Share plan communications – a luxury or essential to success?

2 January 2018

Emma Dawson

Share plan communications has been a hot topic over the last 12 months, I’d be amazed if you’ve managed to avoid a Stitcher at any of the conferences and award ceremonies, talking about the various aspects of share plan communications and the role they play in helping you deliver your plan objectives.

In getting ready for one of the conferences, I was rootling through the files, reminding myself of some of the lovely work we’ve done, and some of the less than lovely too of course. There’s a certain squirrel that still haunts my dreams.

I also found some old slides where we used to ask how much time and money you spend designing your plans and overall remuneration strategy, dealing with the legal and tax aspects, implementing and running your plans? And how much have you put aside for explaining it to your employees?

Having had a conversation recently with a company who spend several hundred million pounds each year on their discretionary plans, yet have a share plan communications budget of exactly £0, I wonder if we shouldn’t start asking the question again.

It would be hard to imagine any company developing a product along with all the associated cost, and then forgetting to put aside any money to market it. And it’s not just new product launches – it’ll soon be time for your inbox to be filled with reminders that the tax year is coming to an end and not to miss the chance to top up your ISA.

Have a go at the Stitch quiz and discover what kind of communicator you are.

  1. Share plan communications are
    1. A necessary evil
    2. A distraction from the day job
    3. A vital tool in making our plans a success
  2. Our employees
    1. Put their awards in a drawer and forget about them
    2. Are muddled about the plans and how they work
    3. Understand and value their plans
  3. Our budget for share plan communications is
    1. Non-existent so we do the bare minimum
    2. Limited so we do it all ourselves, time is of course free
    3. Built into our plans business case, although we could always do more.
  4. Our share plan communications
    1. Meet the legal requirements
    2. Aren’t really aligned with our plan objectives
    3. Help us meet our plan objectives

Okay – maybe this is a bit skewed and possibly the outcomes are fairly obvious

Mostly As – you’re definitely ticking the boxes

Mostly Bs – boxes are ticked but you know you need to do more, call us any time

Mostly Cs – sounds like you’re making the most of your box of communication tricks

I know you’re all thinking that it’s all well and good for companies with huge budgets and large teams, but what about me? So here’s a few Stitch tips for making the most of whatever budget you do have…

  1. Plan to have a budget! Budget specifically for your share plan communications and recognise there’s a cost no matter how you do them, whether in your own time, bundled into other fees or a dedicated provider like Stitch.
  2. Plan, plan, plan. Don’t leave your share plan communications to the last minute, you will have to make compromises somewhere and you always pay more if you leave things to the last minute.
  3. Focus your budget on the strategic elements – what’s the message, how do I make sure people will notice it? The tactical distribution side of things is where you can save money, especially with all the lovely technology we have at our fingertips nowadays.

So, is communication a luxury or essential to share plan success?

Here at Stitch we believe communication is essential, how will you connect with your employees without it? If you need our help planning your next share plan communication, why not get in touch?