How to Score a 'Stay Bonus' During the Great Resignation

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  • Sign-on bonuses are commonly offered as a means of enticing applicants to accept a position.
  • But in the current job climate, It could pay to pursue a bonus for staying with your current employer. 

At this point, it's not unreasonable to be compensated for staying where you are.

In today's job market, attracting talent can be tough for employers. That's because jobs are abundant, so much so that many companies are having difficulty hiring. 

One method employers commonly use to draw in applicants and get them to accept offers is the sign-on bonus. A company might, for example, offer you $2,000 to accept a job offer. Generally, that $2,000 will be contingent upon you staying on board for a minimum amount of time. But all told, sign-on bonuses are a great thing for job seekers, because you can snag free money just for accepting a role you wanted anyway. 

But as much as the idea of a sign-on bonus might sound good to you, to get one, you'll need to pursue a new job. And if you're happy where you are, that may not be something you want to do.

There may, however, be a less conventional way to snag a bonus for not taking a new job. And in today's market, it's worth going after.

Could you snag a 'stay bonus' from your employer?

In a normal job market, companies generally don't pay employees not to leave. But these days, more and more companies are offering up "stay bonuses" for employees who agree to stay put and not apply elsewhere. 

If you could use more money in your bank account (which, let's face it, we all probably could), then it pays to go after a stay bonus, even if your company isn't offering one automatically. That extra cash could help you pad your savings, sock away funds for a home, or buy you more wiggle room at a time when living costs are soaring.

So how do you snag a stay bonus? Well, you have some options. 

How to pursue a stay bonus

First, you could simply have an open conversation with your employer about how you're losing buying power due to inflation and could use a higher salary, and that you'd rather not have to apply outside the company to get one. Your employer might be more comfortable with giving you a one-time bonus to stay put than with giving you a raise.

Another option is to look for jobs, get an offer, and present it to your manager in as friendly a context as possible. If that job offer is higher than your current salary, you can ask for a raise that matches it and get paid more money over time. Or, you could ask for a stay bonus and, if you receive one, get that money in one lump sum. 

Should you go after a stay bonus?

If you're unhappy with your job, then it might be in your best interest to pursue a new one -- whether it comes with a sign-on bonus opportunity or not. But if you're happy where you are and don't want to leave, but you'd like a boost in pay, then it makes sense to fight for a bonus in exchange for staying put. 

It may be a little unconventional, and the conversation might catch your employer off guard. But if you approach it respectfully, you might walk away with a nice chunk of cash.

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