How to breathe life in your share plan communications – secrets from GEO award winners

Secrets from the GEO award winners

How do you keep your share plan communications fresh and relevant? 

GEO award-winning panellists took to the virtual stage earlier this week to discuss.

Good communication is the key to the success of almost any initiative – and global equity plans are no exception. We joined many of our industry peers to discover if the perfect formula for driving participation and an ownership culture through communication exists.

The panel shared their secrets on breathing life into communications and modernising share plan experiences. But don’t worry if you missed it, we took notes!

Secret Number 1 – Personalised video

Personalising video content is nothing new in consumer marketing. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that personalisation is becoming increasingly popular in the world of business. One winner shared that they used internal data and embraced cutting edge technology by creating personalised investment videos for 1,600 employees. They said this new approach to share plan communication increased enthusiasm and encouraged employees to take action!

Secret Number 2 – Encourage ownership

Company ownership is important because it gives people a sense of togetherness. When they feel like owners, employees are more likely to focus on what the company needs overall rather than just what’s required of them. That’s because they’re invested in the organisation’s success. Another winner used a strapline that encouraged employees to feel and act like owners. The CEO talked about the share plan at every opportunity, reminding colleagues that their work and contribution benefits the entire team.

Secret Number 3 – The power of employees

Happy customers are consumer brands’ best friends, and the same applies to happy employees and internal initiatives. So why not use those ‘happy employees’ to promote your share plan? Ask employee advocates to participate in case studies, provide testimonials and become share plan champions. People build stronger connections with other people than they do with ‘brands’, which is why they’re more receptive to your employees than your campaign. People tend to view an internal initiative the same way they view an ad, which is why employees are your most influential resource.

Similarly, it’s also essential to get buy-in from management as they’ll ultimately help employees understand the share plan and support them where necessary.

Secret Number 4 – Focus on emotion, and ‘you’

Another winner focused on using emotional connection in their share plan communications. They used memorable characters to act as the centre of their campaign. They aligned it with clever storytelling and imagery whilst associating it with good news stories.

It’s also important to recognise how influential the word ‘you’ is. Putting ‘you’ at the centre of your campaign shows compassion and empathy, which help create an emotional connection. Combine ‘you’ with personalisation, and you’re on to a winner. For example, “Steve, if you saved XX per year, you’d have XX to put towards a new car. Consider if signing up is right for you.”.”

Secret Number 5 – Be inclusive

There are so many ways you can be inclusive when promoting your share plan. However, a few key areas were highlighted at the GEO event.

  • Lose the technical jargon – you live and breathe share plans, and you’ll understand all the acronyms and technical terms. However, if you want your campaign to be effective, you’ll have to skip the jargon and communicate with simplicity.
  • Be mindful of your audience – When it comes to financial investment, not everyone is confident enough to know what to expect, and it can all feel a bit overwhelming. Don’t take basic knowledge for granted – for example, shares are normally displayed on a stock market in pence, not pounds. For someone who doesn’t know that, the price of shares can look out of reach, so make this clear when you’re communicating.
  • Meet people where they are – where your people are located will determine how you communicate with them. For example, if they’re desk based, you can focus on digital comms. If they’re on a factory floor, you’ll want to consider other channels, like briefings and printed material.

Secret Number 6 – Pay close attention to channels and frequency

Spend time looking at your comms strategy. Pay close attention to your communication methods and how often you’ll talk to your people. Don’t try to deliver too much and overwhelm your audience. Break up the campaign into bite-sized phases.

Think about using a mixture of channels in your approach. Combining video, social media and email creates a variety of campaign ‘touchpoints’ and will help your message to land.

You could also create a microsite so employees know exactly where to go for all their share plan needs.

Secret Number 7 – Don’t scrimp and save on comms

It’s no secret that setting up a share plan is costly. Another winner suggests a healthy budget for the communication campaign too, so all the hard work that goes into setting up the plan doesn’t go to waste. By spending money on communication, you’re investing in your people and helping them understand what’s being offered. Communications should be seen as a people investment, rather than a people cost.

Secret Number 8 – Don’t fizzle out the sizzle

You put all the time and effort into launching a sign up campaign but what happens after? How can you keep the sizzle alive? Think about your share plan communications as a journey. Continually communicate about it throughout the year, and use your internal events and channels to remind people – and let them know you haven’t forgotten them! Don’t let your hard work fizzle out.

Secret Number 9 – Shhhh!

It’s no secret that Eximia are experts in share plans as well as communication and engagement. So, if you need help connecting your people to your share plan, then get in touch today.

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