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The L-Blast | June 2021

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The Olympic Trials of late have been amazing, so much new talent will be representing soon as a nation. A talent that had to train and adapt through Covid – but a group of wonderful, talented athletes that set new standards and great goals. And if you watch closely, you’ll see past great talents like Michael Phelps, making sure he continues to play a role in their success. Such is transition and preparing for a new day! I too am transitioning from my role as CEO to that of Technical Advisor for L&A and its great clients. Tyler Brown — who has been with me now for 15 years and is one of the best I have ever worked with, ever — will be taking over as the leader of L&A. The amazing team we have of outstanding employees, as you all know, is the best and we will continue to work diligently to take care of our clients’ needs as we have for the past 20 years.

If there was ever a very simple, yet driven, person that was able to maximize the talents God gave him, it would have to be me. I hope that proves as motivation for all of you that are reading. Mine has been a storied 36+ year career full of the greatest clients, mentors, opportunities and teams imaginable! I have been honored with every award imaginable, written 18 books, 650+ articles and stand at 127-0 as an expert in the courtroom… with still more wins ahead. In addition, I now sit on boards as well as advise them, and am proud to have been with the NACD now for 25 years and counting -– and God is still not done with me! Starting July 15th, I will not only be working with L&A in my new capacity, but will be working to upgrade the professions of executive compensation and corporate governance and being the advocate needed for ethical, purpose-driven CEOs and boards with a new concept my wife and I have started, 1 Reputation! 

I have always loved research, creating new solutions, writing, mentoring; and as NACD has shared, “coloring outside the lines.” I have loved leading for the last 40 years but my heart has always been solving problems, taking care of the client and being that technical geek I was called to be. Plus, 1 Reputation will not just be an advocate for great CEOs and boards, but will work to clean up some of the major problems inherent with compensation and some of the unintended consequences created by the government, proxy advisory firms, unethical consultants and that .5% of leaders that paint GREAT U.S. corporate leadership with too broad of an ugly brush. 1 Reputation will be looking to work with CEOs, boards and companies interested in maintaining and upgrading one of the most valuable assets they have… THEIR REPUTATIONS.. as we have ONLY 1!! So, stay tuned and God bless each and every one of you, your families and all those you lead… it starts with you and you purposing to make a difference EACH and EVERY day! 

As for this L-Blast, we focus on returning to the workplace, a topic that is top of mind as things finally start to feel somewhat normal and businesses begin operating at full capacity again. However, there is still much uncertainty in regards to what the workplace will look like and it’s no surprise that remote work is here to stay for many companies, but to what extent? You may recall L&A recently conducted a survey to help answer this very question. In this L-Blast we share a summary of the results of our Remote Work & Return to the Workplace Survey and offer some guidance on navigating this issue. 

In addition to our survey results, the articles we share below are helpful as you work through your own return to the office strategy. Many organizations are adopting a hybrid model. That may look different for every company, but the common takeaway is that flexibility and open communication with employees about their wants and needs will be key. The war for talent has taken on a new twist and leadership teams will need to be strategic with their decisions in order to attract and retain the best talent. 

In this month’s “Did You Know” piece, I share the difference between incentive stock options and non-qualified stock options as well as the nuances that have taken some of the appeal off ISOs. 

We hope this L-Blast better equips you to navigate the workplace challenges we are all facing. Stay safe as always, let us know if there is a particular subject you’d like to learn more about or if you have any questions about the topics covered in this L-Blast. 

Sincerely,

Brent Longnecker and the L&A Team

Chairman and CEO, Longnecker & Associates


Remote Work Survey

It’s been over a year since having to cope with this global pandemic and the difficult decisions companies were forced to make regarding where their workforce should work – at home or remote. Of course, the realistic answer to this question is not so simple and is laden with circumstantial nuances, business culture, and operational needs. However, the winds are changing and companies are curious to know what a common work schedule will look like as these stringent COVID policy guidelines start to ease, as well as the timeline for when these new schedules will take effect. 

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Over the past few months, I’ve spoken with many executives wrestling with what the return to the office should look like for their organizations. They’re looking for answers to a barrage of interrelated questions, like: What’s the real cost of hybrid working for our bottom line and our ability to deliver on our promises? How much flexibility do employees want and need? Who should make the decision about who does and doesn’t get to work remotely?

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Smart, forward-thinking companies are in a stealth war for talent in this new post-pandemic return-to-work environment. The way in which they manage the great reset will either make them leaders in their space or fall by the wayside. There is an undercurrent to the hybrid and remote-work trends that CEOs and executives are not talking about. Many don’t have their eyes on the ball. They obsess over how many people may work at home.

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Incentive Stock Options (ISOs) vs. Non-Qualified Stock Options (NQSOs) – Knowing the Difference is Key

This week, one of the boards I sit on that is preparing to go public, asked the question – “What is better – ISOs or NQSOs?” It’s such a great question and actually, one of the easier questions I have gotten as a board member, so let me share.

ISOs often qualify for more favorable tax treatment while NQSOs do not. Tax treatment for ISOs was originally created by the Revenue Act of 1950. In the following decades, stock option grants became very popular as a form of compensation – BUT primarily and exclusively for top executives!

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Our Say on Pay specialists are ready to assist you in shareholder outreach to educate investors about the strategy and reasoning behind executive compensation plans and clear any confusion and misconceptions. A properly structured outreach plan can help ensure positive voting outcomes while strengthening your governance practices overall. Get the most out of your shareholder outreach engagements.

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