck? – Monica Cellio Dec 18 '13 at 20:35
@MonicaCellio I meant "periodic" in that it is not related to a particular action but comes as a function of time. And the mode of presentation was mostly "mysterious paycheck appearance". – WAF Dec 18 '13 at 20:54
Did the boss give you the bonus directly? If so, it never hurts to say 'thanks'. – DA. Dec 19 '13 at 1:44
up vote 27 down vote accepted

I have never encountered a situation where a sincere "thank you" was inappropriate. If you're feeling thankful, I'd always recommend saying so.

It's almost certainly not necessary in the sense that your boss certainly isn't making a list of the "naughty" employees that didn't say thanks and the "nice" employees that did. You almost certainly won't suffer for failing to send a "thank you" email. On the other hand, social niceties like this almost certainly contribute to the friendly culture that you enjoy.

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What are the conventional standards of etiquette toward one's boss after receiving a (regular) Christmas bonus?

In my company, any bonus is administered corporate wide and has no individual component to it - basically it's an explicit formula.

As a result I feel no obligation to thank my boss, because my boss doesn't affect my bonus at all.

However in the more normal situation where bonuses are tied to performance or your boss distributes them, it is absolutely appropriate to thank your boss.

If appropriate is it necessary?

It's not necessary by any means. But people enjoy their actions being appreciated. Imagine if you bought someone lunch, you'd definitely prefer if they thank you, but generally won't hold things against someone for not doing so.

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