Share plan comms to improve the employee experience

Having worked with Rio Tinto on their share plan communications since 2012, they were keen for us to review and update communications for their all employee share plan ‘ myShare ’. Communications had become cumbersome and inefficient, involving too many items and some duplication of messaging. So together with Rio Tinto and their share plan administrator, Computershare, we completely rethought the communications strategy and then implemented a redesign across all deliverables.

The Brief: Rio Tinto needed us to start by helping them streamline the messaging behind their myShare plan to avoid the unnecessary duplication and print costs that had existed before. Once we had developed a more efficient way of conveying the essential information, they asked us to create comms which encouraged employees to join the myShare plan, explaining the benefits as well as how it works. They also wanted to explain to people who had already joined how the savings plan works in terms of vesting and dividends and the tax implications of that, as well as ways of paying the tax. Further messaging was required to show how easy it is to cancel or change the amount you pay into the plan.

The Challenge:  A lot of time had to be spent in the early stages reviewing and rethinking the employee journey in order to streamline the communications and ensure there was a consistent message going forward. Previously there had been some duplication of messaging with many employees receiving emails as well as printed materials in various different languages, compounded by inconsistencies in content, style and format. Because of the vast amount of messaging sent out via post and online, it was confusing and unnecessary. However as Rio Tinto operates across a number of different countries, each with their own tax legislation, we needed to be careful not to put people off joining. Additionally, many of the people who work for Rio Tinto wouldn’t necessarily have a high level of financial literacy, so we needed to keep the messaging simple and easy to understand in all languages, and regardless of your role in the organisation.

The Solution: We did a complete review of the employee journey and the messaging structure. This gave the communications a much more streamlined approach, so employees only received what they actually needed, they could easily understand the content and then confidently make decisions based on that information.

We produced brochures explaining how to join the plan which were clearly set out in sections detailing the different types of Rio Tinto shares on offer and how these could be purchased by the employee through sacrificing a percentage of their pay. There was a three-year vesting period for these shares but an option to buy shares four times a year, so it was important that the employee be able to easily keep track of which purchased and matching shares were vesting at what time, as this was potentially quite confusing and would affect their ability to sell those shares.

The brochure also covered, in clear but concise detail, how an employee could manage their savings account online, change or stop payments, and sell their shares, with further detail regarding tax implications for each country. Each page was colourful with bold headings and images of Rio Tinto employees from around the world, amongst clear, explanatory copy.

The brochures were translated into 14 languages along with emails, infographics and letters about how to join, as well as further one-page PDFs around how to change your contributions to the plan and information on the vesting process, all with similarly colourful and engaging layouts.

Outcome: Rio Tinto now have a selection of concise, updated communications to send out to their employees, which deliver specific messaging around their myShare offering, whether that be joining the plan, vesting or making changes to an existing plan. These are much less cumbersome than previous comms, which involved copious amounts of paper and came with a high print cost, meaning another significant benefit to Rio Tinto is a huge reduction in both waste and expense. All communications are now much more concise and easier to digest for Rio Tinto’s many employees around the world.

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