Getting ready for your AGM: are your colleagues empowered to vote?

Spring – the days get longer; the evenings get lighter and at Eximia, voting season gets underway. For many large organisations, especially those with a 31 December year end, the annual general meeting (AGM) is just around the corner. And a key part of the process should be to communicate with your employee shareholders, encouraging and empowering them to have their say.

People are increasingly aligning themselves to organisations whose values match their own – both as consumers and employees. They’re looking for an employer who operates in their best interest and gives them a voice.

The requirement under the UK Corporate Governance Code for companies to adopt a method for fostering greater employee engagement has been an important development, integrating stakeholder interests into board decision-making. It’s been great to see a wide adoption of employee forums and designated non-executive directors in place to take responsibility for two-way communication between the board and employees.

As part of these efforts, we’ve seen companies make provisions for employees to get involved in their AGM in a variety of different ways. One of the easiest is to give your employee shareholders an opportunity to vote. It’s a helpful way to remind them that they own a part of their business, promoting greater alignment to its values and future. And as well as giving them the chance to feel heard, it can help you gauge how they feel about key decisions and measure the level of engagement through voting levels.

Communicating to employee shareholders about their right to vote at your AGM and offering them a facility to do so also helps you adhere to the requirements of the Shareholder Rights Directive II. This requires all intermediaries to offer all beneficial owners the chance to vote.

Eximia can enable your employees to vote at your AGM

Let’s take this online

Last year, our voting platform gave 160,000 employees the opportunity to vote at their employer’s AGM and any ad hoc general meetings. Each client has their own dedicated platform, which they can customise with their branding and specific AGM details.

Our entire user journey is designed with the employee in mind. Our online voting platform is inclusive, allowing employee shareholders to vote from wherever they are – useful if you have employees based all over the world. We send out emails to eligible participants informing them that they can vote in their company’s general meeting, taking them to a user interface that is simple and intuitive. A seamless user experience!

It’s how you say it

Voting Notice of Meeting and Proxy Forms have a particular style. It’s important – but they’re not always the most engaging.

If you want your employees to understand what they’re reading and engage with the voting process, it’s important to simplify the complex. For example, could you explain what each resolution means, using simple and jargon-free language? Your employees are much more likely to participate if they understand what they’re voting for.

Work with Eximia before your AGM voting window opens to create an engagement campaign, so your people can make an informed decision when they vote.

The little things count

Look at the voting journey your employee shareholders take. Can you make the process more engaging and inviting? For example, if you send an invitation to vote, have you checked that the language is straightforward, and set out in small manageable sections, with clear sub-headings?

Make your AGM voting as easy as possible for your employee shareholders, and you’ll open another communication channel between senior leaders and colleagues. Increase engagement and add this to the list of things you can include in your next strategic report.

Get in touch, and we’ll look at the entire employee shareholder voting journey. We’ll help improve your AGM voting communications, from advice and support on how to make the communications simpler and more digestible to providing an intuitive platform to handle the entire process.

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