How We Pay

How compensation is calculated and the benefits you receive are determined by the relationship you have with the company. Employees can be either Full-Time or Part-Time as per the definitions below and as confirmed by their Employee Agreement.

Full-Time is someone who has committed to work for the company for the foreseeable future (there is no end date in mind), they are paid according to the company’s salary ranges for the role they hold, they have committed to be available and working during our regular work week, and they take vacation according to our time away plan.

Part-Time is someone who has committed to work for the company on a part-time, hourly basis, for the foreseeable future (there is no end date in mind) and they are paid within the company’s hourly rate range for the role that they hold (for greater certainty they are not paid a premium for temporary work as an Independent Contractor).

Full-Time and Part-Time employees have the following benefits:

  Retirement Savings Health Insurance Time Away Profit Sharing Buy Out Bonus Expenses Separation
Full-Time ✔ ✔
(US or Canada)
✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔
Part-Time ✖ ✖ ✔
(4% stat)
✔ ✖ ✔ ✔

 

Roles

Within the company we have the following roles and responsibilities. Typically a person holds one role but in some circumstances they may hold 2. For example, a Scrum Master and another role:

Role Responsibilities
Scrum Master Makes all work visible,
Narrows WIP and eliminates context switching,
Always improves (Scrum the Scrum) how the team works, and
Consistently increases velocity and happiness week over week.
Product Owner Knows and continuously reviews and updates our ideal customer profile(s),
Is a domain expert with digital signage, our products, services, and applications, and the tools, processes and technology required to deliver and support them,
Prioritizes to solve real problems first by greatest reach, highest KPI impact, confidence (lowest risk), least effort, greatest revenue gain (RICER),
Manages all supplier relationships required to deliver the product and services reliably and profitably,
Knows and shares their KPI’s and consistently improves them month over month,
Works iteratively, building, measuring and learning,
Always has 2 sprints of epic ready backlog, and
Delivers their epics on schedule and on budget.
Developer Is a domain expert with digital signage, our products, services, and applications, and the tools, processes and technology required to create, deliver and support them,
Starts with design,
The design turns the complex into the simple, it is shared, easily reviewed, and agreed to,
Embraces and includes reliability tracking and logging wherever appropriate,
Delivers error free with full test coverage,
Continuously eliminates, never adds to, technical debt,
A git master who embraces pull request peer review,
Drives continuous deployment speed and innovation.
Designer Is a domain expert with digital signage, our products, services, and applications, and the tools, processes and technology required to create, deliver and support them,
Understands and applies principles of design – always improves the function and experience of everything we create.
Understands and confirms the problem to be solved, how we measure success and the jobs to be done, with data, video and interviews,
Iterates the design from lowest fidelity to highest,
Iterations provide context and reasons, are thorough and complete, feedback coordinated and collated,
Continuously eliminates, never adds to technical or experiential debt, and
When ready seamlessly delivers design to development.
Support Manager Manage the self serve experience and support next issue avoidance practices and customer perception engineering to reduce self serve failures, customer effort, 7 day repeat contacts and the support touch index, while increasing priority support subscriptions.
Support Representative Is a domain expert with digital signage, our products, services, and applications, and the tools, processes and technology required to deliver and support them, and is able to articulate decisions as to why, and how, we do the things we do,
Resolves user issues with the fewest touches (customer effort) possible,
Practices next issue avoidance and eliminates repeat contacts within 7 days,
Understands and practices customer perception engineering, and
Finds and collates issues, tests and verifies new releases and fixes, to achieve zero defects.
Technical Writer Continuously lowers the Self Serve Failure index,
Is a domain expert with digital signage, our products and applications, and the tools, processes and technology required to deliver them, and is able to articulate decisions as to why, and how, we do the things we do,
Creates and maintains self serve getting started, reference and how to documentation and videos,
Develops and delivers in-person and online training, and
Develops and maintains embedded coaching that rewards (gamifies) with digital signage certification programs.
Customer Success Representative Is a domain expert with digital signage, our products and applications, and the tools, processes and technology required to deliver them, and is able to articulate decisions as to why, and how, we do the things we do,
Continuously increases customer’s lifetime value to achieve 0% or less revenue churn,
Helps customers get more value from our products and services,
Closes “good fit” existing account leads, and
Secures referrals and testimonials.
Project Manager Is a domain expert with digital signage, our products and applications, and the tools, processes and technology required to deliver them, and is able to articulate decisions as to why, and how, we do the things we do,
Manages all aspects of the client and vendor relationships to ensure we deliver the customer’s solution, on schedule and budget, for the least effort on their part, they are happy, and we secure their referral and testimonial, and
Identifies client sales opportunities and improvements and at the end of every project hands to Customer Success Representative for follow-up.
Controller Manage funds; maintain average AR days of 30 days or less, pay all disbursements on time, and ensure control of all assets,
Provide accurate financial reporting for the previous month with analysis to the company by the 8th business day of the current month,
Keep accurate accounting data for management and regulatory reporting, ensuring timely compliance with all applicable Canadian and US regulations,
Delegate, train, and review work of Accounting staff and provide coverage when absent, and
Proactively make changes to accounting systems in accordance with changes in the company’s business, policies, and applicable laws
Accountant Verify and document all costs and accurately allocate to correct accounts and departments,
Process monthly payroll and contract disbursements on time and accurately,
Ensure accurate customer billing and allocation to correct accounts and departments, and manage timely collection of all AR,
Keep all bank and credit card accounts reconciled as of the end of previous business day,
File, pay and reconcile all sales tax on or before due date, and
Respond to peers, customers and vendors in a timely manner.
Team Leader Know what resources you need to achieve your objectives and make sure that your capacity is equal to the expectations,
Spend money wisely, manage the expenses of your team,
Meet for one-on-one’s at least once per quarter with every member of your team and come away with an improved mutual understanding of how we can work better together,
Conduct peer and compensation reviews at least once every three quarters with every member of your team,
Continuously improve how we work; make everything repeatable (defined processes, systems, tools and documentation), measurable (KPI’s, metrics and targets), expandable (recruiting and onboarding) and provide on-going embedded coaching to build and support the team, and
If necessary move struggling team members to a different role where they can succeed, and failing that work with them to move on to different employment, and every step of the way be completely candid and transparent with the team member as to what the problems are and what needs to be corrected.
Marketing Manager Maintain a 120% or higher New Accounts and Leads 26 week growth rate and
Develop and manage the public website, content marketing, social media, advertising and events while continuously lowering the cost of acquisition of New accounts and Leads.
Sales Outbound Rep Is a domain expert with digital signage, our products and applications, and the tools, processes and technology required to deliver them, and is able to articulate decisions as to why, and how, we do the things we do,
Sources target accounts that match our ideal customer profiles,
Prospects target accounts to create and qualify sales opportunities, and
Passes “good fit” qualified leads to New Business Representatives that meet or exceed goals.
Sales Inbound Representative Is a domain expert with digital signage, our products and applications, and the tools, processes and technology required to deliver them, and is able to articulate decisions as to why, and how, we do the things we do, and
Qualifies inbound inquiries and passes “good fit” qualified leads to New Business Representatives that meet or exceed goals.
Sales New Business Representative Is a domain expert with digital signage, our products and applications, and the tools, processes and technology required to deliver them, and is able to articulate decisions as to why, and how, we do the things we do, and
Close “good fit” new account leads to meet or exceed goals.
VP Customer Success Maintain our ideal customer profiles and their corresponding journeys and success vectors.
Identify and correct journey gaps to achieve 1% or less account churn.
Capture journey opportunities to increase the percent of users who are customers and achieve 0% or less revenue churn, while moving customers up through the success vectors to achieve greater aggregate customer lifetime value to double self serve gross profit year over year.
Deliver all customer messaging as one cohesive voice to support and achieve all of the above key performance indicators.
Manage the self serve experience and support next issue avoidance practices and customer perception engineering to reduce self serve failures, customer effort, 7 day repeat contacts and the support touch index, while increasing priority support subscriptions.
VP Sales & Marketing Defines and continuously maintains our ideal customer profile(s),
Doubles Bookings Growth month over month (Moving Annual Total over previous year Moving Annual Total – target 100%)
Maintain Qualified Leads Growth of 120% or higher (Week Total over 26 Week Average Total)
Maintain New Account Sign Up Growth (Week Total over 26 Week Average Total)
CEO Safeguards transparency, inclusivity, equal opportunity and honesty,
Create opportunities for learning and innovation,
Balance challenge and happiness (we are inspired to return to work on Monday),
Hold the product road map (invest in products and services that matter), and
Increase profit year over year.

 

Interpersonal Skills

How skilled you are with your role is an important factor in compensation, but, how we work and support each other is also significant. We refer to these as interpersonal skills and they include:

  • Communication (listens to understand, speaks to be understood, has strong convictions loosely held, is polite and respectful, but not at the cost of candor)
  • Focus (lives scrum, works kanban style, applies lean, solves real problems)
  • Learn (constantly self educating, sharing, teaching and coaching, delegates down)
  • Innovate (continuously improves how we work within our teams to serve our customers)
  • Quality (delivers quality, fixes issues immediately, embraces zero defects)
  • Empathy (thinks of coworkers and customers first)
  • Wonder (doesn’t doubt it can be done, wonders how we can do it – energetic and positive)
  • Transparent (honest with themselves and others, shares with all, does not direct message anyone)
  • Public (regularly publishes to the blog, speaks at events)

Peer Review

It is up to every person in the company to coordinate their peer review and this should happen not more than oncer per quarter, and at least once every three quarters.

Peer review starts with confirming with your team lead on the roles that you have, the content of your Peer Review survey, and who the recipients of it should be.

The recipients of your survey include yourself and your team members, and anyone else that you have worked with in a significant way since your last review. You start with your self assessment, you review you, and then once done you ask your reviewers to grade you. The assessment of your Role Responsibilities and Interpersonal Skills is done according to the following scale:

  • 0 – I have no understanding of what the role is or how to do it.
  • 1 – I know how to do it but I achieve it inconsistently.
  • 2 – I know how to do it and I consistently achieve it.
  • 3 – I know how to do it, I achieve it consistently, I am innovating and improving how we do it, and I am teaching others how to do it.

The average of the ratings for each of your responsibilities defines your overall Role Responsibility rating and the same is calculated for your Interpersonal Skills.

The company does not impose confidentiality restrictions on the results of a review or the determination of compensation from it as described in the next section. We leave it up to the person being reviewed to decide if they want to share this information or not. If they don’t, the information is considered confidential, otherwise the reviewee is free to share the conclusions and their lessons learned with others, including the final determination of their compensation as described in the next section if they so choose.

Calculating Recommended Compensation

Every role has a minimum and maximum base compensation level that is reviewed and determined from market rates by http://www.payscale.com. The Roles and their Compensation ranges are listed here and the market reports from Payscale are available here. We may apply an adjustment factor to the market rates as we might not always agree with how the market values a role – so far we do, but this might change in the future.

We use two geographic reference points to establish our market rates; Toronto, Ontario, Canada and Kansas City, Missouri, USA and we compare ourselves to firms of our size and within the software as a service industry. If you are a resident of Canada, regardless of where in Canada, we use the Toronto market and Canadian dollars. And if you live anywhere else outside of Canada we use the Kansas City market and American dollars.

There are 4 factors that we apply to determine where someone should fall within the minimum and maximum range for a position. They include our peer determined Role Responsibility and Interpersonal Skill scores, how long we have been with the company (Loyalty), and if we have Leadership responsibilities.

Loyalty is calculated as the length of time a person has been with the company in years divided by 10 with a max score of 100%. After 10 years with the company we do not think there is much difference in accumulated knowledge of the person who has been here 10 years, versus someone who has spent 15 years with us.

Leadership is determined by dividing the number of people you lead (either as Scrum Master or Team Lead) by the number 6 with a max score of 100%. We set the maximum to 6 as we don’t believe leadership of more than 6 people is effective.

We give each of these 4 factors the following weight in our calculation:

  • 40% Role Responsibilities
  • 30% Interpersonal Skills
  • 20% Loyalty
  • 10% Leadership

The weights are applied within our salary formula to determine the recommended compensation as per the following formula:

Recommended Compensation = Min Compensation + (Max Compensation – Min Compensation) * (0.40 * Role Score + 0.30 * Interpersonal Score + 0.20 * Loyalty + 0.10 * Leadership)

 

The compensation calculation result is a guideline, not a fixed rule. If someone is scoring consistently for 2 to 3 quarters in a row higher than their current compensation then the person under review should be recommended by their team leader for a raise. If they score consistently lower we won’t take compensation away but the person being reviewed and their team leader need to get the performance differences addressed.

Sales and Marketing Team Commission

1.5 percent of all sales booked in the previous month are contributed to a commission pool. 5% of the pool is paid to those who hold Marketing roles in proportion to their base salaries, and the remaining 95% is paid to those who hold Sales roles in proportion to their base salaries. Commissions are paid at the end of the current month for all sales booked in the previous month.

A Marketing or Sales person does not join the pool until they have passed their defined probationary periods.

Profit Sharing

In addition to base compensation everyone who has been with the company for 3 months or longer and are Full-Time or Part-Time, partakes in profit sharing. Profit sharing is not a component of the role compensation minimum and maximum ranges. It is paid in addition to that compensation and what it pays depends upon a wide number of factors including seasonality, what investments we have chosen to make at the time, etc. Profit sharing pays 25% of the 6 month moving average operating profit on a cash basis as of the previous month, at the end of the current month. The profit sharing amount is paid out equally to all Full-Time employees and proportionately for Part-Time employees based on actual hours worked, up to the max of their total base compensation for the current month. In other words the most you can earn in profit sharing in any given month is the amount of your base compensation which could effectively double your wages. All calculations are adjusted to Canadian dollars as of the current month’s foreign exchange rate.

For example let’s say there are 8 people partaking in profit sharing in our example company. This month there is enough in the profit pool to pay the full base compensation of the 2 lowest base compensation earners, the next 2 and the 2 after that, but there is not enough to fully match the 2 highest earners and they will receive the amount paid out to the tier immediately below them.

Profit sharing experiment

Knowing how the company is doing based upon the profit allocation you receive is a good first step, but it is only part of the story. To align everyone within the company and to make sure that we have all of the facts that we need to make decisions, day in and day out, we must understand what makes up that profit. To this end the financials of the company are reviewed and discussed with everyone at the close of every month. Everyone needs to know how we make our profit so that they can independently make better decisions. The end result is everyone knows how we are doing, where we have problems and opportunities, and they are rewarded for the decisions that they make based upon that knowledge by the profit we share.

Company Purchase Bonus

For greater certainty, we are not running the company with an exit strategy in mind. We are running the company to create a great place to work that provides a good work life balance and that does great things for our customers, and along the way we make money, and we share those profits with our co-workers. We are not ramping the company up to sell it.

However, if majority ownership of the company is sold, which is not the plan so no one should join us with this exit in mind, and you are Full-Time with the company, you receive a portion of the purchase price. Your portion of the buy out is equal to the number of completed years you have been with the company over the number of completed years every other current Full-Time person has been with the company, not including majority shareholders who may be Full-Time with the company as of the buy out, multiplied by 5% of the price paid for the company.

For example. As of the time of this writing the company has 32 employees. 2 of whom are major shareholders and as such they are not included. The remaining 30 employees have in total 129 completed years with the company. You are currently Full-Time and been with the company for 12 years and seven months and the company was just purchased for $20,000,000. Your portion of the proceeds is equal to your 12 completed years over 129 multiplied by 5% of $20,000,000 = $93,023.

Expenses

Expense coverage applies to Full and Part-Time people and we don’t typically cover the expenses of Contractor’s except for extraordinary circumstances agreed to in advance.

Given that we work from home we expect that what we save in commuting costs and eating out covers home expenses for a quiet space in our house and our personal Internet services. We don’t cover the costs associated with the setup and maintenance of your home office – including furniture, chairs, etc. Further, we do not cover the costs of cell phone plans or cell phones, unless the hardware is explicitly needed for testing purposes. The company provides VOIP based phones for those who need to be on the phone with customers and third parties on a regular basis and data mobile hotspots if travelling and connectivity is required.

All other expenses related to computing hardware, software, travel, etc. required for company related work is covered by us subject to approval by your Team Leader.

Retirement Savings

If you have been with the company for 3 months or longer and you are Full-Time you can contribute an amount of your choosing to a retirement savings plan and the company will match your contribution up to an amount equal to the lower of:

  • 5% of your earnings,
  • the amount you contributed, or
  • 50% of the maximum contribution allowed by law in any given calendar year

US Employee Health Insurance

If you are Full-Time and you reside in the US we provide health insurance from the first of the month following 90 days of employment. The company pays 60% of your medical insurance premium and 75% for vision and dental insurance. It includes partial coverage for dental and vision and a flexible spending plan.

Canadian Employee Group Insurance

If you have been with the company for 3 months or longer, you are Full-Time, and you reside in Canada, we have extended coverage that pays for most of the costs of prescription drugs, dental and other health services, and it further provides a small life insurance policy and long term disability plan.

Work Days, Weekends and Vacations

To be creative we need to have rest and separation from our work. Separation gives us the space to have original thought and not mindlessly pursue the same old. With this in mind:

  • Keep the work day to what has proven to be most effective. Working about 8 hours a day, 35 hours per week, is apparently optimum for most human types.
  • Take at least one, and preferably two days of every week to unplug completely.
  • Take a vacation every quarter. A real vacation, not a working holiday. All Full-Time people have 6 weeks (30 workdays) after their first year, 7 weeks (35 workdays) after 2 years, and 8 weeks (40 workdays) after another 2 years. It’s important to note that time away for us includes sick days, stat days, and holidays. If you are Part-Time we include 4% vacation pay with your regular earnings. When planning vacations you need to coordinate with your peers to make sure that your team has coverage during our workdays and that you have delegated to your designates with authority and full disclosure of everything that they must cover. Time away is not cumulative, you use it, or you lose it, and it is up to you to track your time away and make sure that you stick within these guidelines.

By providing this work life balance we expect people not to use their remaining waking hours and vacations to work on side projects that leave them exhausted. If you are full-time, focus full-time on us, and when not working, rest and enjoy. If you want to work for us and do side projects, that’s no problem, be Part-Time or Contract.

Separation

For both Full-Time and Part-Time people within the first 3 months of working together one or both of us may decide that this isn’t ideal and we can end working together at anytime.

If you are Full-Time or Part-Time and you have been with company for 3 months or longer and you decide to leave the company, we ask that you give us 2 weeks notice proportionally for every year you have worked here. We may be able to work out something that is quicker, but in general, giving us as much notice as possible is ideal. If the company decides that we don’t have a good fit and let’s you go, we will pay you a severance equivalent to the same notice that we ask for, 2 weeks for every year that you have worked for the company and an equivalent proportion for any part year. If you are Part-Time we will use the average hours worked per week over the last 3 months to calculate the hours per week paid in severance. For both Full-Time and Part-Time we will further include statutory vacation pay of 4% for any amount owed to you for the current year and if you have used more vacation than that amount we don’t deduct it from your severance. We expect you to return all property that belongs to the company but if you want to keep anything we will try, at our discretion, to provide it to you at it’s current book value and these amounts will be deducted from your final severance.

We have no notice requirements and pay no severance for Contractors.