At Kreischer Miller, we often get questions from our clients about ways to compensate a company’s top employees to retain them and keep them motivated. In response, we always advise thinking about the total compensation package you are offering beyond just base salary and bonus. Contemplate which intangibles you can offer to keep your employees happy and provide them with the peace of mind that they are advancing their careers. Also, re-evaluate whether the right structures and processes are in place to take advantage of the talents and capabilities of your top performers.

Over the last few years, we have observed an increasing trend toward better communication between executive teams and employees, which helps everyone feel more involved in the business and be in a position to have a meaningful impact on what is going on in the company. For example, many companies have assigned high-potential employees to participate in cross-functional projects that contain executive-level visibility. Others have developed more departmental and one-on-one meetings. Some companies have even randomly invited certain employees to join C-suite private company meetings. These types of initiatives help increase employee morale and enable employees to feel more involved in decision-making.

There are number of other ways to compensate your top performers beyond just salary. For instance, you could offer an extra week of vacation or provide flexible working hours, allowing employees to work from home on a more frequent basis. You can also consider paying more toward health benefits or providing spontaneous “spot” bonuses to reward solid performance and production. We are also seeing more compensation plans with incentives tied to both individual and company performance, giving employees the opportunity to make more money and share in the growth of the company. Finally, consider offering professional development perks such as in-house classes and training as well as tuition reimbursement.

Even with these other perks, it is still important to continually evaluate the salaries you are paying your top performers. Over the past year or two, we have seen the talent market heat up again, so you want to be sure what you are paying these individuals is competitive. First and foremost, identify who your top performers are. Then, determine what the marketplace is paying for those same positions in other companies. Identify companies of similar revenue and employee count and determine where you stand in relation to that benchmark. If your company is paying below the mean, you should give serious consideration to increasing cash compensation to those identified as top performers. If you are paying what the market dictates, make sure you communicate this fact; it will help with retention.

Holding onto your top performers and keeping them motivated should be one of your company’s biggest priorities. By offering competitive compensation and opportunities for higher-level involvement and professional development, you will be rewarded with strong teams and leadership.

Contact us to learn more about this topic.