VisionLink Blog

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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By Ken Gibson

May 22, 2018

Can Employee Performance Improve if Employee Engagement Doesn’t?


Yes, this is yet another “chicken or the egg” puzzle to solve.  Only the stakes here are higher.  If you don’t resolve the “chicken or the egg” question, you can still make an omelet for breakfast tomorrow—and probably next week as well.  However, if you cannot effectively address the “performance without engagement” dilemma, your business might not survive.  Given the scope of the risk, let me relieve the suspense and respond to the title question right up front.  The answer is a definitive, “yes, but…”

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By Ken Gibson

May 15, 2018

How Would You Score Your Employee Value Proposition?


Let’s be honest, if you had to give your pay strategy a grade, you wouldn’t know where to start—right?  I’m not trying to be offensive or presumptuous.  I’m just making an educated guess based on my interaction with dozens of business leaders over the years about their employee value propositions.  Some feel they have set their salary levels properly but don’t like their bonus plan.  Others haven’t yet figured out what balance they should have between short and long-term incentives (assuming they even have either).  You get the idea.  Company leaders don’t really know how to “score” the effectiveness of their compensation plans…and may not think it actually matters anyway.

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By Ken Gibson

May 08, 2018

LTIP or STIP-Which is More Important?


It is a question our firm is asked often.  And our answer is an emphatic…yes!  I'll explain.

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By Ken Gibson

May 01, 2018

3 Employee Value Proposition Assumptions that Put Your Offer at Risk


CEOs and other business leaders are figuring out that they need to pay closer attention to the value proposition they offer new and existing employees.  Too often that realization is coming at a cost.  A key person leaves.  A critical recruit chooses someone else’s offer over yours.  Your employer brand is getting hit hard on social media and company rating sites like glassdoor.com.  This is becoming an increasingly critical and time sensitive issue for more and more companies as the skilled labor market continues to shrink and the competition for the best talent increases.

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By Ken Gibson

April 24, 2018

How to Use Compensation to Build a High Performance Culture


Most business leaders agree that there should be a relationship between how employees are paid and how they perform.  If they are honest, however, they will admit that they don’t have a clue about how to create that pay for performance relationship.  They are attempting to build a high performance culture that will carry the business to new heights of growth but they really don’t know where pay fits in or how to draw a straight line between rewards and results.  Consequently, they end up with weak and diluted compensation plans.

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By Ken Gibson

April 18, 2018

5 Dangers of Not Having an LTIP


Business leaders often wonder whether they can “afford” to have an LTIP.  It is a revealing perspective.  The assumption is that if you “add” a long-term incentive plan to your pay strategy, you will either dilute shareholder value or lower profits—or both.  At a minimum, you’re adding expense to the P&L—and the presumption is that’s not good.  Well, the claim I will make (and defend) here is that you cannot afford not to have an LTIP—and you are putting your company at risk if you don’t.  Let’s explore why.  

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By Ken Gibson

April 10, 2018

3 Pay Mistakes that Prevent CEO Success


CEO success is completely dependent upon attracting and retaining great people and getting them to perform.  Years ago, in his book, Good to Great, Jim Collins said it this way: “The executives who ignited the transformations from good to great did not first figure out where to drive the bus and then get people to take it there.  No, they first got the right people on the bus (and the wrong people off the bus) and then figured out where to drive it.”  (Good to Great, Jim Collins, Harper Collins Publishers, Inc. 2001, pgs. 41-42) The problem nowadays is that many business leaders are either not able to attract the right people to be on their bus or they are losing those people to competitors.  So, why is this happening?

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By Ken Gibson

March 30, 2018

How Does Your Pay Strategy Impact Employee Accountability?


What if your pay strategy actually made your employees more accountable?  Skeptical?  “Is that even possible?” you wonder.  It is.  In fact, I’d go so far as to say that if your compensation approach isn’t driving greater accountability, then it needs repair.  It’s probably doing more harm than good.

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By Ken Gibson

March 20, 2018

4 Secrets to Building an Employee Value Proposition that Wins


You are in a final meeting with a new recruit.  This person has everything you’re looking for—and more.  She has nailed every interview and your whole team is raving about her.  You are confident that she will effectively fill a gap that requires strategic leadership and could quite possibly alter the growth trajectory of your company in a significant way.  You are about to lay out your offer to her.  Question: What are you feeling?  Are you confident in what you are about to show her or is your stomach churning because you think she could very well be entertaining a “better” offer somewhere else?

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By Ken Gibson

March 14, 2018

3 Reasons You Need an Employer Brand Strategy—Right Now!


At the end of a conversation with a potential client last week, the business leader asked me this question: “If I spoke with companies for whom you have designed compensation plans, would they say their employees are happier as a result of the work you did?”  It’s a variation on a theme we are often asked about with regard to the impact of our pay design efforts.  I responded, “I hope and believe our clients will tell you we did excellent work and that we exceeded their expectations .  I also hope they will say the compensation strategies we helped them implement have created a solid and clear financial partnership with their employees.  I believe they would also affirm that they have a more unified financial vision for growing their businesses as a result of our work.  But no, I don’t think they will tell you their employees are happier because of the pay programs we helped them implement.  That is not a standard any compensation strategy could meet.” 

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By Ken Gibson

March 01, 2018

The 4-Part Formula for “Fair Pay”


Fairness in compensation is no longer a topic found just in political conversations.  And it isn’t restricted to discussions about whether women are paid as much as men for the same job—or if the wage discrepancy between CEOs and rank and file employees is too wide.  It has now become a core strategic issue businesses have to address.  The good news is that it's not a hard matter to resolve if companies apply the right principles in their approach to rewards.  And now, more than ever before, they have an urgent need and motivation to make “fairness" in pay a priority.  Namely, their survival depends upon it.  Let’s explore why.

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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