Share schemes continue to play a vital role in rewarding staff and providing a sense of ownership at all levels of an organisation, even in tough economic times.
Virgin Media announced last month that staff who took part in its 2009 sharesave scheme could receive an average of £15,984 each as the ﬁrm is sold to US cable television operator Liberty Global.
The 2,468 employees who joined the plan and paid in an average of £74 a month each over three years will hold shares in the combined group if the deal goes ahead.
Lisa Proctor, group reward manager at FirstGroup, which offers its staff sharesave and buy-as-you-earn schemes, said: “Many staff have been impacted by pay freezes and cost-cutting, which may affect morale and performance. Share schemes are an ideal way to demonstrate the link between organisational and individual performance and motivate staff at a relatively modest cost.”
Energy ﬁrm Centrica, which offers its employees a sharesave scheme and share incentive plan, has seen participation rates increase year-on-year, with many staff retaining their shares after schemes reach maturity.
Stephanie Hallett, head of share schemes at Centrica, said: “This demonstrates that employees are aware their contribution can make a difference [to the organisation].”
Another attraction of share plans is that they can beneﬁt all sections of a workforce, including executives.
Ann Govier, head of senior remuneration, employee share schemes and global mobility at Marks and Spencer, said: “[Sharesave] schemes support staff in taking responsibility for their future ﬁnancial security, enabling them to invest in the future success of their employer. Long-term incentive plans enable [employers] to attract and retain leaders who are focused on delivering business priorities.”