Royal Dutch Shell has been awarded the title best employee share ownership plan worldwide at the Employee Share Ownership Centre (Esop Centre) awards.
The multinational oil and gas company had previously won the award in 2010. Since then it has increased its communications and introduced a dedicated website for its share plan.
Around 29,000 employees in more than 80 countries benefit from Shell’s global employee share purchase plan. Employees can buy shares worth up to €6,000 at a 15% discount to the share price. These shares are then transferred into a special account created by provider Computershare.
Diageo was highly commended in the same category for its international share-match plan and was awarded a special prize for overall best runner-up.
Under the scheme, the drinks company’s employees are given a free share for every three they buy, up to a value of £3,000 per year.
Henderson Global Investors took the award for best employee share ownership plan in an organisation with fewer than 1,500 employees.
The investment firm, which dedicates 12% of its shareholding to its employee share ownership plans, offers employees a suite of share schemes and a financial education programme to ensure staff get the most out of them.
J Sainsbury was awarded the inaugural best employee share plan communications for the communications around the 30th anniversary of its sharesave plan. As part of the celebrations, 1,000 employees received 30 free shares each after a prize draw.
Andrea Hasell, share plan manager at Sainsbury’s, said: “Our 30th anniversary sharesave invitation was incredibly successful and gave us a significant step forward for one of our 20by20 Sustainability Plan targets, which aims to increase employee share ownership by 25% by 2020.”
Flybe and Whitbread were commended in the new communications category.
Jo Swinson, business minister, who presented Royal Dutch Shell with its award, said: “Employee share ownership can play an important role in growth by giving employees a real stake in the business.”