At Aneo, individual objectives are a thing of the past!

Written by Celia Santiago, on 23 October 2017

February 2015, Aneo is in the midst of transforming its business model. Until then, in this consulting firm, consultants and salespeople receive a bonus if they meet their individual objectives. Considerable effort is devoted to territorial struggles and the distribution of revenue to trigger individual bonuses. Business opportunities are lost due to a lack of alignment between everyone's individual objectives. How to remedy this?

During a seminar on Aneo's transformation, one of the participants proposes not to trigger the individual variable part of the salary based on personal performance anymore. This proposition triggers enormous resistance, as no one wants to see their bonus depend on anything other than their personal work.

Convinced that remuneration is not the primary driver of employee engagement, Pierre Sinodinos, the founding partner of Aneo, decides to eliminate individual sales targets for salespeople and to trigger their individual bonuses only based on the performance of the entire company.

We can only act effectively by working together. - Edmund Burke

In early 2015, an initial experiment is conducted with the sales team. Every new recruit is hired with a higher fixed salary than the market rate and without individual targets linked to their performance. The team's performance is now evaluated collectively.

Weekly team meetings are organized to monitor the results and motivation of the salespeople. A few months later: the team demonstrates strong commitment, is effective, and seems especially more serene due to their higher fixed remuneration and less emphasis on the variable part.

The experiment is conducted with both novice and experienced sellers. The training of newcomers by veterans works remarkably well, even better than before, and onboarding is considerably reduced.

Sales metrics are still tracked by everyone, but in a personal development logic rather than for obtaining their bonus. The teams' progress is rapid.

The new remuneration model is then quickly extended to the entire company, including salespeople, support functions, and consultants. Individual bonuses are now triggered by a collective performance indicator at the end of the year.

In the first year, the chosen performance indicator is the production rate in the last quarter (number of consultants billed/total number of consultants). In the second year, it is decided to partially redistribute Aneo's operating profit to all employees at a common percentage (30%) of their variable pay. This last modality is closer to profit-sharing or participation and seems the most economically sound for the company. This common percentage is reviewed each year based on results and Aneo's strategy.

Since then, cross-functionality and solidarity have been in full swing: salespeople work together on projects, consultants are proactive in finding missions, managers from different areas collaborate to sell projects requiring a wide range of expertise...

But at Aneo, nothing is set in stone. Therefore, the remuneration model, including the collective performance indicator and the way to reassess the fixed salary, continues to evolve...