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  • Writer's pictureRobert Adelson

Executive Sign on Bonus, Retention Bonus and Other Bonuses – Terms and Negotiations

Updated: Jan 19, 2023

On August 4, 2022, the executive career advancement website IvyExec published an article I wrote on “Executive Sign on Bonus, Retention Bonus and Other Bonuses – Terms and Negotiations.”


This new article is designed not only for C-level and senior executives, but even for many directors and mid-level executives who when negotiating a new executive job offer or employment contract need to give equal and perhaps greater focus on the structure and terms of bonus as they do to base salary compensation.


My article discusses five (5) key bonus structures:

  • Sign-on bonus to make the executive whole for items given up,

  • Sign-on bonus to compensate for the risks in changing companies,

  • Guaranteed bonus,

  • Performance bonus based on company achievement,

  • Performance bonus based on individual achievement.

The article also suggests other important issues in the determination, calculation and payout of the bonus.


My article also discusses a retention bonus or stay bonus as a one-time payment or a one-time retention agreement for considerations for the executive to commit to staying with the company for a set period of time or through to a planned event (for example, an acquisition).




IvyExec hosts articles and webinars from experts in the career, leadership, and business spaces who wish to share their knowledge with our audience. In April 2021, I was invited to write for IvyExec since it seeks original content on the topics of career development, leadership, and business strategy as it applies to senior-level and C-Suite professionals. IvyExec blog posts and webinars are shared with its community of more than 2 million members on its website, in its newsletter, and on its social media channels. https://www.ivyexec.com/career-advice/write-for-us/


IvyExec claims a “Community of 2.5M+ Leaders”.


It is my hope that this article will be helpful to CEOs and other senior executives who are considering or re-visiting the executive compensation piece of a job offer or employment contract and need to focus on bonus structure and terms every bit as much as base salary. If you or any colleague of yours has a need in this area, please do reach out to me at rob@attorneyadelson.com.

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