VisionLink Blog

Ken Gibson

“I’m Paying My Top 5 People $1 Million, What am I Getting for It?”

That’s a question that is felt at a visceral level by anyone trying to drive growth in a business. Intuitively, most CEOs know they should have a better handle on how much their key producers are being paid and why.  They’ve looked at market pay data and thought strategically about the role each person is playing in the company’s growth plans.  At the same time, they would be hard pressed to articulate why a given employee group received an increase in compensation this past year and what standards had to be met to merit that improvement.

As this issue is examined in company after company we meet with, we suggest that a  “value matrix” be developed that will articulate the standards each compensation plan must meet to be justified.  This exercise should be done in conjunction with the development or evaluation of the company’s written compensation philosophy statement that articulates what the company believes it should “pay for.”  We recommend the value matrix incorporate and define the following components.  Down the vertical axis, each piece of the compensation package is listed: salary, annual bonus, qualified retirement plan, long-term incentive plan, group benefits, executive benefits, etc.  Across the horizontal axis, the following standards should be defined for each plan:

When a company goes through this kind of analysis, it is forcing itself to think about compensation as an investment that is being allocated rather than merely an expense to be contained.  It creates a standard against which it’s pay allocation can be measured. If companies want to get serious about growth, their leaders must think about compensation in these terms and understand the extent to which this deployment of capital is contributing to growth.  Pay for performance in this context is not just a fancy term for having a bonus plan.  It’s a strategic approach to the decision making process that impacts what, for most companies, is the largest budget item on their  financial statement.

To learn more about where compensation will be headed in the future, tune in to our webinar on December 4 entitled, “The Future of Compensation: What’s Next and Why?”


1 Comment »

  • Amedar Consulting on November 8, 2012

    Great website. Lots of useful info here. I am sending it to a few pals ans additionally sharing in delicious. And certainly, thanks for your sweat!

Leave a comment

* Will not be published


"VisionLink has helped us successfully navigate a number of complex issues regarding our rewards programs. It has dealt with all facets of these varied issues with a high degree of competence, integrity, and straight forward advice. VisionLink's experienced team has consistently delivered first class results in a timely, professional manner and has become a valued Storm partner."

Thomas K. Grzywacz
President/Chief Executive Officer
Storm Industries, Inc.

"VisionLink has helped us successfully engineer a long-term incentive plan that has empowered our company to reward and retain key talent while increasing shareholder value. The knowledge, patience and deep experience of its team members helped us navigate a road that was unfamiliar to us. Ultimately, VisionLink designed a plan that met the high standards of both stockholders and key management employees. We have further engaged VisionLink to address our business succession and transition planning needs."

Reggie Dupre'
Chief Executive Officer
Dupre Logistics

"Over the past several years, National Technical Systems has engaged VisionLink to provide insight and direction on a number of executive compensation issues, as well as a performance evaluation of our 401(k) plan. Under its direction, NTS completely revamped executive level rewards to align with our business growth objectives and the strategic plan of the company. VisionLink's insight and direction have been invaluable. NTS has achieved its growth objectives and our executives feel appropriately rewarded for their performance."

Bill McGinnis
President/Chief Executive Officer
National Technical Systems

"VisionLink arrived on the scene just in time for us. We needed a new framework for our short-term and long-term incentive plans. VisionLink's modeling and forecasting process broadened our horizons and expanded our view of how to use a good incentive system to build, retain and strengthen our senior management team. We remain impressed by their expertise, professionalism and great service."

James Keng
Jimway, Inc.

"Our firm has had a long-term incentive plan for over eight years but we never quite felt like it was firing on all cylinders. We hired VisionLink to re-energize our plan, and they did it! We now have a cohesive awards strategy that's fair to shareholders and valued by our employees. VisionLink's team is technically skilled and very creative. We're happy to recommend VisionLink to firms looking to upgrade their management incentive programs."

John M
FTO Inc.

"Our company was like VisionLink's typical clients. We were great at sales and haphazard at how we compensated our people. VisionLink's process brings great clarity and confidence to our growth planning - and makes compensation a great growth capability."

Dan Sullivan
Founder and President
Strategic Coach ©

"The team at VisionLink helped our company structure a long-term incentive plan that parallels the company's strategy for continued growth as a global market leader within our industry. Their approach resulted in a program that our corporate team and executives embraced on both a professional and personal basis. Through VisionLink's guidance and execution, we were able to create both a motivational tool for current team members and a recruiting device to attract future executive level associates. Well done!"

Mark Rhoades
Fluidmaster, Inc.

"As a leading direct seller of scrapbook photo albums and supplies, Creative Memories has independent consultants across the country. And for over six years now, VisionLink has helped us to stay connected and administer a voluntary 409A non-qualified plan for them. VisionLink has provided support for all aspects of our plan from notification of eligibility through registration and distribution. The VisionLink support team has offered suggestions for improving processes and provided us with outstanding service year after year."

Guy Walker
Creative Memories North America

JOIN OUR MAILING LIST and get webinar invites, montly newsletters and free advice from business growth experts

Drive Growth - Increase Value - Multiply Wealth