Dollars & Cents

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Among these 101 companies, compensation takes many forms — salary, commission, bonus, profit sharing, retirement plans, paid benefits, time off and a list of perks limited only by your imagination.

June 01, 2002
TK Constructors superintendent Roger Steppe likes the company-supplied perks — a truck, a monthly gas allowance and a cell phone. “It says to me that I am appreciated.

Among these 101 companies, compensation takes many forms — salary, commission, bonus, profit sharing, retirement plans, paid benefits, time off and a list of perks limited only by your imagination. What all these firms share, however, is a compensation philosophy: Pay the best and expect the best in return.

At TK Constructors, a Muncie, Ind., on-your-lot builder founded in 1990, compensation helps owner Mark Thurston attract the talent to reach a goal of 600 homes built by 2005. Susan Desmond, TK’s first administrative employee in 1990 and now a vice president, says: “The compensation philosophy is to help people get what they want and know that in doing so the company will automatically receive what it wants.”

To get the satisfied customers and profitable growth it wants, TK counts on a team of 110 full- and part-time employees. To keep this team in place and motivated, the organization relies on several compensation strategies:

 

 

 

 

  • Commercial pay scales: TK measures its compensation against commercial/industrial contractors in its Indiana/Ohio/Kentucky trading area. In addition, the sales and construction staffs receive quarterly performance bonuses.

     

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  •  Profit pool: Once TK meets a preset net profit on each house, anything above that figure goes into a pool shared by all employees, with the number of shares dependent upon job title.

     

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  •  Benefits: TK provides employees with a 100% company-paid health plan after two years of service and a 10% corporate match on all 401(k) contributions. In addition, exercise facilities, whirlpools and saunas as well as complete locker rooms are available for all employees at company offices.

     

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  •  Perks: Construction superintendents and managers get new trucks every three years, a monthly gas allowance and cell phones. All employees share in companywide social events — picnics, Christmas parties, etc.

    For superintendent Roger Steppe, who joined the organization in 2000, TK offers the opportunity to love his job and achieve financial stability. After more than a decade working for other builders and as an independent contractor, Steppe says his current compensation package is “unmatched by other companies in this business. I know that if the company does well, then we all do well. What it says to me as an employee is that I am appreciated. That creates a lot of loyalty from where I’m sitting.”

    Much like TK Constructors, Arlington, Texas-based Choice Homes blends the ideal of hiring the best and expecting the best in return. “We’re all paid well to perform our jobs,” says Sherrill Wallace, sales director in Amarillo, Texas. But where Choice has succeeded in uniting the efforts of its all-stars in a common purpose is through its bonus program. The bonus structure is based on predetermined profit objectives set at the be-ginning of each year. A portion of the profits in excess of those objectives is divided equally among the company’s 375 employees in Texas and Georgia.

    “In 2001 every employee averaged a $5,600 bonus,” says Wallace, “because as a group we had an incentive, a goal we could all get behind."

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