Situation: A company’s accountants advise them to make distributions for tax purposes. Simultaneously, the company’s future is based on technology and staying ahead of the competition. This requires ongoing investment. Do you focus on taxes or investment?
Advice from the CEOs:
The focus of the answer is distributions and company morale, not tax planning. Think about the impact on the team. Are there considerable differentials in compensation within the company? If so, this may be impacting morale.
Differentiate bonuses from variable compensation. Make bonuses special. This starts at the top. The attitude should be that if someone works hard, they will be compensated. Once bonuses become assumed, they are just regarded as part of the overall compensation package.
Smaller geographical units can help retain a small company atmosphere and drive. As a company grows, similar results can be achieved with Tiger Team projects.
If the organizational structure enables this, foster friendly competition metrics between offices – and publish the results.
One company distributes performance data to top staff – with color-color coded red/yellow/green metrics based on performance. All red and yellow numbers require an explanation. The company has seen a significant reduction in red and yellow metrics since they started this.
At company meetings – publicize and recognize top 10 performers in various areas. Recognition boosts morale.
Company events boost teamwork and morale. These may include company barbeques, in-house cooking shows created and run by staff, and quarterly outings – bocce ball, tubing, sailing on the Bay.
Growth is accompanied by change. When a company starts it’s a mission. After 15 years it’s a job. This is a function of growth, and it takes ongoing creativity to keep individual employees excited about their job and role.
Situation: The Company wants to expand its sales force by adding “diamonds in the rough” – hungry individuals motivated by a high commission/low salary opportunity with high total compensation potential. How can they find these individuals?
Advice from the CEOs:
Hire “out of school” and use a good sales assessment tool to evaluate which candidates have the right attitude and skill set to succeed. Create a career path through a lower paid inside sales position to eventual higher paid outside sales position while the individual gets up to speed understanding your technology and as they develop sales skills. This helps to generate revenue to cover costs while developing new sales candidates.
Accept that you will likely experience turnover hiring candidates out of school. High commission sales forces in other industries deal with 85% turnover over 3 years to find “keepers.” This may be a significantly higher level of turn-over than you are used to in other positions.
Look to sales job fairs and Craig’s List for candidates.
Give your current sales people a bonus for referring friends or acquaintances who will stay with you for 6 or 12 months. Pay out theses bonuses over times.
Find a good sales recruiter to find experienced high-producers in industries with a similar product sale.
The appeal to these individuals is a high earnings opportunity combined with the chance to sell a sexy product.
Because these people will already be high earners, you may have to create a draw system so that they do not have to make too great an earnings sacrifice by switching to your Company.