We work with you to determine the right performance metric for the incentive plan, based on an analysis of the past 5 years financials and budget versus actual for the current year to date. We also gather information on existing incentive plans and other compensation data. This enables us to develop an incentive plan that is self-funded—that is, the improved team performance will fund the plan’s bonus payouts.
We then develop a team-based gainsharing program and scoreboard. The scoreboard enables the entire team to see the relevant performance metric and how they affect results. We incorporate the ability to see budget, trend, and actual, which we will update regularly, typically at least weekly, using existing management reports.
Few things accelerate the success of Customer-Centric Open-Book© efforts as quickly as clearly defining those customers, products, or services that are most profitable, and that therefore should be the focus of your sales and marketing efforts. We analyze available transaction-level data by customer, job, product, or service, sorting it by profitability. We help you develop insights from the analysis, such as recognizing the common characteristics of your most profitable customers, products, or services and understanding the reasons for this profitability. We then work with you to develop action plans to realize the upside profit potential.
At the end of the first quarter, the planning focus is typically on performance compared to budget, business plan, and quarterly commitments. We will help you look at learnings from the past three months, examining what worked and what didn’t work. We will review long-term forecasts vs. three-year goals and discuss how to fill gaps, if any. We typically couple this with a discussion of a topic that is relevant to the company’s overall performance thus far, such as customer outreach and relationships, measuring and driving efficiency, pursuit of core customers, or competitive benchmarking. We will employ much the same methodology after the second and third quarters.
At year end, we recommend a two-day session. Besides reviewing performance against goals, we typically gather employee input on key issues through an online survey; through manager input; through financial trend analysis, with a focus on variances in the current year; through customer input, using our customer script; and through competitor intelligence. The goal is to empower the team to have a clear view of success for the next 1-3 years, along with an understanding of how they individually can contribute to that success and be rewarded by it.
Broadly speaking, there are two approaches to equity compensation for employees. The first is an employee stock ownership plan or ESOP. This carries substantial tax advantages, both to the company and to the selling owner, but requires careful adherence to governmental regulations. ESOPs also involve significant setup and maintenance costs. The second is a phantom equity program. These plans can provide the financial benefits of employee share ownership without the regulations, and they thus offer a company greater flexibility. However, they do not provide any tax advantages. Both programs require valuations. We have conducted valuations for many different companies, and we have also invested in companies. So we have expertise from both a buyer and a seller standpoint.
Many people think of the valuation as an end point. We view it as a starting point that needs to be integrated into the company’s management processes. That lets employees see how they can positively influence the valuation and view the (hopefully) growing value of their personal equity stake. This typically takes the following forms:
Now employees are constantly bringing intelligent business ideas to the table. One of the best rewards is seeing someone who never had a shot at an education be able to show you how smart they really are. I have a warehouse worker with a GED who can tell me the current ratio of my business. I’m more proud of that than I am of anything else.
I don’t have employees in my plant anymore. I have entrepreneurs who are looking to find ways to make more money.