Posted Tuesday December 3, 2019


It's the Most Rewarding Time of the Year - Or is it?

New study reveals that employees would prefer a bonus over other holiday rewards

For many Canadians, the holiday season is a time to relax, take time off work and visit with friends and family. It's also a time when organizations will celebrate and reward employees for their work throughout the year.

A new study from ADP Canada explored how working Canadians would like to be rewarded over the holiday season. This study revealed a clear disconnect between Canadian employee and employer expectations when it comes to holiday rewards. When employees were asked what they would like their employer to offer over the holidays, 54 per cent said they would like a bonus – but only 15 per cent of employed Canadians say they expect to receive one this year.

The study, conducted by Leger for ADP Canada, also revealed the most common reward provided by employers was a holiday party (40 per cent), followed by holiday gifts (16 per cent) and additional time off (14 per cent). However, nearly a third of Canadians said they'd like their employer to offer more time off, 23 per cent said they would like to receive a gift and only 22 per cent said they'd like their employer to host a holiday party. Eleven percent indicated their preference was no holiday reward at all.

"This study highlights the importance of having open conversations with employees regarding holiday rewards and incentives to manage employee expectations," said Heather Haslam, VP Marketing, ADP Canada. "By taking the time to gain a better understanding of what employees want and how they prefer to be rewarded, employers can help increase employee satisfaction and engagement. In addition, employers could consider offering more flexible reward options over the holidays to better meet the needs of Canadian employees, which could also potentially lead to cost savings for the organization."

Charitable donations and activities ranked at the bottom of both lists, with only seven per cent of Canadian employers planning to participate in a charitable activity for the holidays and only eight per cent of employees reporting being interested in that activity.

Regional results

Atlantic Canada

• Most likely to get a financial bonus (23% vs. a 15% National average)
• Highest percentage of respondents who indicated they would prefer a financial bonus (63% vs. a 54% National average)
• Most likely to say they'd love a little more vacation time (37% vs. a 28% National average)


• Most likely to receive a reward during the holidays (69% vs. a 61% National average)
• Quebec employers were most likely to throw a holiday party (51% vs. a 40% National average) and most likely to close their offices over the holidays (50% vs. a 45% National average)

Manitoba and Saskatchewan

• Most likely to be expected to come into the office (52% vs. a 39% National average)
• Most likely to indicate their employer does nothing for the staff over the holidays (45% vs. a 32% National average)


• Highest percentage of participants were expected to work over the holidays (59% vs. a 51% National average)

British Columbia

• Participants in British Columbia were most likely to get extra vacation time as a reward (21% vs. a 14% National average)
• BC residents were most likely to be expected to check email over the holidays despite their office being closed (17% vs. a 12% National average)

Survey Methodology

An online survey of 1562 Canadians was conducted between November 1 to 4, 2019 using Leger's online panel. The margin of error for this study was +/ 2.5%, 19 times out of 20. Please note that throughout the report, only those who work full-time, part-time or are self-employed/freelance (906 Canadians) are reported. is distributed twice weekly; Tuesday and Thursday

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ISSN 0824-45
Copyright, 2019

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