For almost four decades, our veteran team has successfully designed and implemented thousands of performance management and compensation projects, spanning a diverse and complex scope of client-objectives. Here are snapshots of some of those achievements.
Incentives Everywhere: Workforce, Customers & Partners
In 2010, multiple channel expert partners engaged Commission Systems to automate broad and complex performance scorecards and incentive compensation programs for not only their workforce and management hierarchy, but also for all customers, and service and distribution channel partners. The Commission Systems system was the only solution found that had the robust and flexible capability to fulfill these requirements.
Multi-Silo Core System Data Integration For Performance Scorecards
Beginning in 2016, a large multi-state enterprise asked us to integrate and aggregate source transaction and other performance factor data from multiple in-house core-system platforms. The objective was to use that data so we could define hundreds of metrics, KPIs, and OKRs; configure individual employee and business unit performance scorecards with those; and, feed those calculated analytic results back in to their in-house visualization and reporting platform.
Our roles are to extract the data from their systems, calculate all of the metric and incentive results, and then re-insert those derived results back into their systems, daily. We’ve automated and process hundreds of unique source data integration procedures, and calculate many thousands of metrics to enable thousands of performance scorecards, and the resulting incentive plan calculations.
EPM + CRM: Business Requirements & Functional Specifications
In 1996, one of the largest international conglomerates based in Africa set out to optimize sales, service, and customer relationship value performance and results by creating an enterprise-wide workforce/customer performance management process and platform. Spanning over twenty diverse strategic business units, with tens of thousands of employees at thousands of sites, the challenge was to create a solution that would universally serve stakeholder and management objectives, customer relationship expectations, and employee aspirations.
Over the multi-year project, Commission Systems team members worked with hundreds of line-of-business, and process and technology support managers and teams, and created an unprecedented comprehensive Employee Performance plus Customer Relationship Management process and technology development and integration plan: EPM + CRM.
The plan included full-scope Business Requirement and Functional Specification documents, including frameworks and methods for unit and individual goal-setting and performance planning; on-demand activity and results management and reporting; individual and team-based sales, referral, service, relationship, and productivity incentive and recognition programs; multi-platform source data and data warehouse integration; technology platform development and deployment; management coaching; and performance evaluation.
The project pre-dated the popular emergence of CRM by 2-3 years, and the subsequent explosion in employee and business performance management by almost a decade.
Insurance Distribution Systems & Channel Partner Compensation
Beginning in 2014, a nationally-licensed insurance brokerage began assisting direct-to-consumer businesses in their sale of ancillary insurance and warranty coverages to their core-service customers: travel insurance for individual group members traveling to attend group events, per booking liability protection for home-sharing vacation rental homeowners, event protection for destination property managers, etc.
Inbound source-data referral and sales transactions were being submitted from hundreds of distribution affiliates across a widely disparate network, in scores of different formats and time-stamps. Because of the myriad of state-by-state insurance rules and approvals, the number of premium-, sales-, referral-, tax-, and service-fee paid entities became vast and deep: each insurance transaction spawned dozens of separate micro-transactions requiring strongly-audited tracking, and remittance accounting and management. Finally, the system required the capability to manage and resolve coverage modifications, cancellations, and state-approval-governed premium refunds and commission charge-backs.
The client needed an unprecedented infinite-entity, international, multi-provider, multi-product, document-fulfilling distribution and service management platform.
To resolve the high-degree of complexity of the resulting transaction flow, the Commission Systems team designed and assisted in implementing a comprehensive system-wide transaction management system that integrated thousands of distribution partners, scores of state-by-state-approved products, and dozens of insurance carriers and underwriters. The solution provides tracking and reporting of sales transactions and derived micro-transactions in order to generate insurance sales ‘bordereaux’ reporting to the carriers/underwriters, commission reporting for the sales and referral network, surplus tax reporting, and all required premium trust fund accounting.
In addition, the solution enabled a centralized on-line functionality for customer/coverage-holder claims, customer service, and complaints submissions. Today, the system operates as a full intermediary distribution and service management platform that links a range of different carriers/underwriters offering a broad menu of each of their specialized programs, to a vast scope of consumer-facing retailers. The system enables the insurance brokerage to maintain primary care and control of data for the purposes of underwriting; evidence of coverage fulfillments; management of customer relationships; and full administration, accounting, documentation, and reporting of all receipts and remittances for all parties.
Finally, a key ancillary benefit has been that issuing carriers/underwriters now have virtually real-time insurance coverage sales reporting capability. Rather than waiting 5-10 weeks for sales volume results to be reported and semi-manually consolidated, the new platform automatically enables system-wide outcomes to be reported Next Day. By itself, that capability has the potential to save underwriters millions in operating, fulfillment, compliance, and reinsurance costs.
Fixing A Bad Sales Compensation Plan Before It Started
In 2003, a large multi-state consumer/commercial bank wanted to implement a then-popular, somewhat “off-the-shelf”, cross-sales ratio-based employee sales incentive plan, and asked the Commission Systems team to do a pre-rollout “reality-check”.
We’d seen this approach implemented a decade prior, and had observed its short-, medium-, and longer-term outcomes and effects on employee sales conduct and customer satisfaction. We knew that “the workforce will do exactly what ‘they think’ you’re asking for”, and we’d observed that while the short-term boosts to sales were impressive, we’d also observed that the medium- and long-term workforce conduct impacts were both toxic and non-compliant (and, that sales growth had flat-lined and customer satisfaction degraded).
We advised our client to make specific changes to metrics, standards and goals, management overrides, data collection methods, and oversight reporting to avoid the significant strategic risk the other program would inevitably cause. Instead of bringing severe regulatory sanction, their updated program has improved customer satisfaction, relationship profitability, and top performing workforce retention… and still in successful operation sixteen years later (with annual regulatory review and approval).
Mass-Scale Employee Incentive Automation
In 1999, a $45 billion US holding company wanted to dramatically improve the relevance, accuracy, timeliness, and usability of their employee performance improvement incentive and recognition programs across their multi-state, one-thousand-plus site sales and service network.
They needed to replace a fragmented patchwork of archaic mainframe, client-server, PC, and manual business performance tracking and reporting systems, and they did not want every line of business to use disparate business intelligence tools to build unauditable home-grown solutions. They sought a single cross-enterprise system to automatically administer an extraordinarily diverse range of sales, sales management, referral, relationship, service, accuracy, and productivity-based individual and team-based incentive plans.
In less than 90 days, they deployed the Commission Systems Managed Services solution, a mass-scale browser-based on-demand employee performance management system, via the organization’s in-house network, to over 10,000 management and key staff users. Post-month-end paper and spreadsheet reports were replaced with daily and weekly on-line, user-defined performance scorecards down to the individual employee level.
Two-dozen disparate performance data sources were integrated. Commission Systems team members validated, rationalized and formally documented employee incentive plans, scorecards, and related performance management processes, improving incentive budget effectiveness by nearly 200%, as well as preparing the enterprise for recurring regulatory audits.
In addition to these improvements, the enterprise increased velocity of information by 600%, increased sales by over 35%, and reduced costs of administering the employee performance management and incentive process by over 80%: All-inclusive System cost per employee was reduced to less than twenty cents per day.
High Velocity On-Demand Sales Management
In 2001, in the midst of extraordinary challenging market, economic, and regulatory conditions, a $15 billion East Coast USA commercial bank sought to accelerate their sales goal-setting, reporting, incentives, and management processes. Data crucial for successful employee performance and customer relationship management was fragmented and dispersed across multiple source data systems, some virtually inaccessible; even a costly and under-utilized data warehouse system was incomplete and inconsistent. Yet, to be ultra-responsive amid very fluid market conditions, sales leaders urgently needed “on-demand” sales prospecting activity, referral, and sales results management.
Collaborating with client Information Technology teams, Commission Systems team members created automated periodic extracts and unification of required information from all source data systems into the processing solutions, providing a browser-based, universally-deployed and accessible employee and CRM performance management platform. Commission Systems team members created specific performance scorecard reports for each employee job group, and enabled automatic role-based goal assignments to accelerate the employee onboarding-to-producing timeframe. Corporate financial objectives were allocated and distributed down the hierarchy, enabling full drill-down and roll-up of targets, all reported via on-demand employee up to enterprise performance scorecards, dashboards, and detail reports.
As a result of the deployment, top performing employee retention improved dramatically, the volume of cross-sales referrals tripled, sales from referrals increased two-thirds, and overall sales nearly doubled. In addition, incentive payments were accelerated from semi-annual and quarterly, to quarterly and monthly, greatly improving the alignment and relevance of employee performance and resulting rewards.
Automating Tip Distribution, Pay-Outs & Tip-Outs
On the floor in restaurants, bars, and lounges, patrons typically pay bills and tips via credit card, with the totals being reported on a waiter’s shift-end tip report. But, because of their unique service dynamics, tips to waiters are typically paid in cash: this is because waiters need to “tip-out” each other and their support teams (sharing a split of their earned tips) at the ends of their respective shifts. And, when large parties are served by a team of multiple waiters and support staff, the ending large-amount tip needs to be shared equitably by the lead waiter to all members of that team.
When tips are paid in cash, each night’s-end “tip-out” process is manual, cash-based, and conducted by and between the co-workers. But, when the platform is 300+ venues, with 10,000+ participating part- and full-time workers, and 24/7/365 operations, the volume of cash that has to be armored-trucked to the venues to pay tips (because most patron payments are credit-cards) makes the cash-method very challenging, risky, and costly: enter debit cards.
Because of the realities of employee staffing schedules, attendance and assignments, multiple-venue employment, and turnover rates, and the extensive audit requirements for all transactions, the automation solution had to be extremely, and uniquely, robust in integration with both centralized workforce management, and distributed-venue point-of-sales systems. And, operate in real-time for 24/7/365 workforce access.
In 2012, the Commission Systems team began assisting a nationwide debit card issuer in the design and development of an innovative card-based waiter tip-out platform. Beyond a simple debit-card replacement for cash tip-outs, the Commission Systems-designed solution uniquely enabled a “venue-to-employee-to-employee” tip-out capability so waiters could equitably, and electronically, receive and re-distribute shares of reported tip amounts to their participating and supporting co-workers: automating both the tip, and the tip-out, processes. At end of each day, the system settled-out the tips, tip-ins, and tip-outs, and created the automated banking instructions to fund each participating employee’s tip debit card. And, generated all of the required performance and tax reporting.
Rapid Proof-of-Concept in National Mortgage Lending
In 2006, an industry-leading nationwide online mortgage loan platform distributed to eight leading incentive compensation automation firms a detailed overview of their “most comprehensive” workforce sales and service incentive plan, with an automation proof-of-concept challenge to all to use the sample data-set, the plan documentation, and their respective systems to implement the plan and run performance and pay-out reports. The challenged firms were given two weeks to review the plan documentation and submit their clarification questions, and two weeks thereafter to implement the plan and demonstrate all reporting: a month from start to finish.
On the pre-announced “drop-date” of the plan documentation and sample data “challenge package”, three senior members of the Commission Systems team convened to review the plan documentation: one expert on source data integration, the second on system organization and participant configuration, and the third on metric algorithm and performance scorecard configuration. With thousands of incentive plan implementations under its belt, the team had deep prior experience with the type/content of provided sample source data, and all of the types of incentive-deriving metrics and performance indicators underlying the plan; the team had no need for any clarifying questions.
Within five hours from beginning review of the (fifty-five page) “challenge package”, the team had determined what they each needed to do to deploy the plan in our system, and got to work. Using the proprietary system, with its native pre-configured data integration tools, hundreds of native pre-configured metric algorithms, and scores of pre-configured reports, the team completed configuration of the system by late that very same evening (on the “drop-date”).
The following day, testing of reports was conducted, and after two scenario cycles and metric fine-tuning, the team had generated the targeted results provided by the clients. Our team demonstrated our proof-of-concept later that same afternoon: only 32 hours total after receiving the challenge package. And, learned later that only three of the other firms even completed the challenge process, with only one other accurately generating the targeted results (and only after the full thirty-day timeline). The project proved not only the viability of the plan design, but also the usefulness of the intended source data, and the relevance of the results to workforce performance improvement goals.
Mass Distribution in Merchant Services Sales
Between 2007 and 2010, a leading merchant services “super-ISO” engaged Commission Systems team members in the design, development, and implementation of an enterprise-wide performance management initiative, primarily focused on business development, sales, service, and relationship retention and profitability. With hundreds of thousands of clients, tens of thousands of sales and service reps, hundreds of sales hierarchies, thousands of products, and specialized and varying pricing and fees for every combination thereof, the complexity of integrating multiple data systems and calculating performance metrics was unprecedented.
The Commission Systems team developed an innovative approach to enable the rapid-velocity-of-change in the organization’s day-to-day sales and service operations, the frequent changes to the organization entity hierarchies, and cost/price changes, contributing to their dramatic growth in the ensuing decade.
Outsource Sales Operations & Incentive Management
In 2008, resulting from dramatic cost-reduction priorities, a multi-billion asset financial institution sought to rapidly outsource a non-core skill-set: sales operations management and incentive plan administration.
With unparalleled experience and a Systems solution that far out-performed the bank’s internal home-grown tools, Commission Systems team members transitioned the bank’s two-thousand participants to a fully outsourced browser-based solution before the next incentive deadline.
Email Marketing Performance Management & Compensation
In 2010-11, a rapidly-growing national email and social-media retail-customer-loyalty platform engaged the Commission Systems team to assist their rise to the next magnitude of volume. Their platform was strong on outreach capabilities, but limited in scope and capacity on customer loyalty and workforce and distribution system performance management. The enterprise needed to not only monitor and reward consumers for purchase activities and loyalty, but also client sales and support staff for service quality and satisfaction, and affiliate partners for their referrals and sales.
The Commission Systems solution generated multiple streams of sales and service performance metrics/analytics and compensation outcomes, transaction-by-transaction, for thousands of locations, tens of thousands of workforce, and millions of consumers. And, comprehensive customer and affiliate analytics enabled a highly-targeted “customer engagement” relationship strategy that improved loyalty levels, revenue per customer, relationship retention, and customer satisfaction, across all categories.
Automating Goal-Based Equity Compensation Programs
In 2009, an industry-leading equity compensation consulting firm engaged Commission Systems Managed Services to automate both the period-to-period calculation of equity-based compensation awards, and the Lifetime Program-to-Date totals of granted and vested awards. This included full utilization of the System’s forecasting capabilities for award probability estimate calculations.
Strategy. Process. Tools. Success.
Incentive Plan Design & Managed Services.
Better Plans. Smarter Incentives. Full Service. Top Performance.