United Airlines will award its employees a quarterly bonus even through performance goals were not met.
I’ve written extensively about the employee bonus drama at United. Bonuses are now tied to performance results versus other carriers rather than simply meeting a checklist of objective metrics.
Two flight attendants forwarded me a letter from United President Scott Kirby to employees concerning 1st quarter performance. In short, it was bad. But because so many delays and cancellations were beyond United’s control, United will award $100 bonuses to each employee.
Kirby sites several reasons for the poor operational numbers:
- Government shutdown
- Polar vortex (shutdown Chicago ORD for almost three days)
- Poor winter weather in Washington IAD and Newark EWR
- Late-season storm in Denver DEN
- Grounding of 14 737 MAX aircraft
Recognizing the unique circumstances of the quarter, Kirby then announces that a bonus will be awarded.
We didn’t meet our operational performance incentive goals this quarter – and ordinarily, this would result in eligible employees not receiving a bonus payment for Q1. But, we worked through truly unique conditions and I believe your outstanding effort deserves extra – and tangible – recognition. Many of you have heard me say our philosophy is “no excuses, sir,” which comes from my days as a cadet at the U.S. Air Force Academy. And we aren’t making and won’t make excuses – we will always strive to be the best and take care of our customers no matter what. But this quarter truly was unprecedented, and that’s why we will be issuing a one-time $100 employee appreciation payment to all eligible employees…
It would seem odd to penalize employees for matters beyond their control. On the other hand, when does a bonus no longer become a bonus?
I’ve asked flight attendants and gate agents if the $100 really makes a difference. The answer is YES. No, United does not award bonuses like Delta. But $100 is a nice meal out or a trip to the grocery store or dry cleaners. Every little bit helps. Thus, I’m happy that the employees of United will still get a bonus this quarter.