Iím looking for assistance developing a plan to reward employees for performance (completing projects within allotted hours) and safety whereby they are incentivized to work with a sense of urgency without compromising quality. There are so many variables to consider within an incentive program. Would office staff (draftman, estimator's bookkeeper's, project managers) be included? I can't figure out how to launch this.
(Business and Management Forum)
From contributor G:
It is very difficult to get a metric for an individual that is accurate because of many variables. Additionally the workers will figure out a way to game the system. Not to say that metrics are not important, just that they need to be relevant, which to me means on a macro level. If the work is quite repetitive a metric can be useful. I have found piece work to be effective but I don't see that working on a big scale. My advice would be don't put too much time into this it won't pay off.
The results were two camps. Mostly divided into those who had tried to have their own businesses in the past and those who thought businesses made huge profits and concealed them. I have seen where part of this comes from. When my kid was in jr. high the teacher of a class called "business basics" or something like that, told the kids corporations made a 50% profit. When I tried to explain that it was highly unlikely that it could be that way, at least for very long. Proof was offered that a store could buy a dress for X $'s and sell it for double that, making a 50% profit. There is an accounting thing that defines a "gross profit" as the difference between what an item was purchased for and what it was sold for.
I had a past employee come and ask if he could use my shop to work in, using my equipment, so he could take on a job for which he was not equipped. He offered to pay my overhead costs, which he and another ex-employee had figured at between $3 and 4 per hour/ employee. There are probably some owners out there that think that's a bit low! But it illustrates why some employees will always feel shorted. After all my shop rate is $65 and only pay $22/ hour. Add my overhead of $4 and you can see that I'm making $39/hr/employee, times 15 employees and I'm getting rich and over fist. Be real careful of the "profit share" thing. Not all employees will view it the way you do. Been there, done that, never again! Don't like being called a liar and a cheat. Running this business has enough hassles without that one.
Top line - gross revenue from all customers. Anyone think anyone doesn't understand what that is? Cost of the stuff the shop made - wood, hardware, etc. They all know what this is.
Shop overhead - utilities, insurance, supplies, mortgage interest/property taxes (or rent,) accounting services, etc. Everyone knows what this stuff is, but they probably have no idea of how much it all adds up to.
Depreciation on equipment - it's a non-cash item, but almost everyone can grasp the concept that equipment wears out and has to be replaced and provision must be made for that.
Employee payroll. They definitely are aware of this, but may not understand how big the total is.
Employee payroll taxes. Few will know about the employer's half of FICA, or FUTA, or state unemployment taxes, but they all know about Social Security and unemployment benefits. Don't forget workers' compensation insurance. Time to explain all of the other stuff that they don't see that you have to pay just to employ them. A total for all of it expressed as an hourly rate will hit home with them. Other employee benefits, if any. Maybe health insurance, maybe a 401-K match. All of it is directly to their tax-free benefit.
Your basic compensation as the manager/owner. Even a dope can understand that you would have to pay someone else to do your job if you weren't there.
Sales commissions, other sales support costs and marketing costs. Most understand that sales don't materialize out of thin air.
Allowance for bad debts - if you're an accrual-basis taxpayer and it was significant. Everyone knows what a deadbeat customer is.
Income taxes - depending on the type of organization, corporate or personal.
Income tax due. Everyone understands taxes on income.
Bottom line - net after-tax profit or loss. By the time you write these numbers on the board, half of them will still be shocked and thinking about how high some of the above costs were. When last year's profit turns into this year's loss or a smaller profit you can put up the numbers for both years and make your point. For instance, sales fell, but costs (and there they all are in black and white) didn't fall enough to remain profitable or as profitable. Or, sales were flat, but costs rose, whatever the case may be. Tell them what the plan is to return to profitability next year. If you've got a number for waste from do-overs of botched work, explain how every dollar of it drops straight through to the bottom line, resulting in a smaller profit or no profit to share.
The typical employee has no idea how expensive it is to run a business. Open their eyes with a simple presentation, most of it directly related to them as employees. Anyone who then still claims that you're a crook should probably be fired, being too stupid to recognize reality and likely to be a bad influence on other employees. The rest of them have probably never had an employer take 15 minutes to explain what the basic numbers actually are and might even appreciate it. All of this does not go to whether this type of profit sharing plan is good or bad. Opinions and experience vary widely on that. The only point is that if you're going to do it, make sure the basic nuts and bolts are made clear enough so that people have confidence in the integrity of the plan.