With a lot of companies suffering through layoffs and having to lower their merit budgets, what has happened to the soft bonus programs that were so hot in the past few years? Are they going away with the tougher times? In a recent survey conducted by WorldatWork, 53 percent of the 332 companies responding are saying spot bonuses are still a part of their total rewards package. In addition, the spot bonus program was still a specifically budgeted item in 61 percent of the companies that report having spot bonuses. In relation to the management of retaining human capital, two out of three companies (66 percent) feel that their spot bonus program is an effective tool. Nearly all of the companies used the bonuses for “special recognition” and “above and beyond” type of employee rewards (97 percent and 99 percent, respectively), with 75 percent of the organizations using the bonus for a “project completion” award.