It’s not typical that I use this space to talk about The VisionLink Advisory Group directly—except in reference to learnings we’ve gained in our work with client companies. But I thought it both relevant and important that I shed some light on our firm’s core beliefs, purpose and vision for a couple of reasons. First, I think doing so will give you some context for what I write about each week in this space. Second, I happen to think the work we do is significant and has a real impact on the businesses we serve as well as those affected by their success. So here it goes.
The Critical Role of Enterprise
At VisionLink, our partners and associates believe business is an essential source of both financial and personal development opportunities throughout the world. Enterprise growth is the engine that drives improved economic value for individuals, families, communities and the country. Beyond that, the professional development resources and opportunities that businesses offer allow individuals to magnify their unique abilities, find personal fulfillment and make a contribution to meaningful purposes. Just consider the myriad lives that have been positively affected over the past 10 to 15 years through the exponential growth of the technology sector alone. Now multiply that effect times the number of industries that are similarly accelerating their advancement: biotechnology, human capital development, telecommunications and on and on. All signs are that the opportunities of the future that will be launched from the platform of progress already established are even more expansive and promising. In short, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
Because of the important role businesses play in advancing opportunities on so many levels, we want to help them accelerate their ability to grow and become more profitable. We want them to be able to more consistently win within the competitive environments in which they exist. To achieve and sustain that level of success, we believe they will need premier talent, not just average or even good talent. They will need strategic leaders and catalysts—individuals who can positively impact the growth trajectory of the companies that employ them and help those organizations magnify their value in the marketplace.
The Need for a Performance Culture
We believe premier talent excels in a culture of high performance and that high performance cultures attract premier talent. That symbiotic relationship means company leaders must carefully construct a performance framework that defines standards and strategies for their enterprise (vision, purpose, business model and strategy), for their human capital (roles, stewardships and expectations) and for their rewards systems (employee value proposition) that give shape and meaning to the level of success the business seeks. We believe that the companies who will rise above “the pack” in the future are those that carefully plan for and nurture a performance culture in this way and don’t leave performance issues to chance.
We believe high performance cultures view and treat their employees as growth partners. As result, they espouse a wealth multiplier philosophy where the focus is on growing economic value for all stakeholders in the organization, not just for shareholders. In fact, they believe that by effectively sharing value with all value creation contributors, company owners will see the growth in their share value accelerate. When this occurs, economic and human development opportunities are expanded; more people are hired, more individual and collective unique abilities are developed and personal and organization fulfillment is realized. This makes people want to come, stay and perform at those companies.
We further believe that individuals are motivated by a sense of purpose and not by financial rewards. However, we believe that sense of purpose instills contribution aspirations in people which have economic underpinnings. Some people want to contribute to causes and charities. Others want to contribute to the success and security of their families and children. Others have different aspirations. All have financial goals and expectations that are tied to those aspirations. As a result, we believe they evaluate the pay offering of their employers in that context. They don’t measure a given incentive plan or salary level in isolation. They look at the entire financial partnership they have with the company in relation to their ability to make the life contributions they wish to make.
As a result, we believe a company’s pay approach is vital to building and sustaining a high performance culture. Because it is, compensation becomes a strategic issue. Strategy requires leadership. We believe that leadership must come from one who can take a broad view of pay’s role in fueling business growth and multiplying value for all stakeholders. Without that leadership, compensation becomes relegated to an expense line item on the P&L; something that must be contained at all costs. CEOs and others who lead high performance organizations view pay as a strategic tool that can transform their employees into the growth partners referenced earlier.
The foundation of a compensation approach that accomplishes what I’ve been describing is a pay philosophy and strategy that emphasizes value creation and value sharing. Accordingly, our work is focused on transforming the way businesses share value so employees become growth partners in driving a performance culture. We believe that if we fulfill what we set out to do, businesses will experience sustained success and a culture of confidence will emerge. As it does, cycles of high performance that perpetuate wins for the company will become both self-sustaining and transformational.
No Small Thing
Transformational organizations are the ones that our global economy depends upon for the economic and human development opportunities I mentioned at the outset. Because that is what is at stake, we at VisionLink consider what we do to be no small thing. As a result, VisionLink's purpose is to help businesses accelerate growth by creating pay strategies that enable a performance culture. VisionLink's vision is to help businesses become wealth multipliers by transforming the way they share value with their growth partner employees.
With that purpose and vision in mind, our firm is constantly looking for ways we can better help companies succeed in developing pay strategies that are effective and performance-oriented. This has led us to the next phase of our practice development which is the building of a SaaS platform that brings our knowledge, skill and experience to the cloud. We have begun developing online tools that will enable businesses to envision, create, communicate, manage and sustain all of the components of their pay strategies. These tools will put users in control of rewards strategy development but with the safety net of an experienced provider and tutor that has been advising companies about compensation design issues for over 20 years.
Last year, we released the first of these tools. It is called BonusRight and its mission is to help organizations build an annual incentive plan faster, easier and more effectively than ever before. Imagine being able to use a tool built by experts who have designed hundreds of bonus plans for companies of all sizes and stripes to construct, promote and administer your plan all in one place. We will soon be developing resources like BonusRight for other types of compensation plans.
Our thought leadership efforts through webinars, reports, e-Books, guides and blogs will continue. Our vision is to expand the learning value we make available through the development of The VisionLink Academy. That platform will offer web-based opportunities for those who want to learn how to design high impact rewards strategies on their own—but with expert guidance. All this is part of our effort to help businesses transform the way they share value with their employees.
Our firm will continue its design and consulting services for firms that need assistance in evaluating their present value proposition or envisioning, creating and sustaining new and improved compensation plans for the future.