What Changes Are Employers Making to Retirement Benefits?

"In yesterday’s Advisor, we presented the first set of results from our 2014 Retirement Benefits Survey. Today, more survey results plus an introduction to the all-things-compensation-in-one-place website, Compensation.BLR.com"

Changes Contemplated

Our survey shows that 9.8% of employers plan to add or make changes to their 2015 retirement benefits package, 64.9% of employers have no additions or changes planned, and 25.3% are not certain at this point in time.

For those that are planning to add or make changes to their retirement benefits, 27.4% are planning to add a defined contribution plan such as a 401(k), 403(b), or Roth 401(k), and 20.8% are planning to increase their employer match to their existing defined contribution plan, while 6.6% are planning to reduce the level of their employer match.


Retirement Benefits? Results Are In! Survey Says …

"Results are in for our 2014 Retirement Benefits Survey. Here are some highlights: "
  • 86.6% of the employers responding to our 2014 survey offer either a 401(k) or 403(b) retirement savings plan to employees.
  • 60.3% of the employers responding to our survey that offer a 401(k) or 403(b) plan to their employees also provide a matching contribution.
  • 41.4% of employers match employee contributions dollar-for-dollar. 31.3% go 50 cents on the dollar.
  • Other retirement benefits offered by our survey participants include: defined benefit plans (23.7%), Roth 401(k) (33.2%), 457 plan (13%), profit sharing (22.7%), stock options (3.9%), employee stock ownership plan (7.2%), union-sponsored pension plan (2.6%), and/or SIMPLE or SEP (4.3%).


Windfalls and Changing the Terms of Commission Agreements

"In yesterday’s Advisor, Attorney Allen Kato gave tips for avoiding litigation related to commission agreements. Today, more on commission vesting, plus we announce a new webinar on salary communication."

Vesting of Commissions

One particularly difficult sticking point with commission agreements is failing to define what is supposed to happen if a sale is canceled or the terms need to be renegotiated.

One solution that eliminates many problems is to state that a draw or advance becomes a vested commission only after all conditions on vesting have been removed (e.g., vested only after customer’s time to cancel has expired, and/or terms have been accepted by customer with no right of renegotiation).


Bad Commission Agreements—Lawsuit Magnet

"A badly written (or nonexistent) commission agreement is the primary reason for litigation over sales compensation, says Attorney Allen M. Kato."

Sales compensation litigation is especially tricky because commissioned salespeople are particularly litigious. They are trained to read complicated agreements, and they will find the bad provisions.

Furthermore, sales personnel are very persuasive speakers—that’s why you hired them—and they’re likely to be able to convince the court of their interpretation of the commission agreement.


5 Levels of Leadership—Where Do You Fall?

"My youngest son came home from school the other day with a packet of information from one of his coaches. Included in the packet was a sheet of paper titled “The Leadership Continuum.” It outlines five levels of leadership and what is necessary to demonstrate each. I hadn’t seen this before, but after reading it, I thought it was certainly applicable not just to team sports but also to the team environment in the workplace."

Here are the five levels of leadership as defined in this continuum:

1. Leading Yourself

Included in the definition of self-leadership are character development and core values. In my book, that includes the types of choices you’re making in your personal and work life. Do you act with integrity? Do you put in an honest day’s work? Do you treat others with respect? I consider this passing the “mom test.” Do you behave in a way that would make your mother proud?


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