Last week I had the delight of attending a one-day share plans masterclass, featuring speakers from the winning companies who lifted their awards back in December. ProShare’s Celebrating Excellence 2019 provided insights and approaches that have been proven to work, allowing us to take these forward or generate ideas for future share plan campaigns of our own.
Here are just a few key communication and engagement bits to note from this event:
Springfield – Best new share plan
- Do your research
- Understand your audience
- Align with your business strategy
- Keep it simple
- Have on-going promotions
Rolls Royce – Best international share plan and most effective communication (50,001+ employees)
- Translate wherever possible to increase understanding
- Explain and break down the details
- Be clean, clear and unfussy
The Vitec Group – Most effective communication (up to 5,000 employees)
- Embrace creativity to catch attention
- De-mystify plan terminology
RBS – Most effective communication (5,001 – 50,000 employees)
- Carry out polls or surveys to find out preferences and sentiment
- Make sure you have your champions throughout the company
- Be interactive and informal
- Utilise chatbot tech to answer common queries
Skyscanner – Best share plan outcome following a major corporate change and best overall performance in fostering employee share ownership (up to 5,000 employees)
- Face-to-face town halls are very effective
- Consider using chat software like Slack
Aviva – Most effective use of technology
- Utilise tech to allow people to take control of their share plans
- Convenience is key, so apps are great for people on the go to keep engaged
CVS Group – Best financial education initiative for employees
- Make the campaign relateable with stories and testimonials
- Think of bigger picture/context
- Include financial modelling tools
Easy Jet – Best overall performance in fostering employee share ownership (5,001 – 50,000 employees)
- Tailor to your audience – simple facts and then supporting facts for those who like the detail
- Consider how to reach those who are non-wired
Royal Mail – Best overall performance in fostering employee share ownership (50,000+ employees)
- Mix print and digital (print is seeing a revival)
- Utilise roadshows
ESP Champion of the year – Elena Petrou, Aviva
This is slightly running off on a tangent here, but I think it’s also worth mentioning Elena’s win at the awards in December. Elena is a true inspiration and a real share plan champion, showing to us all that we can go above and beyond and break free of our self-imposed boundaries. It’s only since I’ve side-stepped from in-house to running my own business in communications that I see how you don’t need to tread the path and can step off of it to find new destinations. To achieve better engagement, we need to embrace Elena’s dedicated approach to all things share plans.
Eximia’s closing remarks (because I can’t obviously finish up without casting my views):
- When it comes to share plan engagement, it’s great to draw inspiration from our industry peers, but I’d also encourage this to be coupled with a little discovery beyond the industry boundaries. See what’s on trend, what technology is being harnessed elsewhere, measurement techniques and the latest best practice. A great place to first look is internal communications teams or speak to external communication experts to see what they’re doing for the myriad of other topics communicated to employees.
- Things are changing fast in the workplace environment generally, so we need to take a constant look at the way we communicate to stay relevant, raise awareness and understanding and thus reach greater engagement and exceed goals. Proactivity will get us everywhere.
- It’s not the most glam or fun part, but we must start with strategy – we need a good sense of direction. Once this is clear, then the tactics we use, such as communication channels will naturally derive from this groundwork and make for a far more meaningful campaign that is connected to the company’s purpose, mission, goals and values.
- Be bold and passionate, question the status quo and walk in the shoes of those you are trying to engage.
- Lastly, you can’t always be a lone soldier – collaborate internally with the right teams and source external help where needed.
If you work in share plans but don’t network very much, then I can highly recommend ProShare events.
If you like the idea of improving your share plan communications for greater employee engagement but need some help, give us a call to chat through your current challenges and possible solutions we can suggest.