VisionLink Blog

By Ken Gibson

October 03, 2018

Should You Consider a Phantom Stock Plan for 2019?


Phantom Stock has become the top choice of private company leaders for sharing long-term value with high-producing employees.  Over the past 10 years, more and more have embraced its merits as the myths regarding these plans have been debunked.  Phantom equity is an ideal substitute for sharing real stock with employees as it ties the value of a long-term award to the growth of the company without diluting owner equity.  So, is 2019 the year you should implement such a plan in your company?

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By Ken Gibson

September 20, 2018

3 Rules for Retaining Your Best People


By now you know that holding onto your top talent is a high priority—and that it is getting more difficult to achieve by the day.  If you don’t develop a culture where employee engagement is prevalent, and your employer brand is highly regarded (and widely touted) by your best people, they will be tempted to pursue greener pastures.  And these days, there are many such pastures for them to consider.  As a result, you can’t afford to wait until a couple of your key people are walking out the door to start thinking about retention. 

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By Ken Gibson

September 05, 2018

3 Pay Strategy Decisions only the CEO Should Make


If you are the chief executive or president of a business, your time comes at a premium.  As a result, it must always be applied toward activities that have a strategic impact.  That’s why you surround yourself with “specialists” that can provide more granular leadership in areas that impact the organization’s ability to solve problems, create and deliver great products and meet its growth objectives.  Because of this construct, most business leaders delegate the development and implementation of compensation plans to human resources.  But this is changing and here’s why.

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By Ken Gibson

August 30, 2018

Which is Better--Higher Salaries or Bigger Incentives?


That is a question every business struggles to answer.  Some company leaders reason that paying salaries at the higher end of the market will attract the best people and therefore the company will perform better.  Others are determined to tie compensation to results and so want a high percentage of employee compensation to be “at risk.”  So is one right and the other wrong?

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By Ken Gibson

August 16, 2018

How to Develop a More Intentional Employee Value Proposition


There is a popular term these days being used in personal development circles.  The word is “intentional.”  It means you are purposeful in what you do; that you live a life of meaning and make thoughtful choices.  It is the opposite of being reactive.   It is a term I recommend business leaders adopt as well when it comes to the development of their employee value proposition.  To succeed in today’s environment you must become more “intentional” in how you define your offer as you attempt to attract top talent.  Perhaps you think you already are (intentional), but humor me. Let’s spend a little more time exploring what it means to be intentional before you draw too many conclusions about whether or not you should describe your approach that way. 

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By Ken Gibson

August 08, 2018

3 Pay Strategy Secrets for Attracting Top Talent


Why are the compensation offers you were making three years ago no longer helping you land the talent you want now?  Chances are it is because you haven’t made “the shift.”  And what is “the shift?”  It is the change business leaders have had to make over the past year or two in the way they think about their employee value proposition.  It stems from another “shift” that has occurred in that same time period— where a scarcity of skilled talent has put top performers in high demand.  Every business is now feeling the pressure to come up with something “better” so they can compete for that talent.  As a result, old formulas have to be thrown out and a whole new approach adopted.  And that is why the compensation offers you used to make aren’t cutting it anymore.

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By Ken Gibson

August 01, 2018

5 Things We've Learned from the Performance Management Revolution


About two years ago I started writing about the insurgency that was occurring in performance management.  Companies had begun abandoning irrelevant, formal employee appraisal systems in favor ongoing coaching and mentoring “conversations.”  The focus was on looking ahead, not backwards.  The revolution started with large companies like G.E., Accenture and Google but quickly spread to companies of all sizes and industries.  This trend continues and is expanding.

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By Ken Gibson

July 26, 2018

3 Reasons Your Pay Strategy is (Probably) not Competitive


If you ask most business leaders to grade their employee compensation offering, they would probably give it a B.  They would do so because they realize that if they give it an A…well, they’d essentially be saying it has no flaws.  And if they give it a C (or lower), they are admitting that they haven’t really been paying adequate attention to it—and no chief executive wants to admit that.   But here is the interesting part.  Ask those same company leaders whether or not they consider their pay strategy “competitive” and you will probably get a response that goes something like, “Well, define competitive.”  Not a good sign.

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By Ken Gibson

July 19, 2018

3 Signs Your Incentive Plans are “Successful”


Effective incentive plan design can only occur if your approach is built on the right premise.  In other words, if the premise of your plan is wrong, the plan will fail.  That said, the success of an employee incentive is not assured just because you start with the right premise.  Even a strong foundation can’t offset poor construction, whether you are building a house or a rewards plan.  So, what do you do?  How do you set an employee incentive plan up for success and how do you determine whether the approach you’ve taken is effective?

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By Ken Gibson

July 10, 2018

Who Should Participate in Your Company’s LTIP?


Most growth-oriented business leaders have come to accept that they need to provide a way for employees to participate in the company value they help create.  In particular, they know key performers expect to benefit from the revenue and profit growth they  generate—and that to attract and retain such talent, the company needs to provide a long-term incentive plan.  As a result, the question for most organizations is not whether or not they should have a plan, but rather who should participate and to what degree.  So, let’s explore some guidelines that can help you make that determination. 

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By Ken Gibson

June 26, 2018

3 Ways the Wrong Pay Strategy Can Hurt Employee Engagement


Last year, I read an article that reported on a study conducted by a highly respected global consulting firm about employee engagement.  The piece was published in an equally regarded business journal.  It discussed how, in today’s highly competitive environment for talent, companies need to become “irresistible organizations” if they want their workforce to be fully engaged.  It listed five different areas in which a company had to excel to meet the “irresistible” standard.  It then reported that compensation is not one of the five because it is considered a “hygiene” issue when it comes to engagement.  As long as it is  “adequate,” it isn’t really a significant influence.  At the time, I remember thinking, “A hygiene issue?  Tell that to the CEO who just lost two of his best people because they got better pay offers from a competitor.”

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By Ken Gibson

June 21, 2018

To Improve Employee Performance, Focus on Line of Sight


Why is employee performance almost never at the level we think it should be?  In answering that question, most business leaders put the blame on their employees.  As a result, employee performance never improves--because the finger of responsibility is pointed in the wrong direction.  The fault lies with leadership, not with the individual members of the workforce.  Confused?  Ready to argue?  Let me explain.

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By Ken Gibson

June 14, 2018

Simplify Your Incentive Plans


During one of the opening scenes in The Graduate,  the movie's main character, Benjamin, finds himself in conversation with a businessman at a post-graduation party.  The guest pulls Benjamin aside and offers him a one-word secret to his career success: “Plastics.”  The movie's protagonist appears bewildered by the tip and can only muster a befuddled response: "In what way do you mean, exactly?"  Before Ben can even finish his question, Mr McGuire answers with, "There's a great future in plastics.  Think about it."  He then turns and walks away.

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By Ken Gibson

June 05, 2018

3 Rules for Linking Employee Performance, Performance Management & Pay


Is there such a thing as a CEO that is “satisfied” with the performance of his or her employees?  Likewise, is there one that feels the company’s performance management system is “working” well?  And what about pay?  Do you know any business leaders that are stoked about the ROI they are getting on the compensation investment they are making every year?  I’m guessing not. 

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By Ken Gibson

June 01, 2018

Phantom Stock: 5 Myths that Need Correction


A majority of VisionLink’s engagements focus on helping companies build an effective incentive approach—one that will reward both short and long-term value creation.  When it comes to deciding on the long-term part of the incentive, most business leaders want to know if there are alternatives to sharing stock.  This is because a majority of them run private companies and would prefer to not give away equity. 

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CLIENT SUCCESS STORIES

"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
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'
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
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
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