june 1990

When one group of employees earns commissions while others in support positions are on salary at the same company, resentment is the likely result. Bill Byrne, founder and publisher of Tri-State Neighbor, a biweekly magazine in Sioux Falls, S.D., found a way to reduce the friction. Without taking incentives away from his advertising reps, he lets others share in increased revenues.

Byrne still pays his reps a 5% to 8% commission. But for the past two years he's also run a commissionlike program for his five production and administrative employees. For every ad page sold above a base level, they split $20. As the number of ads sold has increased, the monthly shares have grown to about $200 a person.

Before, Byrne says, production people groaned when ads came in late. "Now, you don't hear those complaints. If anything, they're pushing the salespeople to get out and sell more." And because they want their shares to grow, they're less interested in adding new people to staff.