Management Bonuses - How to Create a Successful System


Successful business owners recognize that their company's financial health is directly attributable to the staff providing care and education to their young customers, and the success of the staff is directly attributable to the leadership provided in the school. How then does a business owner appropriately reward management team members for their success, while creating an atmosphere of healthy spending and empowerment?

Successful bonuses programs are aggressive and generous, typically rewarding both the Director and Assistant Director of a school. It is vital that the program is easy for the manager to understand and track with a direct correlation to actions in his/her control. In addition, we have seen that the best programs provide a significant reward of up to 25% of a manager's compensation in bonus.

Our preferred methodology for calculating bonuses includes a complete financial picture of the school including three components - revenue, expenses, and accounts receivable management.

Considering only one aspect of this formula could have the unintended consequence of rewarding unhealthy behavior. For instance, it is not difficult to enroll and sustain a customer if tuition is not collected timely, and it is not difficult to maintain enrollment if staff costs are overspent. None of the three components of a successful bonus plan can be ignored for a financially healthy plan. Another consideration is how to change a compensation package from a straight salary to a lower salary plus bonus.

Successful transitions include a time period-often a year-in which the new system is implemented, but the former annual salary is guaranteed to the manager. What this accomplishes is a year to train the manager to receive financial data, understand the bonus system and how it relates to the financial data, and learn how to make changes that affect the health of the school. Another important goal is for the manager to feel that the former salary is not only achievable under the new system, but that it can be exceeded.

We often are asked what an appropriate compensation is for a manager, and our quick answer is "as much as possible!" When a Director is financially successful and motivated, then the staff is successful and motivated, thus creating excellent schools with successful business owners. For more information about this, or any other financial related topic, please contact us at

ArticlesJaclyn Lintern