When Landscape Workshop decided they wanted to build trust with employees, the best option was to have a more open culture with staff.

The first step management took sharing financial information with account managers and up.

“In essence, they’re running a business,” says J.T. Price, CEO of the company. “For us to ask them to run that business without giving them information on how they’re doing seems to not be a reasonable thing.”

Once a month, the company has a meeting to share the financial results of the whole company and the different branches.

“The more information we give our guys, the more they’re going to be able to make good decisions for themselves,” Price says.

The second step the company took was to set up a profit sharing incentive plan for account managers and general managers. Currently, this includes 50 of the company’s 300-500 employees, depending on the time of year.

“I would love to include our field managers, but I don’t have enough data to be sure I’m linking payments to performance,” Price says.

Ten percent of each person’s base salary is put in the “pot” and if the company hits the budget, they get 10 percent. If the company exceeds its goal, the number goes up, and if the goal isn’t reached, the number goes down.

The determination for this goal is two-fold: one is how profitable was the branch that specific employee works in, and two is what kind of customer retention rate did that branch have.

If your company is interested in a program like this, Price says you’re not the only ones. Incentive programs aren’t unique to the industry, but a successful program comes from good company communication.

“The last thing you want is any member of your team not getting the number they were expecting,” he says.

It’s important to communicate how the program works. Landscape Workshop had employees asking questions at the end of the year about things that should have been addressed earlier. Price says if he had been clearer and given more information, his employees wouldn’t have been confused.

“At the end of the day, we want to align all these folks with the management and shareholders of the business,” says Price. “Our goals in the long term are to provide great customer service and to be reasonably profitable.”