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Winners 2015

  • 01. Manx Telecom

    Manx Telecom

    Against an impressive selection of nominations in this category, the winning entry from Manx Telecom was chosen because the company showed exceptionally good take-up and contribution levels, overcame local tax and trust legislation challenges, chose not to scale-back their grant even when more shares were subscribed for than originally budgeted and made it very easy for employees to participate.
  • 02. Prudential


    Judges were impressed by Prudential’s commitment to developing a shariacompliant share plan given their large employee population in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • 02. Skyscanner


    Judges applauded Skyscanner’s approach to the communication of their international plan using standard imagery but with locally-adapted content and plan designs, which were key to their impressive take-up rate.
  • EVRAZ - Highly Commended

    The judges were agreed that this year the category of ‘Best international share plan’ was the most competitive of all the awards. The entry from EVRAZ showed a clear determination to operate employee share ownership in some challenging jurisdictions (including Russia), which included offering employees real-time share dealing, which impressed the judges.
  • 03. Holiday Extras

    Holiday Extras

    Judges agreed that the winning entry from Holiday Extras showed clear, concise and jargon-free communication, which was tested on colleagues prior to launch, utilising a range of channels including paper, online and face-toface sessions which 70% of the workforce attended.
    The end result was an impressive 63% take up rate.
  • 04. Aviva


    From a strong shortlist of nominations, there was a clear winner in this subcategory. The company behind the winning entry (Aviva) had the courage to go back to the drawing board on their communications approach and questioned their previous assumptions.

    Their well thought-through campaign used a range of tools including SMS, online, QR codes and used a new ‘dashboard’ approach to effectively underline their driving theme. The judges thought that these new communications inspired both longstanding and new employees, post the Friends Life acquisition by Aviva.

  • BT


    A clash of the titans in this hard-fought and competitive award sub-category. The winning entry from BT Group used a comprehensive range of information channels to reach their workforce throughout the lifecycle, rather than just at key events, and signposted where participants could obtain financial advice.

    The judges were particularly impressed at the way the company facilitated the transfer of SAYE maturity share sale proceeds into pensions.

  • 06. UBS


    Another strong shortlist in this category, the judges found it hard to separate the strongest entries. The winning entry (from UBS) showed excellent planning and research prior to effective management of a complex share exchange and plan implementation, with a very high success rate of 90% take-up across a large and geographically diverse population.

    The transaction itself was a complex share exchange and the judges noted the meticulous planning and research that was undertaken prior to communicating with 40,000 colleagues.

  • 06. AutoTrader

    Highly Commended - Auto Trader

    The judges eventually decided to highly commend Auto Trader Group’s entry, who launched a SIP for their employees post-IPO, using plain English and with generous free share awards at the maximum tax-advantaged limit of £3,600 per employee. They particularly liked the celebration of listing at staff briefings and information on share ownership provided to employees.
  • 07. ASDA


    The winning entry from Asda showed a mix of channels and technologies, with segmentation of their target employee audience and use of a powerful MI system for their behind-the-scenes administrators.

    The company demonstrated measurable and clearly evidenced success in use of smartphone technology and increased take-up through SMS and online channels.

  • 08. Henderson Global Investors

    Henderson Global Investors

    Providers/advisors: AAG.

    Henderson Global Investors showed a clear explanation for the initiative and choice of third party provider (AAG), with excellent material including short, simple and jargon-free presentations and very positive feedback from participants.

  • 09. British Land

    British Land

    The judges all agreed that the winner in this sub-category punches well above their weight in terms of the effort invested in fostering employee share ownership in their workforce. British Land reduced their SAYE qualifying period from 18 months to 6 months in order to boost their take-up to 41%, and is currently the only FTSE100 listed company to offer the most generous permissible 2:1 match in their SIP partnership plan, with an 85% participation rate.

    Its winning entry showed commitment to maximising opportunities for employees to participate in share plans, including covering share plans in their induction for new starters and reminding them at their six month work anniversary. The end result is great take up of their plan, alignment of employees with company objectives and a high average employee shareholding.

  • 10. Barratt Developments

    Barratt Developments

    Providers/advisors: Capita Asset Services

    The winner impressed the judges across the board with their share retention levels across a diverse workforce, high-quality financial education, great participation rates and truly comprehensive communications across the widest possible range of channels. They even delayed their SAYE launch in 2014 so that employees could take advantage of the revised £500 limit – the clear winner was Barratt Developments.

  • 10. BT


    Providers/advisors: Equiniti

    The judges commended another consistently strong entry from BT Group, covering every aspect of employee share ownership, with overall employee scheme participation standing at an impressive and enviable 65% of their workforce.
  • 11. Pam Roffe

    Pam Roffe - citing her passion for her subject and impact both within and outside of her employer, Royal Dutch Shell, in the wider share plans world and appetite for dealing with the complexities and challenges of the discipline.

    Some of the testimonials provided in support of her nomination:

    ‘Her ambition to offer our employees shares wherever possible has led her to climb many regulatory mountains. Onwards & upwards!’

    ‘Pam leads by example. She is committed and passionate about share plans and strives to ensure they are top of the agenda within Shell.’

    ‘One of her greatest attributes is her ability to build teams; she encourages individuals from different organisations to partner together and deliver the highest standards.’

    Many congratulations, Pam!

  • 12. Janet Cooper

    Janet Cooper

    The winner of this inaugural award is Janet Cooper. As one of the first female partners in a magic circle law firm in the City, during her 20 years at Linklaters Janet ran the highly successful and top-rated global incentives practice there until her departure in 2011. Since then her newly-founded firm, Tapestry Compliance, has won The Lawyer’s Boutique Law Firm of the Year award and ranks alongside some of the longest-established law firms in the field of incentives in the key legal directories, despite having been up and running for just four years.

    Many hundreds of the share plan professionals attending tonight’s awards will have benefitted from the course that Janet spearheaded with the ICSA, the Certificate in Employee Share Plans. Over the years it has helped to share knowledge and best practice and boost the confidence of and expand the networks of those who studied it.

    Janet has been on the GEO Board since it was founded in 1999 and has been on the ESOP Centre board for 20 years. ProShare is also fortunate to count Janet as a longstanding member of its own Advisory Panel. Her work on the boards of UN Women, Roehampton University and the RNLI demonstrate her deep commitment to public service.

    All those who come into contact with Janet will know that she is approachable, down to earth, innovative in her approach to share plans and an inspiring role model. A most worthy first winner of this prestigious award. Many congratulations, Janet!

Winners 2014

  • Best new share plan

    Winner - Saga  

    The judges were impressed by the fact that Saga had launched its Share Incentive Plan in parallel with employee and customer offers, at the time of the IPO, as it enabled employees to make the most informed choice possible about how they would like to invest. A ‘lookback’ feature shielded participants from price volatility immediately after listing.

    The clarity and pitch of targeted online and paper communications, supplemented by face-to-face ‘surgeries’, were crucial, given the large and diverse employee audience, in achieving take-up results of 37 per cent across an employee base for which owning shares was largely a new experience.


  • Best International share plan

    Winner - DS Smith

    The successful introduction of an international plan, based on SAYE, which provided an opportunity to unite and engage employees in 25 countries in the strategic direction of the Group and to share in its success, which presented numerous challenges, particularly impressed the judges.  

    Extensive communications, in multiple languages, including a promotional video and presentations at 200 sites by local champions, were easy to understand across all cultures. The application process, including the use of local coordinators and access of non-office based employees to PC terminals, resulted in 79 per cent of employees saying that the application process was easy.

    There was a high take-up by employees in countries with no previous exposure to share plans and nearly 60 per cent said they would participate in future.

  • Most effective communication of an employee share plan (up to 1,000 employees)

    Winner - Land Securities

    The judges felt this submission stood out strongly as the Company had revamped its communication strategy in response to a reduction in SAYE participation, employee Q & A feedback and analysis of the demographics of the workforce, to achieve a 20 per cent increase in participation.

    Strong corporate imagery promoting the brand, instead of aspirational images, consistent with internal communications and culture, was used in documentation and messaging focused on key benefits and core messages which it was felt had been lost.

    Recognising that nearly all the workforce was office based with access to the internet, the Company introduced a paperless invitation and application process, which also supported its commitment to reducing its carbon footprint. This was supplemented by several presentations and Q & A sessions.

  • Most effective communication of an employee share plan (1,001 - 15,000 employees)

    Winner –  Amadeus IT Holdings SA

    This submission impressed, with Amadeus having added new features to its already successful communications programme in eight languages, leading to 40 per cent of employees across 42 companies in 29 countries participating in the 2014 operation of the Share Match Plan. Amadeus provides its employees with clear and concise communications which have a consistent look and feel, as well as information sessions to help understanding.

    This year saw the inclusion of four participants from different countries recording testimonials in a ‘homemade’ pre-launch video, the use of ’table-talkers’ to generate interest and to get employees talking about the plan and a simulator to calculate the value of plan investments.  The judges particularly appreciated senior management and Remuneration Committee commitment, including quarterly results updates and reference to the plan in the Annual Report. Overall satisfaction, resulting in a good take-up across a range of countries with 29 per cent participation overall.

  • Most effective communication of an employee share plan (1,001 - 15,000 employees)

    Commended – International Personal Finance

    This submission, which also impressed the judges, recognised that innovative communications were central to the success of IPF’s share plan, ‘Have Your Say’ (HYS), especially as share ownership was new to most employees in participating countries. A centrally produced suite of communications materials, which allowed for local interpretation, explained the ambition to have all employees share in the continued success of the business. The judges particularly liked the modification by the Romanian team of the ‘cake’ graphics to cheese, the slang for cheese being money.

    As well as the traditional communications materials and face-to-face communications, dedicated HYS days were held in some markets and local champions were responsible for explaining the plan. The communications delivered very high levels of awareness, understanding and satisfaction, resulting in a good take-up across a range of countries with 29 per cent participation overall.

  • Most effective communication of an employee share plan (15,001+ employees)

    Joint Winner – Asda

    Continuing their recent record of success, ASDA has once again produced a highly effective communications programme, with clear, well-designed documentation and a good balance of different, innovative methods to reach its large and varied employee base.  The involvement of colleagues in the programme is important, with employees highlighting that they frequently make decisions based on the endorsement of their peers, so drawing on real-life examples and anecdotes in communications is important to them.

    The judges highlighted the benefits of simple language and strong visuals, including the ongoing use of an icon to help create a plan identity and were particularly taken with the Christmas card teaser campaign to raise awareness of the forthcoming 2014 launch.  ASDA’s more tailored approach to communications gave this year’s offer greater resonance with employees in each part of the business, increasing take-up by over 8 per cent The majority of those who participated in 2014 did so by SMS – 77 per cent.


  • Most effective communication of an employee share plan (15,001+ employees)

    Joint winner - Sky

    Following a 13 per cent fall in Sharesave take-up, Sky set a challenging target to increase it by 25 per cent and undertook a radical review of its communication strategy. Employee feedback from all areas of the business impacted the planning, execution and analysis of the relaunch. A concise communications plan was put together, including various channels, with communications customised to each business area and a strong focus on those with historically lower take-up rates. Also in response to feedback, a hard copy brochure was sent to home addresses. 

    Roadshows across 13 of the sites with the highest concentration of employees received fantastic feedback, with employees expressing the value of being able to ask questions about and the benefits of the plan. The judges were particularly impressed by the unprecedented 58 per cent overall increase in take-up, with historically lower areas closer to the Company average.

  • Best commitment to employee share ownership for small companies with fewer than 250 employees

    Winner - TLC Marketing Worldwide

    This submission stood out for the judges as there was a clear link between the share plan and the business and corporate objectives. Four months were spent identifying how best to pull employees together as a worldwide group in order to best align the ambitions of the Board and founders with those of employees worldwide. Having decided that an equity underpin was needed to help secure the continued employment of all employees within the ‘family’, significant time was spent researching equity incentive plans in the 12 countries with operations, regardless of cost.

    The creation of the ‘TLC Owners’ Club’, which entrenched a real message about the benefits of  share ownership and created a clear link with TLC’s planned IPO, caught the judges’ eyes. 

  • Best employee share plan outcome following a major corporate change

    Winner – TSB

    The judges were impressed with this very thorough submission on a number of levels. With a strong culture and share ownership philosophy from the CEO and Executive Committee, the IPO enabled three attractive share plans to be launched. Clear, extensive and supportive communications, including a specially designed portal and phone service, encouraged participation, and also covered in a comprehensive manner the exit from the Lloyds Banking Group employee share plans which was well explained.

    There was an excellent level of participation with 36 per cent taking up the Sharesave element, with average savings of £134 per month and 22 per cent of employees currently participating in Sharematch.

  • Best employee share plan outcome following a major corporate change

    Commended - Royal Mail

    The judges felt that Royal Mail merited a commendation for the launch of its employee share plan in view of the complexity of, and the challenging circumstances surrounding, the flotation.  This involved a comprehensive multi-channel strategy with a strong focus on face-to-face communications, which was unrivalled in its scale, dedicated in-depth briefings for managers and colleagues and access to materials outside work. The campaign leveraged all existing channels to ensure that employees, who had a limited understanding of share ownership and share plans, fully understood the offer.  This resulted in a very high proportion of employees feeling well informed about the plan.

  • Most effective use of technology

    Winner – BT

    What impressed the judges with this submission was the array of personalised online tools provided and the information made available for BT’s Sharesave maturity, together with its clarity and comprehensiveness.  The 2014 maturity presented particular challenges given the significant potential profit available to participants.  Maximum use of technology was used to enable participants to make informed decisions so as to make full use of allowances and reliefs, and to understand the financial and capital gains tax implications, which was something new for most participants.

    Surveys indicated what, when and how participants wanted their maturity information. Developments included: interactive newsdesk articles on which participants could comment and the share plans team could respond, a myth buster, an enhanced Sharesave CGT modeler and a question time session which employees could join in person or by live webcast. Very high levels of satisfaction with the process, choices and intranet site were recorded.

  • Best overall performance in fostering employee share ownership (up to 1,000 employees)

    Winner – Henderson Global Investors

    Henderson has once again impressed the judges with its consistency in approach and performance in fostering employee share ownership which is an integral part of its reward strategy. The Company has demonstrated a clear understanding that employees have varying needs when it comes to share plans and therefore operates a broad selection of plans to cater for this. Plans have varying levels of risk as Henderson believes that the element of risk focuses the minds and actions of employees.

    Participants are guided through the life of a plan and at vesting when a range of choices is offered. Particularly important to the Company is that employees have a good financial knowledge and share plan knowledge and to this end hosts financial education days which include one-to-ones with appropriate experts.  Share retention remains high with 52 per cent of participants retaining shares on Sharesave maturity, and with current employee share ownership standing at just under 10 per cent

  • Best overall performance in fostering employee share ownership (1,001 - 15,000 employees)

    Winner - TalkTalk

    This submission stood out for the judges because of the direct link between the launch of employee share initiatives and the impact on employee engagement. Building a business in which employees want to invest is seen as critical to long-term success. The launch of ‘Sparkle,’ which saw 1,000 shares gifted to every employee in 2012, was a huge driver of employee engagement. Responding to employee feedback that people wanted extra flexibility with their investment, a Share Match Plan was introduced in 2014 – resulting in a take-up of 14 per cent already.

    To encourage participation, a multi-platform approach has been taken by TalkTalk, leveraging online communications – including pre-registration, a new social intranet, ‘the Wire’ - and offline communications – posters and ‘drop-in’ sessions. Paper application forms are sent to employees who are not comfortable with the online process. Overall participation in Sharesave is 55 per cent with average monthly savings in Sharesave 2014 of £159, £39 higher than in 201

  • Best overall performance in fostering employee share ownership (15,001+ employees)

    Winner – BT

    BT, a frequent winner, once again impressed the judges, demonstrating a clear vision and an ongoing commitment to employee share ownership. It continues to find ways of improving the employee experience and maximising employee understanding, be it on launch, during the life of the plan or on maturity where participants were given an innovative personalised Sharesave choices modeler this year, to enable them to effectively and efficiently invest for their future. The judges were particularly impressed with the effort that goes into Sharesave maturities and the strong sense of community.

    An extensive communications programme, including postal communications for mobile employees without access to email or intranet, ensures take-up levels remain high and continue to grow across the Group. 71 per cent of UK employees participate in Sharesave and 36 per cent in the SIP (Partnership Shares). The annual share plan survey highlights the positive impact of employee share ownership, with 88 per cent of employees who own shares saying it made them more interested in the BT performance.  Over 70 per cent of participants said they intended to keep some or all of their shares following the 2014 Sharesave maturity – only 4.7 per cent of the shares allocated to participants on maturity were sold

Winners 2013

  • Best new share plan

    Winner - Amadeus IT Holding

    The judges considered that Amadeus introduced an impeccable new share plan that did everything right. They instituted a share match with free shares and communicated this clearly and concisely to employees. Alignment with company objectives and backing from the board and senior management ensured a successful rollout to 4,000 employees (57 per cent of eligible employees) in 25 countries.

    The judges were impressed by the well-planned two-month communication campaign, particularly the use of a five-minute video and of local champions to get the message across.
  • Best international share plan

    Winner - Rio Tinto

    The judges were impressed with this entry on many levels. Global employee engagement surveys in 2011 and 2012 highlighted employees’ strong desire to own company shares, and this provided a strong platform for what followed. With 56,000 employees in 38 countries speaking 13 languages the company faced a number of major challenges which they overcame by working closely with their administrator and legal team.

    The single sign-on employee portal provided the ideal way for employees to access the plan worldwide. This was supported by an intensive communication campaign incorporating video and a personal message from the CEO which delivered a clear message of inclusion. The decision to always ‘go the extra mile’ by recruiting local champions and translating into 13 languages ensured the success of the plan.

  • Most effective communication of an employee share plan - up to 1,000 employees

    Winner - Rackspace

    A first-time entrant and now winner of an ifs ProShare Award, this entry delivered on a number of levels.  No stone was left unturned in communicating with employees via website, table talkers, booklet, email campaign and personalised letter. Monthly ‘Open Book’ staff meetings highlighted the forthcoming plan and ‘weekly talking points’ were covered in the weekly online newsletter.

    ‘Town Hall’ presentation events delivered by HR Business Partners and generalists allowed ‘Rackers’ to get a full understanding of share plans at Rackspace. For those unable to attend the larger presentations, managers’ briefings were also available.The judges particularly appreciated the fact that senior management fully embraced the plan, and that the message was consistently clear and concise. The ’Share for success’ plan achieved a participation rate of close to 30%.

  • Most effective communication of an employee share plan - 1,001 - 15,000 employee

    Winner - Henderson Global Investors

    Henderson continues to seek feedback from employees and the latest staff survey shows that varied and effective communication has resulted in over 95 per cent of employees with either full or sufficient understanding of the available share plans. As well as delivering the expected communication methods, Henderson also organises Financial Education Days, parties to celebrate BAYE anniversaries, and stands to promote awareness in restaurant and canteen areas.

    This year also encompassed a new share plan platform, which provided a fresh opportunity to communicate with all employees and to deliver faster, simpler solutions to share plan entry and exit and for ongoing enquiries. Henderson continues to ‘live’ employee share plans and they are at the heart of what drives the business forward.

  • Most effective communication of an employee share plan - 1,001 - 15,000 employees

    Commended - Amadeus IT Holding

    This Spain-based company impressed the judges with the clean, concise design of the communication materials and the consistency of the message. The video provided a simple understanding of the issues at hand and allowed the company to communicate with their employees worldwide. Local champions ‘Share Match Plan Experts’ were appointed and responsible for employees’ questions and co-ordinating implementation. This helped create a sense of confidence and local knowledge.

    The full range of communication tools overcame the fact that many employees had not previously participated in equity; allowed communication in 25 countries; and dealt well with the turbulent economic situation in Europe and on the Spanish stock market. A well thought-out communication delivered 57 per cent participation, equating to over 4,000 of eligible employees.

  • Most effective communication of an employee share plan - 15,001+ employees

    Commended - BT

    The judges were struck by the level of employee research that paved the way for a successful communication campaign. UK and overseas employees were surveyed separately to gauge levels of awareness, understanding and satisfaction. The results of employee feedback were then used to enhance the design, communication and administration strategy. ’95 per cent were satisfied or very satisfied with the quantity, quality and timeliness of communications.’

    Always a strong submission, this year was no different. A varied and comprehensive multi-media campaign communicated five plans and included personalised emails, invitation / maturity packs, face-to-face seminars, pre-recorded knowledge calls and CGT helpdesks. BT Today, interactive brochures, BT TV and e-chats helped spread the message, and intranet, PeopleNews and OfficeTalk ensured that no stone was left unturned in delivering a clear and concise message. The results saw an increase in participation in all plans, and two thirds of BT’s workforce now participates in saveshare.

  • Best Commitment to employee Share ownership for small companies with fewer than 250 employees

    Winner - IGas

    The introduction of the Share Incentive Plan, including partnership and matching shares, ensured that IGas aligned its vision of employee engagement, motivation and development with its reward and benefits package. The board and senior management team explained clearly why SIP had been chosen ahead of sharesave, and that they wanted employees to share in the future success of the business.

    Clear performance linking is evident in this plan, as the regular match of 1:1 is enhanced to 2:1 if the company’s quarterly oil and gas production target is met. All communication material was clear, concise and factual, relaying the message in a no-nonsense manner. The judges commented on how this had been linked with take-home pay. The success of this plan is reflected in the fact that 75 per cent of eligible employees participate and that 59 per cent contribute the maximum monthly entitlement.


  • Best employee share plan following a major corporate change

    Winner - Convivality Retail

    The strong backing of the board and leadership from the CEO together with clear communication and the inclusion of franchisees in the plan greatly impressed the judges. The board’s key objective to offer similar share-based incentives to executives, employees and franchisees was clearly met by the introduction of this plan. All communication took place over a short period of time around the IPO. This included presentations to employees and franchisees with the board placing a strong emphasis on face-to-face communication. Roadshows were delivered by the plan advisers and introduced by the CEO to effectively deal with all questions across the breadth of potential issues.

    The plan was offered close to the deadline for Award submissions, but early indications show a very strong level of participation from both employees and franchisees, both of which will be offered follow-up presentations in the near future.

  • Most effective use of technology

    Commended - Henderson Global Investors

    Henderson worked closely with its administrator to develop a share platform that delivered to its employees on all fronts. Henderson is no stranger to the awards and has once again raised the bar with this submission. The three key areas of focus for 2013 were Sharesave maturity, ExSOP sales process and transfer of BAYE (SIP) shares to ISA, SIPP or share dealing.

    The judges commented on the extent of the platform functionality and the choices available to employees. It was evident from the passion conveyed that Henderson share plans are on a journey and that everyone at the company strives to make life easier for all those participating. A particular highlight was the employee satisfaction survey that again demonstrated the continual communication between employer and employee.

  • Best overall performance in fostering employee share ownership - up to 1,000 employees

    Commended - Jupiter Fund Management

    With 23 per cent of shares already held by employees, Jupiter had a strong base from which to foster employee share ownership.It was noticeable that the senior management buy-in had a strong influence on employee participation. One of the major tools for communication was a series of face-to-face briefings which the CEO attended and introduced. A thorough communication campaign also ensured that all employees had the required information and knowledge to participate in the plan. With participation rates standing at 78 per cent for sharesave and 48 per cent for the SIP, Jupiter and our judges are confident that a strong culture of employee share ownership already exists and will provide an excellent platform from which to build in future.

  • Best overall performance in fostering employee share ownership - 1,001- 15,000 employees

    Commended - Childbase

    With a network of 42 day nurseries, fostering togetherness and employee share ownership could be a challenge, but it is one that Childbase have overcome and gone on to deliver a success story. ‘Success is founded on partnership not collaboration’: a cornerstone of Childbase’s thinking that is reflected in senior management involvement in delivering employee share ownership for all. The aim of promoting share ownership with effective communication and ease of participation for all employees is achieved in many ways, and the fact that 67 per cent of employees participate in the plan demonstrates the success of the strategy. Looking ahead, a firm commitment has been made to The Partnership Board in conjunction with employees to the company becoming entirely employee-owned over the course of the next ten years.

  • Best overall performance in fostering employee share ownership - 1,001- 15,000 employees

    Commended - Henderson Global Investors

    Once again Henderson has built on its previous success and came close again this year. Every year something new appears on the Henderson horizon and as well as launching a new share plan platform it introduced a raft of new initiatives to sit alongside many tried and tested favourites.

    Highlights of the year include Financial Education Day, the BAYE anniversary party, Lump-Sum BAYE and the extension of the CSOP and ExSOP. The judges have no doubt that Henderson will continue to be a major contender in this arena.

  • Best overall performance in fostering employee share ownership - 15,001+ employees

    Commended - Aviva

    At the heart of this submission were three key messages that appealed to the judges:

    1. Encouraging a culture of share ownership'
    Senior managers are actively involved in plan promotion, and engage with employees throughout the process.
    2. ‘Communication.’
    Innovative channels such as webinars and roadshows enable staff to learn about plans as well as delivering a clear, simple and consistent communication campaign. Effective case studies from employees clearly highlight the potential benefits of participating in the plans.
    3.   ‘Ease of participation.’
    Allowing employees to choose how they apply via online or SMS text, and providing easy access via a branded portal.

    The success of the strategy is reflected in the participation of 45 per cent in SAYE and 54 per cent in the new matching share plan.

Winners 2012

  • Best new share plan - Stagecoach Group

    Best new share plan

    Winner -  Stagecoach Group

    The judges considered that Stagecoach had introduced a new plan that aligned with its key objective of increasing the number of employees owning shares in the business. They were impressed with the review of Stagecoach’s previous employee share plan and the move to inject new life into employee ownership, by offering a new Share Incentive Plan (BAYE). A strong communication plan to a decentralised UK workforce of 30,000 employees working at depots, stations and various other locations included clear pictorial brochures, posters and table talkers, and enabled employees to join up by telephone, online or by paper application.

    By setting a minimum contribution of £2, and by providing a 2:1 employer match for each share purchased out of the £10 of every monthly investment made, Stagecoach ensured that all employees would benefit equally. This resulted in 26 per cent of the workforce participating, and greatly increased the number of employees now holding shares in the company.


  • Best international share plan - Smith & Nephew

    Best new international plan

    Winner -  Smith & Nephew

    The judges were impressed with the fresh approach and the way in which Smith & Nephew appears to progress its international employee share plan alongside that of its UK plans. They feel that the two key objectives – of enhancing employee benefits and strengthening corporate identity among the workforce – were well targeted, and the results demonstrate that both have been achieved.

    Working closely with its advisers, administrators and an independent design agency, it delivered a communication campaign that was both eye-catching and flexible. The judges particularly enjoyed the interactive brochure (translated into 27 languages) and the standout approach of the flags of all nations involved. This resulted in strong participation in all employee share plans, with 17 per cent of non-UK employees participating in the plan.

  • Most effective use of technology - Vodafone

    Most effective communication of an employee share plan - 1,001 - 15,000 employees

    Winner: Vodafone

    At the core of this winning entry was the involvement of the employees. ‘We want to always focus on what the employees want to know – rather than what we think we should tell them. So we ask them what they want!’ The judges were impressed with the employee research, particularly the work that Vodafone did when identifying the group of employees who had not previously participated in the plan. This enabled it to focus on designing a highly effective marketing campaign, to deliver messages to existing participants and to those who had not yet joined.

    The web portal was outstanding and provided an excellent insight into the way in which Vodafone interacts with employees. It delivers a clear and concise message regarding the share plan, and engages employees with the company values and branding.

  • Most effective communication of an employee share plan - 1,001 - 15,000 employees

    Commended: Legal & General

    A detailed and thorough submission that left no stone unturned when considering the communication of a share plan maturity. The judges were struck by the cohesion of the cross-company team that delivered on many levels, and they particularly liked the involvement of employees in the design of the communication programme. This included an employee survey and detailed analysis of its results.

    The survey indicated that: ‘The majority of employees favoured face-to-face communications when it came to explaining complex issues’. This enabled Legal & General to design and deliver tailored presentations to explain tax issues and to help employees understand their needs. The campaign has been a great success and can be measured by the number of employees who have transferred to the corporate nominee, share certificate, Worksave ISA or group self-invested personal pension.

  • Most effective communication of an employee share plan (15,001+ employees) - Asda

    Most effective communication of an employee share plan - 15,001+ employees

    Winner: Asda

    This was a strong all-round entry, based on early involvement of colleagues in the design of the communication programme. Before designing the campaign, face-to-face research was carried out with a broad range of Asda colleagues. This provided a strong understanding of what communication channels colleagues found most useful, and helped to identify a widespread use of email and SMS in the workforce.

    The judges were impressed by the clarity of messages, with Plain English and user-friendly, clear, simple language being at the heart of the Asda communication. A network of Sharesave champions was mobilised across all locations, each provided with a ‘toolkit’ including a range of promotional materials. The introduction of a real-time process management system (a dedicated reporting site) enabled analysis in real time, identifying take-up by figures in store, division and region throughout the invitation period. It helped to identify and diagnose areas with low take-up, so that remedial action could be taken to promote participation.


  • Most effective communication of an employee share plan - 15,001+ employees

    Commended: J Sainsbury

    Under the banner ‘Time to listen’, a comprehensive series of store visits and focus groups was at the heart of this well-structured communication campaign with store youth forums, colleague councils and local HR managers. The judges highlighted a number of initiatives, such as the significant rebranding of all colleague communications, the variety and choice of how to sign up, and the use of ‘store adopters’ (where head office staff adopt a store as part of the store adoption programme), as being instrumental in the success of this plan.

    The thirtieth anniversary of Sharesave, the 30/30 prize draw, and the introduction of the Real Time management information tool to measure and target store take-up levels, all contributed to a 26.3 per cent increase on 2010 participation rates.

  • Most effective communication of an employee share plan -15,001+ employees

    Commended: Marks & Spencer

    Involving employees in all aspects of the Sharesave launch has always been the Marks & Spencer way, and this year proved no different. The company’s network of employee-elected representatives (the business involvement groups) once again collected the views of employees in the lead-up to the launch. The judges were struck by the focus on 30 years of Sharesave and the three decades of success stories. The wish to encourage more new young savers, the move towards technology in a challenging retail environment, and the need to further reduce jargon in all communications were all addressed.

    An eye-catching campaign that mixed traditional communication with technology once again delivered a strong set of results. The judges also noted the introduction of a charitable donation for each electronic application, with a donation being made to Macmillan Cancer Support.


  • Best commitment to employee share ownership for small companies with fewer than 250 employees - FFastFill

    Best commitment to employee share ownership for small companies with fewer than 250 employees

    Winner: FFastFill

    The introduction of the UK Share Incentive Plan, including the Accumulation Plan and Free Share Award both with maximum entitlements, ensured that FFastFill had aligned its vision of employee engagement, motivation and development with its reward and benefits package. A key trigger for the plan this year was the review of previous plans and the need to address a positive retention and recognition policy. The communication material was clear, concise and factual. It relayed the message in a no-nonsense manner, and the judges commented on how well the HR and management team worked together to ensure successful communication. This is clearly reflected in the number of employees participating in the plan.

  • Most effective use of technology - Vodafone

    Most effective use of technology

    Winner: Vodafone

    A review of ‘What was important to our employees’ was carried out, involving 70 HR colleagues from across the 35 countries operating the share plan. Vodafone identified the three goals of speed, simplicity and trust as cornerstones of its offering. The judges liked the fact that they cut through the layers of compliance that are sometimes associated with delivering a plan, and were very impressed with the employee portal ‘Reward Talk’.

    The website was aligned with the company brand promise of ‘putting the customer first’, and the clear design and navigation make it simple for the employees to understand. Reward Talk mobile further enhances the proposition. The results of this new approach were outstanding, and included the fact that 29 per cent of participants were new to share plans.


  • Most effective use of Technology

    Commended: BT

    In conjunction with its administrator, BT introduced real-time dealing for its Share

    Incentive Plan, and delivered a platform of choices for the three-year maturity. The judges were impressed with the range of choice available and the flexibility that the offering provided for employees. With Q1 business results being released only five business days before the maturity, this system allowed employees to change instruction as late as possible and to take into account any change in share price.

    The portal was clear and concise. It took employees on a journey of choice, which involved extensive functionality and usability testing, to ensure that multiple choices could be made on a single screen. The real-time dealing function saw instant results, while the number of participants who sold online trebled as compared with the same period in 2011.

  • Best overall performance in fostering employee share ownership (up to 1,000 employees) - Croda International

    Best overall performance in fostering employee share ownership - up to 1,000 employees

    Winner: Croda International

    Over 75 per cent of all employees at Croda International participate in one or both of the all-employee share plans. The share plans aid retention objectives by reducing turnover, align the long-term growth to the employees’ interest, and sit within the corporate objectives of reward and driving performance excellence. Both plans offer generous terms, with a 20 per cent discount for SAYE and a 1:1 match for employees participating in the partnership shares element of the Share Incentive Plan. Extensive promotion ensures that all employees receive support and guidance throughout the life of the scheme. The high level of participation indicates a continued desire within the workforce to be involved with Croda, and meets the corporate objective of aligning the interests of employees with that of shareholders.

  • Best overall performance in fostering employee share ownership -  up to 1,000 employees

    Commended: ASOS

    The judges were impressed by the drive within the organisation – from the CEO downwards – to encourage employees to take a stake in the business. As people would expect for an online company, this forms the majority of communications with all employees. This year proved no different, with a campaign that started with teaser emails and culminated in electronic applications. The need and importance of face-to-face communication was also identified, with the CEO leading a series of presentations and Q&A sessions across the company. Particularly striking were the many sound bites that indicate how valued employees feel about their participating in the share plan


  • Best overall performance in fostering employee share ownership (1,001 - 15,000 employees) - Henderson Global Investors and Imagination Technologies Group

    Best overall performance in fostering employee share ownership: 1,001–15,000 employees

    Joint Winner: Henderson Global Investors

    Henderson has built on previous success and again raised the bar in fostering employee share ownership. The judges noted that they are ‘living their employee share plans’ and that they bring a certain joy to this arena. All share plans are designed to support the reward strategy and employee share ownership across all levels within the company. Highlights of the year include financial education day, the BAYE anniversary party, lump-sum BAYE, and the extension of the CSOP and ExSOP.

  • Best overall performance in fostering employee share ownership (1,001 - 15,000 employees) - Henderson Global Investors and Imagination Technologies Group

    Most effective communication of an employee share plan - 15,001+ employees

    Joint Winner: Imagination Technologies Group

    The judges were impressed with the variety of plans available to employees, and liked the innovative design of the tax-efficient employee share plan, introduced to support the corporate vision. The company believes that its excellent employee retention record is due to this strong and competitive share plan culture, with even discretionary schemes being offered on a company-wide basis. A particular point to note was the availability of IFAs for employees to discuss a range of share plan, pension and more general financial awareness issues.

  • Most effective communication of an employee share plan - 15,001+ employees

    Commended: Northgate

    Northgate reviewed its existing plans and identified a group of employees who were struggling to participate in its existing plans in the current financial climate. As a result, Northgate introduced an inclusive free share plan. The judges liked this inclusive approach, and were impressed by a clear, concise communication campaign that was designed to appeal to all employees. The share schemes are proven to impact positively on staff, resulting in improved performance and employee retention. This supports the company values of teamwork, professionalism and a ‘can do’ attitude.


  • Best overall performance in fostering employee share ownership (15,001+ employees) - Asda

    Best overall performance in fostering employee share ownership - 15,001+ employees

    Winner: Asda

    Asda offered its first employee share plan exactly 30 years ago, and fostering employee share ownership has been at the heart of the business ever since.

    The founder of Walmart, Sam Walton, had ten rules for building a business. Rule number two stated that you should: ‘Encourage your associates to hold a stake in the
    company and offer discounted stock . . . it’s the single best thing we ever did’.

    The judges were impressed with a range of initiatives, such as Sharesave, CSOP and executive share options, that help to deliver the corporate vision. Combined with effective communication and ease of participation for colleagues via SMS, telephone and online, this delivers a very comprehensive package. Quantifiable success is crucial to achieving the company goals, and over 55,000 colleagues are Walmart shareholders.

  • Best overall performance in fostering employee share ownership - 15,001+ employees

    Commended: Tesco

    Share ownership remains at the heart of Tesco values and is embedded as part of the company culture. A clear link exists between the employee share plans and corporate objectives. The Total Reward statement sent to all employees at their home address stands out as one of many examples of how important share ownership is within the organisation. Tesco combines traditional face-to-face communication with technology that enables employees to amend maturity instructions at only a few days’ notice. The judges particularly admired the co-ordinated and consistent share plan strategy that Tesco demonstrates year on year when communicating to a UK workforce of 300,000 employees. A measure of the continued success is that over 205,000 employees are shareholders in the company through employee share plans.

Winners 2011

  • Best new share plan 

    Flybe Group – WINNER

    The judges considered that Flybe Group introduced plans that aligned with the four core values of their organisation: Passion, Simplicity, Agility and Reward. A small project team effectively overcame the communication of SIP and Sharesave to a workforce that was spread across 14 airports, had significant difference in employee demographics, limited access to company intranet or email, worked unsociable hours in the sky and had limited experience of any previous share plans. The judges particularly liked the effective strap line “Our future yours to share”.The SIP was highly successful achieving 99.6% take up of eligible employees and the Sharesave was so successful it was oversubscribed 11 times with nearly 50% of the workforce participating.



  • Best new share plan

    TT Electronics – COMMENDED   

    Involvement of employees in the design of the communication programme attracted the judges to this highly commended submission. The company carefully considered the employee demographic and responded to this in the communication materials (60% of the workforce has no PC facility or e-mail at work and a large proportion of the staff work on the factory floor). The communication plan was focused on people, targeting employees based on employment group and gender and included prominent use of employees’ first of preferred names.

    Efforts were rewarded with a 29% participation level across the group and one fifth of participants electing to save £250.

  • Most effective use of technology


    The judges were impressed with the all encompassing nature of BTs use of technologies and how the web portal allows employee access direct from either the BT intranet or any external PC across all 7 employee share plans. BT played a strong consultative role in providing feedback for a “wish list” of 900 requirements for a new employee share plans portal. They worked closely with their administrators (Equiniti) through focus groups and testing of the usability software. The new portal was utilized to confirm options granted, and to provide instructions on maturity. Employees can also use the portal to cancel Sharesave contracts, apply for SIP, and change SIP contributions.

    Most impressive was the incorporation of modelling tools, and employees for the first time can easily see the financial impact this will have. For example, how much tax and NICS would be saved when applying for SIP partnership shares.

  • Most effective use of Technology

    Shell – COMMENDED

    The judges were impressed that Shell (in conjunction with their administrators Computershare) had been able to streamline a complex financial transactional aspect of their Performance Share Plan (PSP) through the use of technology.

    This has enabled an increase in plan participation and now delivers an electronic share or cash delivery process that is easy to use.

  • Best employee share plan following a major corporate change

    Cable and Wireless Worldwide – WINNER

    The judges were impressed by Cable and Wireless Worldwide’s high level of employee engagement and buy in to the management vision; and particularly liked the fact that share plan take-up became a KPI for the People team and was included in monthly reports to the board. They selected a friendly approach to communications for their new SIP and proved that commitment to employee share plans need not be costly to be effective. This is backed up by the fact that 98% of employees are now shareholders and 38% invest their own money in the company.

  • Best international share plan
    BP - WINNER  

    The judges were impressed with the global reach of BP’s plan but liked the fact that they still retained the personal element. The Global Match Plan emphasised the BP corporate glue as it operates under different brands and gives employees a sense of belonging and a perspective beyond their own team or business unit. A range of multilingual communication methods were used to good advantage to communicate the plan, and allied with a strong network of local administrators and co-ordinators it ensured a smooth process and strong participation levels. The average participation rate across all 51 countries was 59%.


  • Best international share plan

    Invensys – COMMENDED  

    This entry included innovative ideas such as a dedicated “Participation Portal” only accessible by eligible employees via a link emailed to them by their local co-ordinator.
    It also included a comprehensive communication programme such as web conferences with local co-ordinators, team briefings, email broadcasts and posters. The judges thought that the time invested in including China and the strong participation levels made this a highly commended submission.

  • Most effective communication of an employee share plan -  Up to 1,000 employees

    Moneysupermarket.com – WINNER

    The judges liked the fact that representatives from all major departments were included at the outset in determining how the Sharesave plan would be communicated to employees. The final design was compatible with other benefits being offered by the organisation and was engaging, user friendly and free of jargon. The campaign focused around e-delivery and included countdown messages, reminders and posters. A commitment to communicate to all employees and a strong participation level of almost 50% saw this entry find favour with the judges
  • Most effective communication of an employee share plan - 1,001 -15,000 employees

    Henderson – WINNER

    A comprehensive communication programme ensures a full understanding of share plans for all. This was reflected in April with the acquisition of Gartmore whose employees were offered a presentation on the BAYE plan and the ability to join on their first day working with Henderson. The judges particularly liked the BAYE party for employees who have reached five years in the plan and therefore their partnership and matching shares have started to become tax free. This included a 15 minute presentation on what reaching five years means to them. Continuous communication includes a share scheme survey where 95% of employees said that they understand the share schemes sufficiently to make an informed decision as to whether to participate.


  • Most effective communication of an employee share plan - 15,000 employees
      Marks & Spencer – WINNER

    Marks & Spencer demonstrated an excellent use of Focus Groups giving a diverse range of employees input into how share plans could be communicated at the “restyle” stage of the process. Marks & Spencer also engaged the services of BIG (Business Involvement Group) directly elected employees both at stores, regional and national levels. They took part in the Focus Groups and also filtered feedback from all 622 stores providing the most comprehensive survey of share plans ever undertaken. The judges were impressed that these actions had lead to a 10% increase in participation of all eligible employees.



  • Most effective communication of an employee share plan - 15,000 employees

    BAE Systems – COMMENDED     

    The judges were impressed with the use of discussion and bulletin boards within the comprehensive SIP communication campaign. They particularly liked the way employees were directed to the share portal and how the calculators and online statements provided a clear overview of choices.
  • Best overall performance in fostering employee share ownership -  1,001 – 15,000 employees
     Henderson – WINNER 

    Henderson continues to build on their previous success and consistently set the bar in fostering employee share ownership. The organisation shows a clear commitment to employee share ownership while taking care to give employees the tools they need to make informed investment choices. 


  • Best overall performance in fostering employee share ownership - 15,000+ employees
     Tesco – WINNER

    Following on from their success over the last two years, Tesco have once again retained this award. They remain focused on innovation, an example of which is their annual total reward statement which every employee receives at their home address. Using a bespoke software solution developed in-house they are able to give every employee the total value of their shareholding along with details of what they can access and when. Even employees who are yet to start employment receive a “welcome pack” containing full details of all share plans available and this is followed up with a face to face induction when they start and communications at key milestones. All in all a very good all round performance that is reflected in 77% of the employees being share holders in the company through employee share plans.


  • Most effective communication of an employee share plan - 1,001 -15,000 employees

    Vodafone – COMMENDED 

    The judges liked the way that Vodafone incorporated feedback from previous years to shape the content of communication and the channels they used to deliver it. An example of which is that employees can join Sharesave and SIP online or via SMS. “We use a strategic approach to creating our share plans and reward communications which ensures our focus is always on what the employees want to know – rather than what we think we should tell them!”

  • Best overall performance in fostering employee share ownership - 15,000+


    Once again a strong entry from BT delivering advancements in technology via the new web portal and an all round excellent communication programme. The judges like the continuous improvement year on year and the actions taken based on feedback from the annual employee survey.