This article has been supplied by YBS Share Plans.
The key to boosting engagement with share plans lies in a more human form of communication
When looking at delivering a new employee benefit, product or message to their customers, whether that be internal or external, most organisations do so with the best of intentions. They do not purposely set out to disengage their employees or create a bad customer experience.
Delivering the right customer experiences and engaging employees continues to be a topical issue in all forms of employee benefits, but understanding the customer experience plays a key role in the world of all-employee share plans and the employees these are made available to.
In its 2013 Autumn Statement, the government announced the increase in savings limit for both sharesave and share incentive plans (Sips). This, along with the increased activity in the initial public offering (IPO) market and the economy in general, has triggered a resurgence of both the introduction of new plans and companies renewing existing plans.
With this upward trend in corporate engagement for all-employee share plans, it is now, more than ever, important to ensure that employees receive an excellent customer experience to ensure they are fully engaged in the benefits that are offered as part of their overall remuneration package.
As Aristotle said: ”Nothing is more affirming to the human spirit than being understood. Understanding… is the key to influence.”
To find out what employees think of their employee share plans, YBS commissioned research, working with the Universities of York and Leeds, to understand participants’ financial behaviours and how they feel about the share plans that are offered to them by their employer. This is aimed at ensuring they receive information that is relevant to employees’ needs in the format that works for each individual and enables them to make informed choices.
As neuroscientist Antonio Damasio said: “We are not thinking machines that feel – we are feeling machines that think”
With one in 10 respondents saying that they felt the information provided during the invitation period was difficult to understand, this shows the need for all stakeholders to invest time in planning the communication. Employers and providers need to listen, learn and take the time to source a cross section of meaningful case studies that employees can relate to and understand. In developing employee communications strategies, sharing the ‘dreams’ that share plans have helped to create for employees plays a pivotal role in the overall engagement.
As Damasio said: “We are swayed in decision making by our previous experience and the emotional markers ascribed to it. We not only remember the factual outcome but also the emotion attached to it.”
Ashley Price is head of YBS Share Plans, part of Yorkshire Building Society.