Whether your objectives are to retain staff or foster a sense of ownership among your employees, we know that one of the keys to the success of share plans is, quite simply, communication.
When it comes to successful communication campaigns, one size most definitely does not fit all. We work closely with our clients to create innovative communication strategies designed to maximise share plan participation.
We will take into account a wide range of factors, including:
- The company’s objectives when implementing the share plan, and what will constitute success
- The number of eligible employees, their physical location and language requirements
- The type of employees who are being invited to participate, from shop floor workers to executive directors
- Existing communication channels, for example Intranet, access to the Internet, newsletters, emails, local share plan ‘champions’.
For example, the communication of a Share Incentive Plan (SIP) might look like this:
- Share Plan Pre Launch
- Share Plan Launch
- Share Plan Post Launch
- Ongoing Share Plan Administration
- Share Plan Maturity
Share Plan Pre Launch
This is an ideal opportunity to let your employees know that a share plan is on the way, and to create a buzz about the benefits of participation. In our experience, employees identify more closely with the plan if it is given its own identity and brand, and a ‘whispering’ campaign is an effective way to introduce the idea to your audience.
Share Plan Launch
This is the point at which you will invite your employees to participate and give them more detail about the plan itself including any tax advantages or implications.
Typically this will involve sending your employees an invitation pack, which may include a personalised letter, an explanatory booklet, and an application form. But there are many additional ways to make the plan even more interesting, enticing, and popular, for example:
- Emails to educate employees, highlight key dates, with regular reminders of any deadlines;
- Put up posters in places your employees gather – it will promote conversation about the plans;
- A dedicated area on your company’s Intranet, incorporating frequently asked questions, easy to understand instructions, and links to emails and phone numbers for further information.
- Staff presentations, where employees are given the opportunity to interact with their colleagues, to hear about the plan details, and to ask questions.
- Train local share plan champions so that your employees have a local point of contact.
Share Plan Post Launch
Now that your employees have signed up to your share plan, you will need to send them their share plan documentation. A welcome pack would typically contain:
- A covering letter, congratulating them on their participation in your plan;
- A user name and password for an online site where employees can access their own records, such as Shares2View;
- Contact details for the share plan administrator, including telephone number and email address.
Ongoing Share Plan Administration
Now that your employees are actively participating in your Share Incentive Plan, you can take further steps to achieve plan success. Regular updates will ensure that your employees do not forget why they decided to participate in the first place, and will help foster a sense of employee ownership. For example:
- Participant Statements: at a minimum these should be distributed annually;
- Use your company intranet to give share price updates, company announcements, a link to an online service where employees can access their own records (such as Shares2View).
Share Plan Maturity
If your company’s share price has performed well then plan maturity should be a fantastic time for your employees as they are rewarded for their participation. It is time to spread the good news and to tell participants what they can do next.
- Use emails to communicate good news, and to tell participants to keep their eyes open for further information;
- Use the company Intranet to communicate key information
- Send out maturity packs, which typically will include:
- A congratulatory letter;
- Details of the next steps the participant can take, including any deadlines;
- Any paperwork the participant will need, for example forms to sell shares;
- Contact details for the share plan administrator.
- Share your participants’ good news amongst your employees – it will encourage them to join your plan at the next launch!
However clear and wide ranging your share plan communication strategy, your employees will undoubtedly have further questions or they may simply wish to speak to someone directly. We provide online and telephone support for you and your employees, so there is no need for you to field phone calls – we will deal with it all for you.