This article accompanies Keeping Key Leaders.
Debra Farmer, an account executive at Burnham Benefits Insurance Services, a benefits-consulting firm based in Irvine, Calif., has developed incentive programs for acquired execs. She says the following steps can help build an effective total executive reward strategy:
* Analyze the executive's existing benefits and perks. How do they compare with those offered by your company?
* Benchmark incentives and benefits. What is the marketplace offering that can bridge potential gaps?
* Invite key players in your organization to conduct deep interviews with the senior executives you want joining your company. You'll get different perspectives about what makes them happy or unhappy, and what perks would persuade them to come aboard.
* Offer long-term incentives, such as bonuses, and soft-dollar incentives to pad gaps either on the compensation or incentive side. Farmer says the top three motivators for all employees -- including execs -- are paid time off and benefits, followed by salary.
* Rank, on a 1-to-10 scale, both the relevancy of the executive's role and value to your organization. What do these executives bring to the table? That will help determine the level of incentives to offer.
* Share your findings with finance, including related industry or survey metrics. Lay out what you want to offer and why.
* Start the negotiation process after finance has signed off.