Holiday Tipping

December 2017

Each year around this time condo management and concierge staff may receive a holiday gift, bonus or some other thank you for doing their job or helping to make our lives a little easier.

Thanking someone for work done well is to be expected and part of good manners.  A superintendent or condominium manager who goes above and beyond what is expected of them should be recognized and a holiday gift or bonus is one way to do this.

December is a time when it is customary to show appreciation for work that has been helpful or appreciated.  An automatic thank you gift or bonus by a condo board to employees is not appreciation for good work and could get condo boards into trouble with residents.

Condo residents can and do purchase gift cards or other items, or bake something for those they feel are deserving of gratitude.

In Canada the word “TIPS” is an acronym for “To Insure Prompt Service” and is customarily provided to those in certain professions including restaurant wait staff, cab drivers, bartenders and newspaper delivery people.

In condo buildings this list may expand to include management office staff, superintendent, concierge and other building employees.  A gesture of appreciation for everything done by these people throughout the year is both appreciated and warranted.  It tells them you are pleased with what they have done for you.

Less appropriate may be for a condo board to provide this appreciation from their operations budget which is funded through condo fees.  Holiday bonuses in this manner become financial compensation that does not convey appreciation of condo residents.  Condo directors that routinely offer employee bonuses or gifts do so without awareness of interactions between employees and residents.  They break the link between personal appreciation and recognition.

From a governance perspective, spending common funds on bonuses may not be a proper use of condo fees.  This is money a condo corporation is not contractually required to pay employees.  The very nature of a holiday bonus means it is not reflected in a condo budget that is presented to owners.  A holiday bonus or gift is determined at holiday time based on recent performance.

A better approach may be for a director or resident to take up a separate collection from residents to be distributed to employees.  Those who are pleased with the service they receive can contribute.  Others may choose not to contribute, or may choose to provide a bonus or gift on their own.  No owner or resident would be forced to contribute to a holiday bonus through condo fees.

Holiday bonuses should be presented as a gift.  Include a nice card or personal note, or deliver it personally.  Holiday gifts need not be limited to money.  They can be in the form of fresh baked goods or coffee shop gift cards.

These small gestures are appreciated by the people who make the business of condo living enjoyable and easy.  Take advantage of the holiday season to do so.