Hiring and managing people well is a key to business success, and I maintain that people are your most important asset. They are more valuable than your inventory, showroom, displays, trucks and computers. And, there’s nothing more important – to the company and the employees – than a great compensation program.
In the kitchen and bath industry, there are almost as many different compensation plans as there are businesses. This is okay – as long as your plan works for you. Following is a brief look at the four most popular plans and their various pros and cons.
The Regular Salary Plan pays the employee a set amount of salary (exempt employees) or hourly wages (non-exempt) on a regular (weekly, bi-weekly or monthly) basis.
For employees, the pros for this plan include security, a guaranteed same income each month, ease of budgeting and the assurance of making the same amount, regardless of productivity and performance. The cons include a lack of incentive and a lack of opportunity to grow compensation.
For management, the pros of this system include the ease of planning and budgeting, the ease of administering the program and the ability to have total control over how much is paid out. The cons include a lack of incentive, and the fact that the employee makes the same amount, even if productivity slips or productivity is weak.
The Commission-Only Plan usually only applies to salespeople. It pays a certain percentage on monthly sales, gross margin dollars or a combination of both.
For employees, the pros to this type of plan include big incentives for selling more, increasing margins or both, as well as no limits on how much can be made. The cons include a potential wide variance in income and an inability to plan or budget as easily.
For management, the pros include only having to pay for productivity, and the ability to attract highly motivated and productive salespeople. Cons include the greater difficulty in administrating, planning and budgeting for such a plan, the potential loss of a “team player” attitude, the potential for employees to become too aggressive, the loss of control over the employee, and, if commission is on sales only, the loss of incentive to grow margins.
Salary + Commission
In the Salary + Commission Program, compensation is made up of a percentage of salary/hourly (guaranteed) and commission (driven by productivity of sales, gross margin dollars or both). Management sets both parts with a goal of offering both security and incentive. Continued on Page 25Continued from Page 22
Pros for employees include a partial salary guarantee (with more security than straight commission) and partial incentive (with more opportunity to grow compensation than straight salary). Cons are that the guaranteed portion may not provide enough security, while the incentive may not be big enough.
Pros for management include a partial incentive that forces employees to be productive, while cons include the difficulty in administering and budgeting this type of plan, and the fact that the incentive may not be big enough.
The Guaranteed Draw Against Commission Plan is similar to a straight commission program with the difference being that the employee gets a guaranteed amount in advance that is then subtracted from the actual amount of commissions when the results are in.
Pros for employees include not having to wait for commissions, big incentives and an ease in planning and budgeting. Cons include the potential to fall behind and owe the company money.
Pros for the company include ease of planning and budgeting, bigger incentives for employees, only having to pay for productivity and the potential to attract big sellers. Cons include difficulty in collecting if the employee falls behind, difficulty in administering, planning and budgeting, potential loss of control and risk of employees becoming too aggressive.