Three Steps to Prepare Your Firm for Bonus Season Turnover

The outlook for the 2016 bonus season on Wall Street is not looking promising. A new report by Johnson Associates, a compensation consultant firm, predicts another year of disappointing bonuses for the financial services industry. “Incentive pay” as they call it, has been declining since 2014 and will hit everyone from investment bankers to hedge funders. This year, bonuses are anticipated to drop anywhere from five to twenty percent depending on your position.

Every bonus season churns up the talent market, but a bad bonus season in particular can have even more people leaving than you anticipated. So how can you protect your firm against bonus season turnover? Fortunately, there are ways to make sure your team isn’t hung out to dry come January. It all starts with proactive recruiting.

Johnson Associates


The first step is understanding how this year’s bonus will be distributed. Is your firm going to be cutting bonuses across the board? Or are analysts taking the brunt of it? By determining how each person will be affected by the bonus structure, you can create a list of employees at a higher risk of leaving the company. From there, you can establish what they make, the cost to replace them, and the types of talent you should be keeping an eye out for in the next few months.

Next, establish the priority level of filling those high-risk positions. Replacing a director, for example, would be more important than replacing an analyst. Once you have your priority list, it’s time to start proactively recruiting. One of the worst mistakes you can make as a hiring manager or internal recruiter is to hold off on searching for candidates until the position is vacant. Instead, start canvasing the market to see who might be on the move. Anyone updating their resume is most likely looking for a new opportunity so make sure you have a technology in place to alert you when people fitting your search criteria become active.

The final step is to build out your talent pipeline. This may seem labor intensive but due to bonus season turnover, there are more professionals in the talent market. Start scouting and line up at least three to five relevant candidates for the positions you’ve marked as high risk. If you have a Candidate Relationship Management (CRM) system in place, you’re already one step ahead of the game. Skip the vetting stage by searching through candidates who previously applied or made it through several stages of the interview process. If you’re using OneWire as your CRM, you’ll be able to see any notes you took on a candidate, how far they made it through hiring process, as well as their updated resume.

Bonus season turnover provides ample opportunity in spite of people leaving. If you start preparing now, you can minimize the impact of people leaving and use it instead to capture the best talent in the industry. Need help finding qualified talent? Start searching our community now.

This post originally appeared on the OneWire Resources blog. Still struggling to keep track of candidates while recruiting? OneWire's talent management platform can help.

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