It’s hard to underestimate the importance of having really great installation crews. Not surprisingly, it’s a real challenge coming up with a compensation plan that is fair to both the installer and the company with a strong emphasis on the positive. Ed Wright of Incounters, in Abilene, Texas, seems to have hit upon a really great method that is all about continuous improvement.
“We pay our installers on a sliding scale based on feedback from the customer and from the Incounters management team,” Wright explains. “It’s in the installers’ hands to determine whether they are paid at the highest level or something less than that, depending on their performance.”
A Sliding Scale
This is how it works: Every day, each team is rated on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being the highest) in several categories such as, timeliness, attitude, jobsite cleanliness, truck/trailer cleanliness and quality of installation. The data are compiled from an Internet-based survey completed by Incounters personnel and its customers. The results are downloaded into an Excel spreadsheet and automatically tabulated. At the end of two weeks the installation team receives an average score for each category and a final composite score.
“If a crew has a score 1.4 or lower they are paid at the highest rate,” Wright says. “The next level is somewhere around 2.8, and so on for each subsequent level. We share all of the survey data with the installers so they know what they are doing well and where they need improvement.”
Do Better Next Time
The really great thing about this compensation plan is that every two weeks the totals are reset and each crew starts out with a fresh slate for the next pay period. So, let’s say an installation team has issues with leaving a job site clean, which irritates the customers who, in turn, give the installers a lower rating on cleanliness.
Too many of those and their pay scale drops during that two week period. The very next pay period they have the chance to immediately increase their score – and their income – by making adjustments to the way they work, which is reflected in their paycheck.
Another bonus is the only people the installers are competing with are themselves. Each installation team has the potential to earn the highest pay rate every pay period.
“At first the installers were a little leery about the program,” Wright explains. “They thought this was just another way for the company to pay them less money. At our installers meeting I explained that I was happy to pay the top wage to each of them. What we were trying to avoid was extra money going out the door to remake a countertop, or pay for a charge-back from the builder for a scraped wall or a dirty jobsite. If we could eliminate those extra expenses we would be thrilled to pay the installers more for their great work.”
So it’s win/win/win. Incounters is able to raise the level of the customer experience, mistakes are reduced and the installers have the chance to consistently make more money.
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