How Choosing the Right Tool Makes All the Difference for Fractional CFO Clients

Right Tool_blog

One of the ways we make sure our business owner clients achieve their goals for sustainability and growth is to get face time with them on a regular basis. We sit down together every month, online or in person, and check in on how things are going. We learn what’s happening in their businesses, what plans they have for what’s coming next, talk through challenges they may be facing, and put strategies in place to support them.

These monthly meetings have proven themselves again and again to be invaluable, not only to the working relationship between KBS CFO and our clients, but for the businesses themselves. Sitting down together and talking things out always brings out the best in all of the players at the table. Something about it just results in golden ideas and great results. It’s an invaluable tool we use to serve our business clients’ needs. 

In one such recent client meeting we were discussing their desire to put together an incentive compensation plan for their employees. This business owner had assembled an amazing team and wanted to make sure they felt valued and rewarded for their contributions. This came from a place of real interest in treating the employees well, but also from the angle of employee retention. 

Employee turnover can be wildly disruptive to small businesses. When you get great players on the team, you don’t want to lose them, especially to something you could have mitigated against, like compensation. So this business owner wanted to talk about putting an incentive compensation plan in place. As their fractional CFO, I was more than ready to weigh in and put the right tool to work to get the best results.

The focus of our conversation turned to motivation. See, the thing is, yes, employees are undoubtedly motivated by money. It’s the primary reason most people work, right? However, money isn’t the only motivator by far and if your team is being paid a fair and competitive salary for their respective roles, simply throwing more money at them can have diminishing returns.

Once again, you don’t want to try to fix the problem with the wrong tool. 

As soon as we started talking about incentive compensation, I knew that the right KBS CFO tool to apply to the solution would be a team member we have that has a depth of experience and understanding about these very issues. Her background made her the best suited to the task of getting to the root of what would really motivate this client’s employees. 

Spoiler alert? Money wasn’t the right tool to apply to the situation.

This KBS CFO team member (the right “tool” for this particular job) took the client on a much deeper dive, trying to determine the underlying motivations of the client’s staff. What makes them come to work everyday? Why do they love working for your business and make the choice every day to be on your team?  

Through the conversation, the client further and further distilled down what the staff really wants and is motivated by in order to come up with valuable incentives to offer in the compensation plan that would actually motivate. In the end, yes, this included money, but other things come out of it, too. What challenges do they face that make it harder for them to do their jobs effectively? Turns out, there were a few things and they weren’t solely based around money. 

Expense reimbursement was a tedious process and demotivating to staff so we addressed that. The team lacked an admin support person so we recommended they hire one to take some of the load off other team members’ plates so each team member could focus on what they do best. 

Other teams may value a flexible schedule, a generous PTO plan, or the option to work from home or the office, depending on how and where the individual works best. Whatever the “tool” is, you have to uncover it and that takes much more careful consideration.

Just like the team at KBS CFO applied our best tool to the problem (enlisting the help of the person on our team who could do this deep discovery work) our clients put together an incentive compensation plan that was full of the right tools to get the job done of valuing the staff and avoiding turnover. 

I am so proud of this kind of work that we do with our clients. It goes way beyond books and numbers. We get to know them and what they really need to not only sustain their business but also to grow it, thoughtfully and intentionally. 

Are you putting the right tools to work for you in your business? Schedule a call with KBS CFO to see how we do things differently to help our clients do more.