Windsor Circle’s Compensation Philosophy

We spent some real time thinking about how we would approach compensation as a team now that we’re post-financing.  We wanted to maintain the discipline that got us to where we are, but also do a good job of executing on our values around taking care of our most important resource… our people.

Here’s where we landed (see below).  This now lives on our internal wiki so that all employees can get to it and so that we can all hold ourselves accountable to it.  In the same way that having clearly articulated our Windsor Circle Values (and trying to live by them), I think that this will help give us a “true north” when thinking about compensation.

Open to thoughts and comments…


Kicking the Doors Off the Hinges Every Day

Windsor Circle’s Compensation Philosophy

At Windsor Circle, we want people kicking the doors off the hinges to be here every day.  Part of making that a reality is giving people a fair financial compensation package and equity ownership in an exciting, high-growth company.

But money isn’t the only thing.  There are lots of places where you can make a lot of money and be miserable.  We don’t like miserable people, and don’t want them on our team.  We want hungry, ambitious, positive, fun, kooky people (and so far, that’s exactly who we’ve attracted into the Center of the Retention Automation Universe!).

We want people who love being here because it’s a meaningful place to be, with team members they really like, and extraordinary opportunities for personal growth.

So, our compensation philosophy will be guided by:

  • Fair compensation – We actively document data points externally and internally and purposefully aim for the 50th percentile of the market.

  • Equity ownership for everyone.  This is rare. We want everyone rewarded if we exit big.  This isn’t about making everyone a millionaire (that’s an incorrect expectation to set).  This is about sharing in the rewards if we get the job done and have a nice exit.

  • Loyal Citizens, Not Mercenaries – We want employees who are passionate about “us” and our mission (as “we” are hard to replicate!).  We don’t want individuals who are primarily or solely motivated by high compensation (as the highest bid is somewhat easy to replicate).  We seek loyal citizens, not mercenaries.

  • Find Diamonds in the Rough – We’re willing to take chances on smart, unproven talent.  In the first year, an inexperienced employee can expect to take a lower salary in exchange for being given significant mentoring, responsibility and experience.

  • Play to our stars – Our stars can expect higher compensation.  Not everyone can be a star, but the smartest, hardest working, most committed team members will earn special compensation for their contributions.

  • We care about the whole person.   We are intentional about our team’s health and wellness.  We work a little harder than the average bear at orienting ourselves towards taking care of our most valuable resource…  and in ways that completely “Shred the Box.”  Initially:

    • Wellness Consultant and Personalized Plans (pending)

    • Wellness Wednesdays

      • Massage (November 2014)

      • Chiropractic (pending)

      • Financial Planning (pending)

      • Flu shots, Checkups, General Health (pending)

      • Corporate Fitness Challenges and Goals (pending)

    • Telemedicine – Every employee has access to fast, convenient medical care via phone/internet. (November 2014)

    • YMCA Membership – use or lose it (8x/mo) (November 2014)

  • Optimization, not just Balance – To be clear…  we’re a venture-backed startup.  We’re not out for a nice stroll every Sunday… we want to win the Superbowl.  Expect to work ridiculously hard.  Expect to hit heights you didn’t think possible, and to be exhilarated and exhausted as we celebrate our victories.  Like an elite athlete, expect to be supported in ways that make you soar.

  • Building the Best Team Requires Letting Low Performers Go – Everyone’s outcome is dependent on performing well in every role, and if we can’t help an underperformer course correct, then we must have the courage to amicably part ways.  When we do so, we hold the respect and integrity of the individual in the highest regard.

  • Quarterly Bonuses That Reinforce Relationships – Every quarter, we name a bonus for the entire team when we hit certain revenue targets.  These aren’t financial rewards unto themselves.  They are things that draw us closer as people.  If we hit really big goals, then we additionally provide an opportunity for employees to engage their friends, family, and loved ones with a cool experience.

  • Insurance and Benefits – We will look to have a competitive health plan, with a focus on making employees healthy and well.  We will also emphasize value to the employee.  In this time of change in the healthcare environment, this means that we will leverage tax advantaged ways to deliver value, such as Health Savings Accounts.  We’re a smart bunch.  Doing a bit of thinking can add more value to our employees instead of taking a dumbed-down but more expensive standard plan. Retirement savings and other long term financial incentives will be considered as well.

Our Values Regarding Compensation

No Substitute for Ownership and Fair Compensation.

Foosball and free sodas are poor substitutes for fair financial compensation and ownership in an exciting, growth-oriented business.  Doesn’t mean that we won’t have fun.  And we’ll very likely have free soda.  But we won’t confuse the fact that our employees’ well-being, and that of their families, are of paramount importance to them.  The nice-to-haves are just that.  Nice to have.

Play to Your Stars.

Wow your top 10%. Excellence is hard to find. Once you’ve found it, secure it.

Risk * Execution^2 = Reward.

We’re building a world class software as a service company.  As a startup, we need people taking risks.  The more risk one takes, the more reward is embodied in the upside.  That said, we must execute against our plans to mitigate the risks, or the reward will never materialize.  So, risk times execution squared will be the lens we peer through as we think about financial compensation for members of our team.

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