Summer is rapidly approaching, and if you're like me, you are planning some time away from your professional career to reenergize, spend time with family and friends and rejuvenate. This process may induce stress regarding how operations will continue, who will put out the fires, and how things will be accomplished in my absence. Here are three questions I ask myself as I plan to minimize the worry about operational issues during my absence.
My first thought is: do I trust my team members to cover for me and handle the responsibilities while I'm away? Team members can include your manager, peers or an outside vendor. Trust is built through experience, reputation and previous dealings with your backup. Many will have their own opinions and may not operate in exactly the same way you would (unless specific documentation has been updated), but do you have enough confidence that your backup can handle the situation? You may have multiple responsibilities where multiple parties back you up depending on the function. If you feel that your back-up is a weak link, explore the possibility of cross-training someone else before your absence.
The next question is: have I provided enough information and support to my team? Process flow, organizational charts, checklists and a timeline of events are critical in answering this question. What I've learned through the process of training and development is that it is vital to identify the risk areas and gaps. The process of reviewing and implementing proper controls in itself will help streamline operations and provides much needed peace of mind.
Lastly, I want to ensure I've been allocating enough time to work on improving my job, as opposed to just working to keep it going. This is difficult as I can easily get involved in my day to day responsibilities as opposed to taking a deep breath and asking "Why" am I doing this to identify process improvements, cross training and information gathering. No one likes to work long hours, but it may aid your peace of mind to take some time after the work day ends to take a hard look at these items.
Before relaxing for the summer, take a long hard look at your team, the training they have received and your processes. I feel when I have asked the three questions identified above, and fixed any deficiencies, my time away from the office is more satisfying and productive for the company, my team and myself.
Henley Hom, CEP
Chief Operations Officer
Stock & Option Solutions, Inc.
It's mid-morning in late July/early August and the office is eerily silent. The temperature heats up outside but the workload has cooled down. It seems as though the world has taken a much needed vacation, but you are still plugging away in the office and <gasp> might actually finish all your work today. Tomorrow promises to be quiet as well. What will you do to fill your time? Update your processes and procedures document (P&P)!
For the old timers amongst us, much of 2003 was spent documenting our processes and procedures after the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. But have you re-visited and updated those procedures since then? If not, dust off your binder. The summer slump when everyone is gone on vacation is the perfect time to peruse your processes and update them. Some key items to look for and update:
Before you know it, an autumn chill will fill the air, kids will go back to school and the quiet of summer will vanish. Take advantage of the summer lull and update your P&P today!
- The SOS Professional Resources Team
SOS understands that managing stock plan administration is an important, ongoing responsibility requiring extremely specialized knowledge. Matching the specific equity requirements of different companies in varying industries to the right equity advisor is crucial. By maintaining a readily available team of experienced stock plan professionals, we are prepared to assist as needed. Whether you need temporary assistance for vacation coverage or specialized strategic and advisory support during corporate transactions, we have your match! Just listen to what our clients have to say about our people:
"We have been extremely lucky to have her expertise when we've migrated hundreds of clients from one equity platform to another. We wouldn't be able to do it as effectively and as quickly without Achaessa's help."
"Her background and experience have helped her quickly analyze and tackle the most important things first and put other items in a lower priority list. She is business-minded and lighthearted all at the same time. Despite some tight deadlines that cause stress, she seldom shows any signs of stress."
"Exemplary performer, quick to tackle challenging data with little hand holding required, very personable, funny, team spirited, independent thinker, solid instincts, etc. Nothing but glowing feedback for Dan."
Share your needs with us and we will identify a team member that will fit your requirements. As part of our process, we consider the system you utilize, the types of equity you grant, the experience level and specific expertise required in the role, then we work to pair you with the right SOS resource. If an issue or special circumstance arises that requires special expertise, the answer is usually just a call or an email away!
Contact us today to learn more at 408.979.8700.
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Periodically, SOS will ask for issuing companies' participation in a market research survey to enhance our understanding of current practices and trends in the industry and to provide our clients insight into the practices of other issuing firms. Our surveys are brief, taking no more than 5 to 10 minutes to complete.
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Can someone step in and do my job? Although we often worry about job security, have you asked yourself this question and honestly answered yes? If you haven't, you really should think about it. What if your significant other planned a surprise romantic trip, but you couldn't go because you had to process RSU releases for 1,500 employees worldwide and no one else in your company could process them for you? This is where carefully documented procedures and thorough training of others in your office can be very helpful.
I'm talking about very detailed procedures that even your company's CEO (no disrespect to any CEO) could follow to complete important and time essential tasks. While high-level procedures offer a look at the basics of completing a task and may work in almost any Stock Administration department, step-by-step procedures provide details that are unique to only your company. Although we may all follow the same steps when using the same software to process an ESPP purchase, what about where to save contribution files and reports on the company's network drive? Which countries are eligible to participate? What post-processing communication is sent to participants and how is this done? What post-processing reports need to be run and how are they run? To whom are these reports sent? Are there journal entries to be prepared associated with the purchase, and is stock administration responsible for them? As you complete each task, write the procedures keeping in mind that they should be written as though someone with little to no experience at your desk is going to be following them.
Consider creating an Excel spreadsheet with tabs for each of your tasks. In each tab, document your step-by-step procedures for that task. In addition to tabs for procedures, I also create tabs for historical forfeiture rates, acquisition details, stock split details, contact list, a list of tasks by frequency and a list of passwords (be sure to put a password on the spreadsheet).
In addition to having detailed procedures, you should train someone else on (at least) the day-to-day tasks. How to process option exercises and award releases, what to do if someone terminates and how to run basic reports using the software are a few examples. Speaking of software, have you set up other users so they can login and complete tasks in your absence without having to give them your login information (of course we never do that!)? In addition to following your procedures as you train others, encourage the trainee to write up their own notes as you go along. I find it's much easier for me to complete a new task by myself if I've written my own notes to accompany the procedures provided to me.
Although it may take great effort and time to complete detailed procedures for all the tasks you do, keep in mind that it will provide you with peace of mind when you have to be away from your desk, whether due to an emergency or pleasure. Hopefully only for pleasure!
Juanita Medina, CEP
Equity Compensation Consultant
Stock & Option Solutions, Inc.
Juanita has been an Equity Consultant for Stock & Option Solutions, Inc. (SOS) since 2004 and has over 20 years of equity administration experience. Juanita works for the People Solutions division of SOS and works onsite helping clients administer their stock plans. Juanita became a Certified Equity Professional in 2008.
Forgetting steps in processes or failing to run needed reports at quarter end? Are your processes and procedures documented or are you working solely from memory? Documenting your processes and procedures allows you to have a "cheat sheet" so you never have to worry about memory loss or even taking a vacation.
This webcast will provide an overview of why you should be documenting all your processes, what you should be documenting and who is the audience for your documentation. Our panel will share some tips on getting started with your documentation and where to keep it once you have completed it.
(One hour of Certified Equity Professional continuing education credit is available for attending. See the CEPI website for more information on CEP continuing education requirements.)
...tender tidbits about people and players in our industry...
Time for a change... Susan Berry is now working as Director of Equity Management for Tintri.
Taking big steps... With the help of funds raised from recycling bottles and cans from the SOS Campbell Office and pledge donations, Leah Lane of SOS and her Dog Scouts, Wyatt & Duncan, from Troop 198, walked 2.5 miles to help raise over $125,000.00 for the Morris Animal Foundation K-9 Cancer Walk. The next weekend, they joined Vanessa Harrison of SOS and her daughter Charlotte to walk 3 miles in the March of Dimes.
Doling out gold stars... Fred Whittlesey of Compensation Venture Group is also spending some time as a Volunteer Teacher of Financial Literacy, helping middle and high school students understand the concepts of personal finance. In addition, Fred is a math coach in the local middle school, and an Adjunct Professor in the MBA program at Seattle Pacific University. Way to pay it forward!
Back to Cali... Last year Madori Playford moved to Kansas to spend time with family and have a total knee replacement. This spring, Madori returned to California and has accepted a position managing the SOS Campbell Outsourcing Team.
Industry News... The NASPP has recently announced three new chapter presidents. Kimberly Steele of Apple has stepped up as the new Austin chapter president. Nathan Holmes of Thompson Hine was welcomed as the new president of the Ohio chapter and the Seattle chapter also has a new president: Megan Hunt of Nordstrom. GEO's 2016 Nor Cal Forum is next month on June 9th at the Devil's Canyon Brewery in San Carlos, California. Be sure to register for this fun event! SOS is a proud sponsor of the event and will be sponsoring the Sweet Retreat Afternoon Break!
SOS is hiring and here are our recent additions:
Barbara Waters (People Solutions)
Heather DeHart (People Solutions)
Fedenia Presa (People Solutions)
Geraldine Richmond (People Solutions)
Madori Playford (Outsourcing)
Information provided in this newsletter is designed for educational and entertainment purposes only and is not provided as professional service or advice. Moreover, this newsletter should not be relied on as legal, accounting, auditing, or tax advice. Anyone reading this newsletter should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel and/or input from their advisors. The preceding information does not necessarily represent the official views of Stock & Option Solutions, Inc. with respect to any of the issues addressed.