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ESOP Awards Finalists announced
Book your place now to celebrate employee share ownership excellence with us: fill in the World Centre Awards 2012 application form.
Congratulations to all the ESOP Awards’ finalists, announced on the evening of June 21 at the ESOP Centre’s annual European conference.
This year the ESOP Awards will be given in three categories for the first time – best all-employee share plan in a company with more than 1,500 employees, best plan with fewer than 1,500 employees and best share plan communications.
This year’s winners will be announced on November 6 at the Centre’s annual black tie dinner at the Oriental Club, London. Sponsorship opportunities are available for the dinner.
Shell, nominated by Computershare, and Diageo are the two finalists in the category best employee share plan (more than 1,500 employees).
Shell’s Global Employee Share Purchase Plan won our major award in 2010 and the team there, together with adviser Computershare, have been busy improving the experience for employees during the past two years. Shell offers a share plan to 15,000 employees across 80 countries every year. A vested share account has been developed, which means employees can manage their shareholdings after the share scheme has vested wherever they are across the globe and build up their stake in the company over the years.
Diageo submitted its International Sharematch Plan (ISMP), which is a global share purchase plan. Its only eligibility criteria is that employees must be employed on both the invitation and award dates, making ISMP accessible to all levels of staff across multiple disciplines ranging from the MD to bottling line operators in 29 countries to date. Employees who join the plan, launched in 2010, make an annual investment in their local currency of between the local equivalent of GB£50 and GB£3,000 to purchase shares in Diageo. In return, Diageo matches the number of shares purchased, currently with one matching share for every three purchased. The plan is administered in house by the Diageo share plans team and its network of local champions around the business. It administers the plan with the support of Killik Employee Services from whom it uses a share plans database. The plan advisers are Clifford Chance and Deloitte has provided tax advice. Collins Stewart provides share-dealing services at favourable rates for all Diageo plan participants.
Henderson Global Investors, Imagination Technologies and the London Stock Exchange, nominated by YBS Share Plans, are this year’s finalists in the category best employee share plan in a company with fewer than 1,500 employees.
Henderson Global Investors is extremely committed to employee share ownership. There are several plans on offer to the employees – a buy as you earn (SIP), a CSOP and a joint share option plan. In 2011 the company launched a new Sharesave plan. Henderson’s online tools mean that employees can manage their portfolio across the plans with great ease. Furthermore, Henderson is committed to providing financial education so its employees can manage their financial obligations.
Imagination Technologies has enjoyed phenomenal growth over the past few years, with clients including Apple. Because of this they have had some employees making almost £70,000 profit from its Save As You Earn scheme. The team have had to deal with questions of diversification and questions of CGT liability affecting many of their colleagues and did an excellent communications job around this.
The London Stock Exchange is the third finalist in this category having been nominated by its advisers YBS Share Plans. Its Sharesave, which was launched in 2008, has had a second round of invitations this year, extending to employees in Sri Lanka for the first time. The UK take up of 54 percent was particularly impressive, with average monthly savings at £198. Even in Italy and Sri Lanka where these plans are rare, take up was better than expected at 29 percent and 23 percent respectively.
Flybe, nominated by Capita, J Sainsbury, nominated by Computershare, and Whitbread, submitted by YBS Share Plans, are the finalists in the best employee share plan communications category.
Flybe took the theme our future…yours to share. Being the first time share schemes had been on offer, most of the employees were not familiar with the company plans and how they operate, so the comms had to be simple and clear. The SIP used binoculars with the idea of keeping an eye on the company’s future and the Sharesave used building blocks and building for the future.
Last year witnessed the 30th anniversary of Sainsbury’s Sharesave plan. As part of the celebrations, 1,000 employees were given 30 free shares after a prize draw. The communications strategy was revamped based upon a survey of what employees thought about past offerings. The booklet was reduced from 16 pages to 6 and as many opportunities as possible were taken to remind employees of the invitation to join the scheme. A new MI tool allowed for more focussed targeting in stores where take-up had been below average.
Whitbread, the company behind Costa, Premier Inn and Beefeater among others, created the character WESS for its Whitbread’s Employee Sharesave Scheme. The character was ubiquitous across media and brands making it clear to employees what each communication was about right from the start. The character took away some of the stigma around the scheme that shares were too complex to engage with.
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