GEO awards winners share their top tips for communicating share plans

GEO virtual sofa event

What exactly does it take to win a prestigious Global Equity Organization award?

Earlier this week, the GEO UK Chapter held its first event of 2022, with Darren Smith hosting the virtual sofa. As well as taking the time to reconnect with some familiar faces, we heard from some of last year’s GEO awards winners. If you couldn’t make it – don’t worry, we’ve noted all the top tips for you.


This was the theme of the night. As Darren said, “Financial education ties everything together”. Many of last year’s winners tied their share plan offering with financial education, to really empower their employees to do what is right for them. Share plan launches get better results when colleagues are aware of the possibilities and the risks. There are many ways to do this, of course; but successful methods include:

  • Creating assets to support financial wellbeing
  • Hosting live webinars and/or lunch and learn sessions

For some companies, stocks and shares are a key part of the compensation package; so educating people about the total rewards for them becomes even more important. And because it’s personal to each individual, it is best to be personalised where possible. You can do this by email or letter; or do something a bit different and use personalised videos.


You can have the best share plan in the world, but if nobody knows about it, it won’t get very far. As one winner put it, “Comms are absolutely vital to have the scheme land with impact.” This may be the hundredth share plan you’re communicating, but for some of your colleagues it may be the first they’re ever involved in. So treat each launch as if it were the first one, don’t just roll it forward from the last launch. Think about who your employees are, and use the channels they’re comfortable with. That could be:

  • Social media, such as Yammer
  • Physical collateral, like posters and flyers
  • Technical channels like your intranet or a dedicated microsite
  • Face-to-face – either in person or virtually

In most cases, it’ll be a mixture of these, helping cater for the varying ways people digest information.

Above all, make your message clear and concise. As rewards pros, we get excited about share plans – we want people to know all the benefits they can bring. But for anyone who’s not in share plans, we need to reel it back and help them take steps along that journey, at their own pace. Start with what’s in it for them: compare their input and potential outcomes.


People need to feel engaged in the conversation. That means putting communications out, of course – but also listening to their responses. To make sure your colleagues feel heard, try face-to-face surgeries – or virtual ones, if distance and time zones make in-person events difficult. Have a dedicated mailbox for employee queries, no matter how technical or funny.

More targeted listening is definitely on the up. Options mentioned yesterday including:

  • Introducing a colleague board to run share plans by
  • Running an Employee Focus Group for feedback before wider roll-out


The winners who spoke to GEO launched plans to tens of thousands of employees, some in 20, or even 50 countries, which brings all sorts of challenges. There are, of course, all the technical aspects of dealing with different legislation and languages. In that context, the priority is how to scale, across all these areas.

But also, there’s the more nuanced need to adapt to different cultures. People will engage with different messages and media in different parts of the world. So you need a global plan with an overarching theme and message, but one that each territory can adapt and deliver locally.


Your team may be responsible for the share plan(s), but other areas of the business may have skill sets you can use. Your brand team can push the limits and create a memorable campaign; your people function can advise you on what colleagues respond to and act as local champions; your managers can be trained to act as a voice; and a diverse group of employees can act as a sound board.



Whilst we can’t guarantee that following these tips will get you a GEO award this year, they will help create more of a buzz for your offering. With our first-hand share plan experience and creative expertise, we’ve helped organisations implement these best practices (and more) into their share plan communications, and we can help you too. To find out how we can help you, get in touch.

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