A recent survey conducted by recruiting firm Accounting Principals found that while holiday bonuses are increasing in value by 66% this year, bonuses overall are becoming more scarce.

This year, 63% of U.S. HR or hiring managers indicated that their company plans to give its employees a monetary holiday bonus, down from 75% in 2016.

Those who get a bonus, however, are seeing the average anticipated holiday bonus rise to $1,797, compared to $1,081 in 2016 and $858 in 2015.

The Accounting Principals Holiday Bonus and Hiring Survey polled more than 500 U.S. HR and hiring managers and explored company holiday rewards and hiring trends.

Alternatives to Traditional Holiday Bonuses

Although over one-third of respondents noted their organizations were not planning to give out bonuses this year, many of these companies are still giving payouts to their employees in other forms.

The biggest reason identified is that their company intends to provide other employee perks throughout the year (39%).

For the first time, the second most popular reason was that companies are giving charitable donations in lieu of a bonus, with over one third (38%) of respondents noting their company plans to give donations on behalf of employees, compared to just 7% in 2016.

"Salaries are steadily increasing, but this year there is a steep decline in those planning to give out holiday bonuses," says David Alexander, president, Accounting Principals.

"Employers are favoring non-monetary alternatives to reward their employees, or plan to give out bonuses at other times of year.

“There has also been a notable increase in organizations providing charitable donations in lieu of bonuses, as some organizations aim to align their goals and values closer to their employees."

Recruiting and Hiring 2017

The survey also examined how HR and hiring managers are approaching recruiting this holiday season.

Over half (59%) of respondents noted their typical hiring process lasts more than one month, compared to 46% in 2016.

On average, 2017 is seeing an uptick in the overall length of the hiring process, now taking eight weeks, a full two weeks longer than in 2016.

While holiday bonuses and incentives are an effective way to retain top talent, companies who take too long to choose the right candidate lose out on the potential for recruiting the best talent.

To be successful long-term, HR and hiring managers must make the hiring process more efficient, while also offering year-end incentives like bonuses and extra paid time off during the holidays to keep these talented employees loyal.