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Hamilton, the Musical Leads the Way for Forward Thinking Compensation

We know that joining a company upon college graduation and staying there for the next forty years until you retire is as obsolete as the horse and buggy. Commitment to friends, family, and living a good life far outweigh commitment to company in today's world.

That is not to say that people don't commit to their jobs; they do. We find in companies for which we consult that projects receive equally passionate attention from partners and employees alike. If you love what you do, you are committed to doing it really, really well. That said, however, if something comes along that might be better for you and your life, you will make the move.

Last week the exceptional musical Hamilton announced their new plan to share the wealth with the show’s author, its star, and all the players in it. Hamilton is first to market with the idea of “profit sharing” for a Broadway Show. This, of course, opens the door to the idea that profit sharing shouldn't be just for those companies that have strict structures and huge income. Maybe more entrepreneurs will follow the example of Hamilton’s writer and composer, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and will start to see profit sharing as an opportunity: Sharing the wealth above and beyond just paying salaries and strict commissions may enable productions to attract the best and the brightest and create a work environment that sings of energy and success.

There are many ways to attack this, even if you are a start-up on a shoestring.


Someone in your organization is excellent and you want to keep them, but you’re paying the highest salary you can. Add other things. Cell phone reimbursement. A Metro Monthly Card charged to their business credit card. One dinner out a month on the company card. Creative things for their lifestyle enhancement that also remind them of the benefits of working together.


This year at Blue Shoe we revoked vacation for those on full time payroll. When I first said it, there was dead silence, but then I explained that I think time off is a must. For example, I often leave during the afternoon to clear my head at a movie. I will take a Wednesday off to meet with a friend who is only in New York for one day during the week. Hey, I work many a Saturday and Sunday, but that's not the point. I report only to myself and my clients, so I can do that.

Now Blue Shoers can do it too, because nobody works here who is not committed to the win. And to completing their obligations to our clients and our company. So they should take a week off here or there as many times a year as they want. They just make sure their work is done or covered. And if there is a doctor's appointment, everyone makes sure it's on their calendar that they are out of pocket. That's our strategy, and so far, so good.

Project Bonus

Have a great project your company just finished that everyone knows was profitable? Take ten percent off the top of the project income and spread it out as a project bonus. No future commitment there for years to come of year end bonuses, but an acknowledgement to the team that even though you are growing and not able to pay Wall Street bonuses annually, you are committed to giving bonuses when you can.

So, let's all follow Hamilton's excellent example of how to be profitable, and let’s come up with creative ways to make the paycheck part of the compensation, but not all of it.

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