I frequently come across interesting information that, while not lending itself to a full blog post, is still worth sharing. This post is the first of a periodic series in which I summarize this information and provide links for those who want to learn more.
• In previous posts, we've discussed a troubling trend in the workplace -- lack of engagement among large swaths of employees . A new Harris Interactive online poll of 2,115 adults provides some insight into why lack of engagement is so widespread.
Trace it to the Occupy Wall Street protests or some less overt circumstance, but 69 percent of those surveyed believe most senior corporate managers make more than they deserve in salaries and benefits. Interestingly, this is about the same percentage in the Gallup poll we cited in our November 8th post, who said that they are "not engaged" or "actively disengaged" from their work.
• More support for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), otherwise known as health care reform, as the Supreme Court agrees to consider cases challenging key provisions of the law. While a new poll shows that more citizens are in favor of mandated health insurance, health care leaders are also weighing in with their support. According to The Commonwealth Fund/Modern Healthcare Health Care Opinion Leaders Survey of 185 health care leaders, the vast majority of these leaders consider it very important to implement the key provisions of the PPACA, including the health insurance mandate, insurance market changes, Medicaid expansion, and premium tax credits. Moreover, these leaders believe that it is possible to reduce national per-capital health care spending without limiting access to or quality of care.
• There are a couple of new executive and director pay surveys out. First, let's look at the National Center for Employee Ownership's 2011 Private Company Equity Compensation Survey of 201 private companies and 32 service providers. Almost all the companies surveyed grant at least some of their senior-most executives. Providing equity compensation to executives is a key challenge for private companies for obvious reasons. With no market for its equity, these firms need to find fair ways to value their stock and allow executives to liquidate their equity holdings. To value their stock, 47 percent of these companies use an outside appraiser, while 20 percent rely on their boards of directors to set the figure with advice from an outside professional. Two-thirds of these companies use stock options and 29 percent issue restricted stock.
Next up is a study on the use of long-term incentives among the 250 largest U.S. companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 Index conducted by consulting firm Frederic W. Cook & Co. Inc. The study's key finding is that the use of long-term performance shares is now more prevalent than the use of stock options. Although stock options are becoming less prevalent as a long-term compensation vehicle, the study authors note that stock options are unlikely to disappear altogether because these plans are inherently performance based and provide a strong complement to full-share stock awards. For the sake of simplicity, however, complex vehicles like performance-accelerated stock options are falling by the wayside and unlikely to be widely used in the near future. Not surprisingly profit measures and total shareholder return dominate the metrics for long-term incentives.