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Small Companies, Big Decisions: Compensation Design and Disclosure

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Small Companies, Big Decisions: Compensation Design and Disclosure

Our popular “Meet the Speaker” series, featuring interviews with speakers at the 27th Annual NASPP Conference, is a great way to get to know our many distinguished speakers and find out more about their sessions in advance of the Conference.

For today’s “Meet the Speaker” interview, we feature an interview with Chelsea Mason of ClearBridge Compensation Group, who will lead the session “Small Companies, Big Decisions: Compensation Design and Disclosure.”  Here is what Chelsea had to say:

NASPP: Why is your topic particularly timely right now?

Chelsea:  The SEC recently changed the criteria for determining what companies are defined as smaller reporting companies, which has resulted in some companies becoming SRCs for the first time. SRCs and emerging growth companies must navigate tricky disclosure decisions, balancing shareholder and shareholder advisory firm perspectives with the reduced disclosure requirements.

Our panel will flesh out how to navigate these decisions and discuss strategies for tackling them. In addition to disclosure, we will discuss other challenges faced by smaller companies including how companies can remain competitive in the market in order to attract and retain talent, both in terms of pay levels and program design.

NASPP: What is one best practice smaller companies should implement?

Chelsea: For EGCs and SRCs, companies should routinely review their compensation disclosure and determine their desired level of disclosure. Despite less stringent disclosure requirements, companies should continually assess whether they should provide more disclosure than what is required based on the current state of the business and their shareholder base, given that shareholders and shareholder advisory firms generally prefer more disclosure.

NASPP: How can smaller companies be more innovative when it comes to compensation?

Chelsea: In many cases, smaller companies face significant challenges designing compensation packages that effectively retain and attract key talent, but that also don't significantly increase cash expense and equity dilution. For smaller companies that have high growth potential, focusing on a highly leveraged compensation program that has significant upside potential based on meaningful performance is one way companies effectively achieve these objectives. This can be done through a focus on long-term incentives, including stock options or performance shares with multiple performance levels reflecting stretch performance.

NASPP: If you had an Etsy store, what would you sell in it?

Chelsea:  If I had an Etsy store, I would make it all about pickles! I would sell my personal favorite type of pickles, half sour, and also have some non-traditional flavors, including spicy and fruity varieties. I'd also sell whiskey, since who doesn't love a pickle back?!

Don’t miss Chelsea’s session, “Small Companies, Big Decisions: Compensation Design and Disclosure,” at the NASPP Conference!

About the NASPP Conference

The 27th Annual NASPP Conference will be held from September 16-19 in New Orleans. This year’s program features close to 100 sessions on today’s most timely topics in stock and executive compensation; check out the full agenda and register today!

About Us

The National Association of Stock Plan Professionals is the largest and oldest professional association for the stock and executive compensation community, with over two decades of leadership providing expert resources, education and other benefits for our more than 6,000 members across 32 affiliated chapters.

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