We have worked with companies of all sizes and industries and in various stages of the business life cycle – startup, pre-IPO, IPO, growth, restructuring and turnaround stages.

We have designed solutions for family-owned businesses and partnerships, public and private companies, and not-for-profit and government entities.

When partnering with our clients, we reference our collective consulting and corporate experiences to customize solutions that meet their needs and help achieve their human capital strategy.


The word Compensation drawn three dimensionally in red amongst white words with a HR theme.
Total Compensation Review
Industry: Retail
Type: Family owned
EE Size: 5,001 – 10,000

Background: After decades as a family-owned and operated business, leadership in the company started to explore the possibility of a sale.

Issue: To ready the company for the possibility of a sale, they wanted to review their broad-based and executive pay programs to ensure alignment with the competitive market. Additionally, they wanted to ensure that employees would be treated fairly after a completed transaction.

Key Challenges:

  • Company needed experienced outside talent to position company for a sale
  • Current reward programs lacked structure leading to inefficient use of resources
  • HR processes were very manual and lead to unavoidable errors
  • Company lacked market intelligence on compensation and incentive trends

Solution: A formal compensation philosophy was adopted and a benchmark review on compensation and benefit was completed. Salary structures were implemented as well as a more formalized annual bonus program. The company implemented a severance program for employees and executives. Also, a phantom stock plan was implemented for the most senior executives as a form of retention during the period of uncertainty to ensure they would remain with the company through the sale.

Photograph of a pen on stock market page in the newspaper.
Equity Plan Design
Industry: Financial Svcs.
Type: Pre-IPO
EE Size: 51 – 200

Background: Company was planning for an IPO in the next 12 – 18 months.

Issue: Company was seeking assistance with making competitive broad-based and executive stock option grants. Additionally, the company wanted guidance with establishing policies for severance (with and without change-in-control) and reviewing the typical provisions included in executive contracts.

Key Challenges:

  • As a startup, company lacked internal resources to design & implement equity plans
  • Client needed insight on emerging equity and severance practices in their industry

Solution: Benchmarking was completed on all equity eligible positions and the projected burn rate based on the proposed stock option grants was reviewed to ensure consistency with competitive practices. Stock option grant guidelines were established for the various levels of eligible employee. In addition to burn rate considerations, the stock compensation expense was modeled to ensure alignment with budget. Formal severance programs were implemented based on salary level and executive contracts were developed for NEO’s and other key employees.

business man tracing upward trend of a bar chart.
Sales Compensation Redesign
Industry: Electronic Mfg.
Type: Public
EE Size: 1,001 – 5,000

Background: Global company operating in more than 30 countries had historically managed its salesforce on a regional/country basis where each country had its own P&L and sales compensation plans.

Issue: The new CEO & Chief Sales Officer desired more cross-selling on large clients and better coordination on white space opportunities. The company was also in the process of implementing a global ERP and financials would now be reported for each business segment rather than geography.

Key Challenges:

  • Defining new roles for sales organization and determining appropriate metrics for each
  • Coordinating the implementation of new ERP and sales incentive programs
  • Communications and transparency was lacking from sales leadership down to regional sales teams

Solution: Interviews with each business segment leader were conducted to identify the key sales employees needed to grow the product line. Mapping of clients to vertical markets was completed along with assigning sales employees to new clearly defined sales roles. The new sales roles were benchmarked to determine competitive compensation as well as the appropriate mix between base salary and incentives. Additionally, key metrics and their associated weights were identified. The recommended changes were modeled to estimate the cost and confirm alignment with budgetary constraints. The new program was socialized with sales leaders and managers and then rolled out globally at the sales kick off meetings to individual sales contributors. Implementation was split into two phases to tie into the ERP implementation. Phase one focused on the key account and vertical market roles, while phase two addressed the rest of the sales organization.

Laptop with the letters HRM (Human Resource Management) on the screen.
Compensation Program & System Implementation
Industry: Financial Svcs.
Type: Public
EE Size: 5,001 – 10,000

Background: Global company operating in more than 30 countries had undergone several acquisitions. Many of the acquired companies continued to operate legacy incentive plans.

Issue: It was very difficult to forecast compensation and incentive costs and annual compensation planning activities were managed in spreadsheets, taking nearly three months to complete the process.

Key Challenges:

  • Needed a strategy and roadmap to consolidate many legacy compensation programs across multiple geographies
  • CEO wanted all new programs to have a “One Company” feel aligned to business priorities
  • Meeting an accelerated timeframe to implement a web-based compensation planning solution in 6 months

Solution: After a review of all existing legacy incentive programs and a benchmarking exercise, one consolidated global incentive plan was adopted. Additionally, it was found that different regions were budgeting for salary increases using different methods, so one approach to salary administration was implemented with tighter central control. Costs of the consolidated compensation program were modeled to ensure affordability.

With the salary and incentive programs and policies consolidated, the next step was to define requirements and review vendors providing web-based compensation planning solutions. After meeting with multiple vendors and reviewing capabilities, a partner was selected and the web-based solution was implemented in a 6-month timeframe, which included training for all managers. The company reduced the amount of time needed to complete the compensation planning process to less than 4 weeks. Additionally, the company greatly reduced the time necessary to estimate annual compensation costs, which improved the annual budgeting process.

Two people holding large white puzzle pieces obscuring their faces.
Consolidating Sales Compensation Plans
Industry: Technology
Type: IPO/Public
EE Size: 10,001+

Background: Company was formed by a spinoff from a public company and merger with a private company, resulting in an IPO for the new entity.

Issue: The legacy sales organizations and incentive plans were markedly different. Pay mix differences were extreme due to one unit offering higher base salaries and lower incentive opportunities and the other unit offering lower base salaries and much higher incentive opportunities. Additionally, some groups contributing to the sales process were excluded from rewards in legacy plans. Sales leadership wanted to promote a team atmosphere where all the disciplines participating in the sales process were acknowledged – Business Development, Proposal Management and Sales.

Key Challenges:

  • Each legacy sales organization had strong opinions about the “right” rewards approach
  • Company was still going through transition changes and lacked an HR business partner
  • Design & implement a harmonized incentive plan in 3 months

Solution: Interviews were held with HR business partners and sales management to confirm philosophy and strategy. New sales roles were defined and then benchmarked against competitive survey data to determine appropriate pay levels and mix between base salary and incentives. The sales force was then mapped to the new roles based on their experience and skills versus set criteria. The cost of the new program was modeled to ensure affordability and reasonableness versus company profits. The new program was communicated with sales leaders and managers and then rolled out to individual contributors. Total time from start of project to communication and implementation was about three months.

A skeleton key surrounded by miniature figures of people carrying briefcases
Critical Talent Retention
Industry: Manufacturing
Type: Public
EE Size: 1,001 – 5,000

Background: Global company was going through a period of declining revenues.

Issue: Revenues declined to a point where operating expenses were no longer aligned with the size of the company. Management wanted to right-size the organization without disrupting R&D and Sales efforts and wanted to ensure key talent needed for a turnaround remained with the company. The company had historically done a great job of identifying critical talent. Beyond the identification of key talent, not much else was done.

Key Challenges:

  • The estimated cost of unwanted attrition was increasing for R&D and Sales roles
  • Critical R&D projects were at risk of not being completed on time
  • Sales employees had already started introducing new products to customers

Solution: After brainstorming sessions with HR leadership and other senior executives, it was agreed that the key talent be vetted so as to validate the critical talent moniker. The senior HR team members were trained in structured assessment and conducted interviews with each of the employees that were identified as critical. After the interviews, those that remained on the critical talent list had access to various development resources. Depending on level, the development resource was either an executive coach, classroom training (on or off site), and/or access to online learning and development resources.

Additionally, those that remained on the critical talent list had an in depth review of their compensation – base salary, annual bonus, long-term incentives and any existing retention awards – to assess competitiveness and retention strength of their compensation packages. Based on this analysis, decisions were made to either make salary adjustments or awards immediately or wait until the normal annual review cycle.

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Employee Engagement
Industry: Electronic Mfg.
Type: Public
EE Size: 1,001 – 5,000

Background: Global company had a recent change in CEO.

Issue: Due to recent management changes, employees did not feel there were enough communications from senior management and did not understand the new strategy. Additionally, the communication approach under the prior CEO was primarily email with an embedded video message. Most employees, especially those outside North America, rarely watched the video or read the email communications.

Key Challenges:

  • Employees lacked understanding of company’s mission, vision and strategy
  • New CEO desired a performance management process that was impactful and had integrity

Solution: A brief employee survey was conducted. After meeting with the new CEO and his direct reports to review the survey results, it was decided that a new communication approach was needed. To improve communication and the cascading of vital messages from the top of the organization, the organization implemented 3 strategies. First, a short weekly message was sent by one of the members of the senior management team (CEO and direct reports). Second, quarterly town hall meetings were conducted in offices with critical mass. A senior management team member would present if they were located or visiting one of these offices. Third, the travel schedules of the senior management team were tracked centrally and they led roundtable discussions with select employees when visiting. Another employee survey was conducted one year later and the question pertaining to internal communications scored much higher.

Photograph of a stethoscope.
Physician Compensation
Industry: Healthcare
Type: Private / Partnership
EE Size: 201 – 500

Background: New legislation was enacted that will change the way physicians are reimbursed by Medicare.

Issue: In advance of the final adoption of the Medicare reimbursement changes, the physician shareholders wanted a review of current physician compensation arrangements and methodologies.

Key Challenges:

  • The same physician compensation plan had been in place for more than 12 years and was no longer achieving desired results
  • Majority of physician partners needed to approve changes before they were implemented

Solution: Interviews were conducted with the CEO and Compensation Committee members to fully understand the current plan. Current compensation plan agreements were reviewed along with the methodology for allocating revenue and operating expenses, which determines each physician’s compensation. Initial findings were that some operating expenses were being allocated inequitably resulting in negative impact to some physicians. Changes were proposed to ensure fairness in operating expense allocations and mitigate risks associated with potentially discriminatory pay practices. Additionally, a methodology for allocating enhanced revenue payments to non-partner physicians and other providers was reviewed to assess the potential reward impact for those contributing to the enhanced payment.

Lighthouse painted on weathered wood.

Additional Sample Projects

  • Designing base pay, incentive and/or equity programs that link to organizational philosophy and strategy.

  • Developing Sales incentive programs and control processes.

  • Establishing Performance Management programs and processes.

  • Bridging knowledge / skill gaps and / or augmenting HR staff on Compensation, Benefits or HR Systems projects.

  • Serving as an independent outside compensation advisor to Management or the Board / Compensation Committee.

  • Providing a 3rd party review of existing compensation programs or analyses.