north america Articles

In Calculating Your CEO Pay Ratio, Relativity to Peers is the New Math

In preparing for the CEO pay ratio rule, comparing how your pay ratio compares to a set of industry peers is the analysis most shareholders will likely make. Using our extensive survey data, we show how ratios differ within the technology and life sciences sectors by industry as well as revenue size and workforce location.
 

Austin, Denver Take Lead in New-Hire Salary Growth for Product Development Engineers

Silicon Valley isn't the only place where the market for technical talent is red hot. In fact, base salaries for new hires are rising faster in a number of other technology hubs across the US. Our latest article examines multi-year trends in key markets and explores what these trends mean for talent-hungry technology companies.

How to Get C-suite Buy-in on Your New Sales Plan

In the November 2016 issue of WorldatWork's Sales Compensation Focus newsletter, Radford's Scott Barton discusses how to effectively communicate with and achieve support from the C-suite when making changes to your sales compensation plan.
 

How Will the Changes to ASC 718 Impact the Way Your Company Expenses Its Equity Awards?

On March 30, 2016, FASB released the final version of the updates to Accounting Standards Codification Topic 718: Compensation-Stock Compensation (“ASC 718”). The update includes an option on how a company may account for forfeitures in its expense amortization.

ISS Adds Metrics to Qualitative Say-on-Pay Screening, But Not All Industries Will Benefit

ISS has added six new financial metrics to its qualitative pay-for-performance assessment. While many of our technology and life sciences clients will welcome a more diverse view on measuring performance relative to pay, pre-commercial biopharma companies won’t find these new metrics a relevant measurement of company success. In this client alert, we discuss actions companies can take now to prepare for changes in the upcoming proxy season.

New Overtime Rules are Almost Here; Understand Your Options

Companies can adopt a number of approaches to comply with new federal overtime rules in the United States, which go into effect at the end of 2016. Our new article discusses your options, weighing the pros and cons of each, and provides a roadmap for executing an effective employee communications plan discussing the changes you make.

2016 Say-on-Pay Review: Technology Companies Receive Steady Support From Shareholders Despite Lower Performance

As executive compensation planning season kicks off, and another proxy season looms, our consulting team decided to take a look back at this year’s Say-on-Pay results for technology companies, including insights on key lessons learned from companies facing high levels of shareholder opposition.

2016 Say-on-Pay Review: Life Sciences Companies Receive Increased Shareholder Support Even as Volatility Climbs

The life sciences sector continues to face high levels of market volatility, which could impact next year’s Say-on-Pay results. With this in mind, our consulting team decided to take a look back at this year’s Say-on-Pay results for life sciences firms, including insights on key lessons learned by companies facing high levels of shareholder opposition.

To Fuel Growth, Companies Make a Case for Using Inducement Grants More Often

At the high-growth companies we work with, the use of new-hire "inducement grants" is on the rise. Our latest white paper, co-authored with Cooley LLP, presents new research on how technology and life sciences companies can best leverage inducement grants to compete for increasingly scarce talent, and the effect this has on equity burn rates.

Turnover Rates for Sales Employees Reach a Five-Year High

Voluntary turnover for sales employees at technology and life sciences companies is, once again, at a five-year high. With US companies reporting aggressive hiring plans, sales managers and HR professionals need to assess whether their current compensation plans can remain effective in an ever more competitive market for talent.

CEOs Sign Voluntary Governance Principles, but Emphasize Flexibility in Executive Pay

A set of high-level compensation and governance principles were released last month by a select group of business leaders representing a handful of America’s largest companies and mutual funds. The principles highlight the importance of individualized and well-articulated compensation plans but also take a position on a number of issues.

SEC Approves Nasdaq Rule Requiring Disclosure of "Golden Leash" Arrangements

The SEC recently approved a new Nasdaq rule, requiring disclosure of "Golden Leash" director compensation arrangements, which took effect August 1, 2016. Nasdaq's new rule requires disclosure of special payments to third party nominees to boards. It focuses largely on activist hedge fund nominees, and explicitly exempts most venture capital directors.

Reliable Market Data is Critical in Wake of Massachusetts "Fair Pay" Law and Others Like It

Massachusetts recently became the first state to ban employers from asking job candidates for their salary history, including benefits and other compensation, which increases the importance of accurate market data as well as the benefits of a formal pay program.

Illiquidity Discounts for Mandatory Holding Periods: Fact vs. Fiction

Recent statements by an SEC official triggered erroneous media accounts that companies might be overstating illiquidity discounts for equity awards with mandatory holding periods. We sought clarification from the SEC and separate fact from fiction in our latest client alert.

House Financial Services Committee Revives Bill that Would Regulate ISS, Glass Lewis

The House Financial Services Committee passed two separate bills this month that would have a direct impact on executive compensation voting policies and disclosure regimes. While there is a good chance neither bill will make it out of the full House during this election term, the bills shed insight on the political focus of the Committee.

Sales Compensation is Rising, but Performance is Tracking Lower. What's Going On?

Since 2010, the compensation cost of sales as a percent of revenue has increased significantly at software companies, but fewer sales people are hitting their quotas. It's not a good look, and companies continue to increase quotas to justify rising expenses. We explain how to bring cost and performance back in balance.

Why a Mid-Year Sales Plan Assessment Will Ultimately Save Time

In the May 2016 issue of WorldatWork's Sales Compensation Focus newsletter, Radford's Scott Barton discusses how utilize a mid-year review to spot pain points in your sales compensation plan before real turbulence emerges.

How to Maintain a Relevant Peer Group in Fast-Moving Industries and Unstable Markets

Reviewing compensation peer groups is usually treated as a routine exercise. However, when your company or industry experiences significant changes or the stock market is highly volatile, a more rigorous review is prudent. Read our five tips for staying on top of your peer group game.

The Unexpected Tax Benefits of Post-Vest Holding Requirements in Canada

Share awards subject to post-vest holding requirements are an emerging trend in the US, and we think it won't be long before the practice takes root in Canada. In Canada, companies aren't the only ones who stand to save money from post-vest holding requirements— employees are also eligible to receive additional tax benefits. Our article explains how these tax benefits are applied under multiple scenarios.

What Companies Should Know About New Employee Overtime Rules in the United States

New federal rules will greatly expand the percentage of US employees eligible for overtime pay. While technology and life sciences companies tend to have fewer employees who qualify as non-exempt relative to other sectors, the rules create unique challenges for every organization. Our latest client alert explains the rules and the types of questions HR managers should be asking.

Senior Technical Jobs that Offer an Alternative to Management Tracks are Evolving

Technology firms frequently create special executive-level positions, called Fellows or Senior Fellows, for key technologists who don't want to manage people. However, a number of companies are re-imaging these roles, and our data now shows that roughly half of Fellows and Senior Fellows actually manage employees.

How to Calculate Pay vs. Performance under the SEC's Proposed New Rules

It's been a year since the SEC proposed pay-vs-performance disclosure rules. While the rules haven't been finalized, it's not too early to think about model disclosure. Laying the groundwork will make implementation easier and can enhance the narrative around what the new figures mean. In our article, we explain what the proposed rules would require and pathways toward compliance.

Defining What's 'Good' in a Sales Comp Plan

In the March 2016 issue of WorldatWork's Sales Compensation Focus newsletter, Radford's Scott Barton discusses how to define success for your sales team and put in place the right mechanisms for testing your sales compensation plan around those performance benchmarks.

Is it Time to Ditch Your Salary Structure for Market Pricing? We Debate the Pros and Cons.

At the moment, most technology companies favor formal salary structures for administering base pay. However, in the hyper-competitive technology space, some of our clients forgo structures in favor of market-pricing. This allows them to be far more precise in setting pay, but there are clear pros and cons.

Will Today's Volatile Markets Bring Option Exchanges Back? What You Need to Know

Depending on what the markets do next, underwater stock option exchanges could be poised for a big comeback. Exchange programs are already quietly on the rise, but the governance landscape isn't as forgiving as it was in 2008 and 2009. Before taking action, it's important to take stock of where your company stands in a number of critical areas.

Down Rounds are on the Rise, Forcing Pre-IPO Firms to Explore New Retention Strategies

As more pre-IPO companies face down investment rounds and falling valuations, it's incumbent on HR leaders to explore new retention strategies, including underwater option exchanges, special equity awards, retention bonuses and formal bonus plans. Our new article weighs the pros and cons of each of these measures.

A New S&P Policy Change Requires Vigilance in Measuring Indexed TSR Plan Performance

The prevalence of indexed performance equity plans has skyrocketed in recent years, but a new policy change by Standard & Poor's means that the number of stocks companies benchmark against can exceed the number of companies in the S&P 500. The requires companies to review their indexed plans if they want each company to receive equal weighting.

Director Pay Settlement Results in an Unprecedented "Director Say-on-Pay" Vote

Facebook recently settled a lawsuit on its director pay practices, and the terms of the settlement include an unprecedented agreement to hold regular director say-on-pay votes. Now we're all left to wonder if this will kick-off a new governance trend.

The Link Between Employee Communication and Equity Plan Performance

Performance-based equity plans, especially those with Relative TSR metrics, can be complex. This makes effective employee communication a key ingredient for success. To test this premise, our Equity Services team has once again surveyed PeerTracker clients to explore the link between plan communication and performance.

Right-Sizing Stock Option Grants at High-Growth, High-Volatility Biotech Firms

Compensation professionals at high-growth, high-volatility biotech companies face difficult decisions when it comes to determining the size of employee stock option grants. For them, traditional share-based and value-based approaches don't always stand up to scrutiny. In this article we explore an alternative model based on annual ownership opportunity.

 

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