“Share plans are pretty complex and we’re not the most creative bunch out there…”
Modesty from one speaker at the second Global Equity Organization’s (GEO) UK Chapter event of 2022 – an ‘Issuer Panel Discussion of Q1 Highs and Lows’, where once again good communications stood out as a key reason behind share plan success.
Here’s a roundup of some communication takeaways from the event. We hope you find them useful.
Listen to your people
One of our speakers told us 90% of their employees now have a material stake in their organisation, which is among the UK’s top 5 listed businesses. He said clear messaging and strong audience targeting using a range of methods helped him and his team get the right information to colleagues at the right time.
The campaign included:
- Videos to demonstrate share benefits and growth
- Customer engagement support from their sales team
- A roadshow to raise awareness
- In-person, one-to-one sessions.
Eximia has long advocated discussions with employees, either in-person or virtually, to make share plans more meaningful to them. When we listen, we can find out what our people want to achieve by saving – whether it’s a deposit for a house, a nice holiday, or building their retirement pot. Using this information, you can customise your communications, and create a connection to what can often feel distant and remote – rather than making it seem obscure through jargon and complicated language.
Make it personal
When employees feel personally invested in their shares they’ll think and act in the long-term interest of a business, providing the building blocks for growth.
This was aptly illustrated by another GEO speaker, who talked about his company’s successful global share plan. When the time came for the 1,300 plan participants to sell or keep their shares, an impressive two-thirds chose to retain them.
Identifying with your participants should form an important part of the engagement strategy. If they know what’s in it for them on a personal level, they’ll engage – so that message should underpin all your communications.
Financial education – rinse and repeat
Ongoing financial education was also mentioned as an effective way to engage employees.
Regular reminders and updates about a share plan’s progress against company performance helps keep the information flowing, which is essential for maintaining people’s interest and motivation.
This is especially the case at the moment, when many people are suffering a financial squeeze. With inflation and national insurance contributions increasing, employees need to be informed on their share plans.
Achieving this shows them you’re a company who cares about and wants to do right by its people – and that is a powerful message.
Data, share plans and sleepless nights
While the wider industry worries about how the national insurance increase might affect employee engagement with share plans, data management is the issue keeping another GEO panellist up at night.
It might not seem like the most exciting topic, but it is important – because if the input is not accurate, no one benefits.
So when share plans are only as good as the information entered into them, like pay ranges and pay grades, establishing who has responsibility for data management can be challenging.
Who should take ownership when so many people are involved in share plan administration and communication? Share plan managers, reward teams or wider employee data officers?
This fundamental aspect can have a significant impact on the success of share plans, so it’s important to achieve clarity at the outset.
Whatever your share plan team decides, there are many ways to apply that information to increase take up or engagement. You could, for example, use it to personalise your communication – either to the individual employee or to specific groups (for instance, those close to retirement or in a particular wage bracket).
Keen to hear more tips and tricks?
If this event summary has raised some red flags in the way your company share plan is communicated, why not check out more tips and tricks on the Eximia website?
We combine first-hand experience in share plan management with creative communications expertise, helping organisations implement the best practices outlined in this post.
To find out how we can help, get in touch.