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How (and why) to talk about your equity plan

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Why is important to talk about your equity plan?

Employee ownership is a gamechanger, and the reason is simple. It’s there in the name—it turns employees into owners.

At its core, that’s all that employee ownership is. But ownership itself can be quite complicated—or at least it can come with a lot of paperwork and processes. And that’s where a lot of employees start to lose enthusiasm. Nobody wants a benefit if it’s too complicated; if you don’t understand what a reward does or what it’s worth, it’s hard to feel rewarded. Besides, some employees might believe that they have to do a lot more work in order to access the reward.

A lot of equity plan communications don’t exactly help. Oftentimes, it’s because the administrators are too nervous that people won’t understand the benefit, so they throw in a hundred different, convoluted definitions and terms. And other times, it’s simply because the administrators don’t have enough time.

We understand—it can be tough to set aside time for items that you don’t find mission-critical. But that’s what we want you to understand. No matter what type of company you have, or what sort of share plan you offer, communicating your equity plan effectively and convincingly is absolutely mission-critical.

Employee ownership ties together all of the missions in your company, across all departments, and aligns them towards one common goal. Suddenly, everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals—from employees to management, from HR to Sales to Product.

And employee ownership is what brings out the best in your employees. It gives them a great reward, directly linked to all their hard work. Every good employee makes a difference – but employee-owners can actually feel and see the difference they make. At least, they can if they actually understand it, and if they enrol in the first place.

And it’s not enough just to get your employees to enrol in the plan. You want them to make the most of their plans, and get the best value out of them. They can only do that if they have a real understanding of the process. Not to mention, what they will lose if they want to switch companies.

And for all the administrators who are still not quite convinced – when your employees understand their equity, it means that they don’t need to ask you questions about it. You don’t need to be flooded with emails about the same few issues over and over again.

So, it’s easy to see why it’s important to talk about your equity plan. But how do you talk about it?

How do I communicate the benefits of equity?

The first step to a good communication plan is to start early. Incredibly early, actually. You want to give yourself plenty of time to plan and to do step two: make a schedule.

Make a schedule

Write down all of the events that are happening – in the company, not just in the equity plan. You don’t want to send out an entire communication programme at the same time your company is away on a corporate retreat, or during an HR communication programme. And you need to determine when exactly the equity plan events are happening when you’re going to send a communication about them, and how many.

If you send a communication too far in advance of an event, people might forget. You can send multiple emails, but people might start to ignore them. And if you send them too late, then you don’t give anyone a chance to act on the information, or follow up with questions. So, it’s important that you really work out a schedule and a strategy around it.

Make it clear

There’s a saying in Hollywood, that all good movies have a great elevator pitch – a short phrase that encapsulates everything a person needs to know about the movie and if they want to see it. For example, the movie Alien is ‘Jaws, in space.’

The principle is that if you can’t boil a complicated subject down to just one line, then you don’t fully understand it. And if you can’t understand it, you won’t be able to convince anybody else to.

What’s your equity plan’s elevator pitch?

Put it into action

Every great communication, whether it’s a newspaper column, or TV show, or equity plan email, has a clear call-to-action. The audience is convinced, and they want to do something, and there’s a concrete call to action that tells them exactly what to do.

It’s common sense – after you spend an entire email convincing your employees to join your share plan, you need to make sure you make it very easy for them to do it. And right away. A great call-to-action should be along the lines of: ‘Do it now and do it here,’ with a direct link.

Employee ownership is a great benefit, but it needs to be nurtured. You can’t just set up a plan and hope that people will join. The good news is that there are a lot of great benefits to talk about, and the employees will genuinely gain a lot from joining. So it shouldn’t take too much convincing – just the right convincing.

At Global Shares, we’re experts in communicating the benefits of equity plans and employee ownership – we’ve seen firsthand how they can transform both companies and employees for the past 14 years.

To read more about Employee Ownership and how we can help, please click here.

Contact Global Shares to see how we can help transform your employee ownership today.

Please Note: This publication contains general information only and Global Shares is not, through this article, issuing any advice, be it legal, financial, tax-related, business-related, professional or other. The Global Shares Academy is not a substitute for professional advice and should not be used as such. Global Shares does not assume any liability for reliance on the information provided herein.

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