In January 2008, when Jim Cline started as CFO of Trex, a wood-alternative decking company headquartered in Winchester, Virginia, the business was $134 million in debt and on the verge of bankruptcy.
"When I came on board, what I found was that we had managed to piss off all of our employees, our bankers, the investors, our shareholders, and our customers," Cline tells CNBC.
"One of the things that was not working well in particular was the manufacturing operations. We needed our factory workers to work with us. We needed to make sure their heads were in the right place."
To do this, Cline and Ron Kaplan, the CEO of the company at the time, changed the compensation system.
"When Ron and I joined the company, the bonus program was paid once a year to the factory workers and was based on EPS [earnings per share]," explains Cline, who succeeded Kaplan as CEO in 2015.
"These guys didn't really know what EPS was, so it wasn't a very meaningful program. We developed a program that would put them on equal footing for improvement that they could make in the production process."