A quick round-up of the recent ProShare Annual Conference… from a communications perspective

Attending industry events is always helpful to focus the mind on current and future trends, changes to be mindful of and things we could possibly tweak and improve – as well as joining in on the networking of course to catch-up with so many people we just haven’t seen for far too long!

There was a great mix of topics across the two days, so we thought we’d pull all comms related bits together as a quick round-up.


Firstly, some observations which inform any comms strategy:

  1. Research has shown share plans increasingly being used to engage employees
  2. Share plans sit in the ‘motivator’ reward components – those that align to the goals of the business and wellbeing etc
  3. Employee experience – the way it feels is just as important as what you offer
  4. Greater focus on inclusivity – for some, through free share awards globally
  5. ESG increasingly more prominent, especially in performance measures, and people being more socially driven
  6. Research has shown it takes new employees an average of 4 yrs to join an ESPP – so greater focus on onboarding and early years needed for contributory plans
  7. Research has revealed non-participants say they didn’t get involved due to anxiety about share price, tax, affordability and not understanding the plan


Now, let’s move on to 15 comms top tips from our peers:

  1. In-office initiatives lost recently, so an increased use of video content (even personalised)
  2. Keep it short and be human – eg. tick the legal boxes, without scaring employees
  3. Apply the ‘Amazon’ effect – make the user experience easy to increase engagement
  4. Allow for self-serve content on digital channels, like microsites
  5. Give choice – let employees choose the communication channels
  6. Simplification – take complex details and break them down (or don’t use them at all)
  7. Peers as advocates are a key communication channel
  8. A greater focus on financial education and transparency – eg. clear and honest communications if the share price falls
  9. Be agile about comms and adapt – consider a phased approach to break down messages and actions required (awareness, education, action, reminders)
  10. Allow time – don’t leave your comms plan to the month before! Allow at least 3 months
  11. Develop a network of local champions
  12. Consider reducing global flights to be in person as people are now used to virtual sessions
  13. Encourage employees to voice queries
  14. Capture learnings and feedback to steer ongoing comms strategy
  15. A simple change can make a big difference


And a final point to add from Eximia…

We could go on for hours, but in the spirit of keeping things short, we’ll add just one point to the above, which is:

If you have a variety of communication assets, this is great – we’re seeing more clients including video into the mix, which is far more engaging than static content, or the use of a microsite rather than a PDF brochure… all we’d add here is to work backwards and determine how all employees are directed to these. What’s your opening channel(s) to initiate the conversation? If it’s just email and many of your employees don’t have email, or people are ignoring them due to inboxes burgeoning, perhaps a single communication channel as the entry point isn’t enough. You’ll get increased cut through with a mix of entry point channels – this may mean using social channels, intranet promos, or short-format print with prominent URLs/QR codes to move colleagues across to digital for more information.

With this in mind, if any of this has inspired you to take action, we’d tend to agree with the tip about doing this early – it allows more space for greater creativity and the ability to problem solve more effectively. Reach out to us for an informal chat about any challenges you think comms can help you overcome.

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