How to humanise your share plan communications

2 September 2021

By Rebecca Mitchell

When we’re communicating the benefits of joining a share plan, it can be easy to get tangled up in technical talk. But actually, if we take a step back and think about the wider benefits – the ones that tap into our needs as humans to feel included and secure – we can drive increased levels of interest and engagement.

Keep these two things in mind when you’re talking to employees about their share plan options, and you may just see a significant spike in take up.

 

Show people you’re on a journey together

When you invite people to join your share plan, you’re inviting them to be a part of your collective future. Think tribe mentality here; you’re essentially inviting people to connect with the business on a deeper level, and in a way which gives you all a common purpose – to grow together.

Lots of studies show that when employees buy into a share plan, they work harder together. This is obviously great news for the bottom line, but it’s the type of behaviour that can also lend itself to happier workers all round; when people feel a part of something and truly invested in what they do, their overall wellbeing is boosted too. You also in turn create a more inclusive workplace culture, whereby everyone feels they’re offered the same opportunity to hold shares in the company they work for, as well as contributing towards shared goals.

Communicate consistently with your employees in a way that makes them feel they’re on an exciting journey with you. The main thing here is to provide business context, a clear ‘why’ to getting involved. Once they are involved, make sure there’s additional support and education along the entire journey – avoid abondining them once they’ve joined by communicating regularly, tying share plans into overall business performance updates, voting and general meetings and so on.

 

Tap into the common needs of financial wellbeing

Most want to feel secure and in control of their financial future, and it’s worth keeping this front of mind when talking about the benefits of any share plan. It’s easy to reel off the basic perks of a financial reward scheme by talking about incentives or tax advantages, but try thinking of your communications as an opportunity to support your employees with their overall financial wellbeing.

People are generally happiest when they feel:

Think about how you can offer them the ability to achieve these things. You might be tempted, for example, to open a piece of communications with something like:

Our share plan will give you the chance to buy shares at a 20% discount in three years.

But something along these lines is likely to resonate much more to your audience, since it speaks to their needs:

We want to help you build a more financially stable future. Here’s how.

This second approach is much more human. It shows your colleagues you recognise an issue that may already be on their mind, that you have something that can help and that you want to support them. Just by making minor tweaks like this to your communications you can not only encourage more buy in – you’ll build a stronger rapport too.

This can be built upon by continuing the education once they’ve joined any share plan, tying in communications with the broader financial wellbeing conversations where possible.

 

And don’t forget to mix things up…

Of course when you’re talking to colleagues about the benefits of a share plan, there’s still a time and a place to be technical. But even here simple, human language is key to encouraging colleagues to engage with your offering. Think informal over functional, and don’t assume that your audience will automatically understand their SAYEs from their SIPs.

You might consider running informal workshops or drop-in sessions to help explain some of the technical stuff – after all, face to face communication, even if virtual, provides a chance for colleagues to ask questions in real time. You can also humanise your share plans by using timelines, infographics and videos to bring them to life – just remember to keep these jargon free and relatable – the legals can be covered further down the communication journey in caveats and by providing links to the plan rules.

Do your employee communications need a little more of the human touch? Come and talk it through with us – we’d love to help you humanise your share plans for greater success.

Rebecca Mitchell

Relationship & Project Manager – Chartered CoSec and share plans expert

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