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Out with the Old, In with the Bold

A lot of companies may talk a good game when it comes to taking extraordinary measures to motivate their workforce, but few align their employees to the CEO’s compensation plan.

Axon CEO Rick Smith and 300-plus employees are swinging for the fences with a bold, risk-reward equity plan. The eXponential Stock Performance Plan (XSPP) that could net Smith $1 billion in restricted stock options if all milestones are reached has changed the way he and his employees think about the business.

One of many conference rooms at Axon that is equipped with massive TV screens and voice-sensory technology to enhance video conferencing. 

“I think the biggest effect it’s had is it made us start looking at long-term goals,” said Bryan Wheeler, Axon’s VP/Head of Records who opted into the XSPP. “Most people tend to be pretty incremental in products, so many more innovative ideas start to come out when you’re working toward something like this.”

The approach of offering a meaningful share ownership opportunity to all employees and future recruits “combines the employee-friendly concepts of broad-based equity plans with rigorous, shareholder-friendly growth criteria,” said Jon Burg, a partner with Aon Equity Services.

Find complete coverage of this high-risk, high-reward stock performance plan in the June/July issue of Workspan. 

Top left: Axon's work pods are used for one-on-one meetings and silent work spaces for individual employees. Right: The vast, high-tech entry way into Axon headquarters in Scottsdale, Ariz. 

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