Driving Corporate Culture with Employee Share Programs

When considering Human Resources, every organization aims to find and retain excellent skilled workers. Employee share programs can be key drivers toward this goal, as they enable the communication and promotion of core company values for corporate success.


Goals of Employee Share Programs

Generally, companies introduce employee share programs with the following goals in mind:

  • Enabling employees to share in the company’s success (providing a financial benefit, and building long-term financial assets)
  • Promotion of shared goals (identification with the company and strategy, a shared goal of increasing share price)
  • Being seen as a more attractive employer in the war for talent (by extending the benefits package)
  • Retention of employees (particularly in management positions)
  • Generation of equity (in purchase programs)

Beyond these goals, companies and employees benefit from additional advantages, provided the program is well-integrated in the company culture, and adapted to the habits and needs of the employees:

  • Building a lived company culture (a uniform understanding of how the company works, and the values and goals of the organization)
  • Increasing company unity in times of change (change management)

Employee share programs create a bond – increasing employee’s identification with the company and promoting mutual acceptance of responsibility – including all rights and obligations.

The role of internal corporate communication

To develop and communicate a perfectly tailored employee share program, it is critical that the organization is clear about its goals and is able to measure them. The program design, for example, Free Shares, Discount, or Share Matching, is just as important as the provision of a user-friendly participation environment.

The role of internal corporate communication is to clearly present the program, including all benefits and risks. As this is often new and unfamiliar territory, with numerous legal issues to consider, it may be beneficial to work with external specialists. The global scope of an “employee share project” is another aspect to be considered, as often the communications infrastructure is localized, and not (yet) built on an international level. However, it is vital that the communication reaches every eligible employee to comply with legal requirements and achieve high participation. During the project phase, companies create new networks and open entirely new spaces for collaboration and communication.

These new spaces must be optimally utilized. The internal communication team can use them to connect to local communicators, and work with them to fulfill their mission of providing information as set out in the project plan. At the same time, the team can meet its core objective of communicating the corporate identity with the company values, culture, and corporate design to the entire organization.

The result is not only the successful execution of the employee share program project, but much more. A value is established. Ownership – the belief that everyone can share in the company’s success and benefit from it. And the interconnected expectation that employees take responsibility, in thoughts and actions, to create this success. With that, we come to the principle of mutuality, which we will cover in a later blog post.

Please refer to our website for more information on our customer projects in this field.

Recently, Simone Schmitt-Schillig, Founder of Unequity, and management consultant Frank Hoyck have published an article covering that topic in the ESP-special of GoingPublic magazine. You can find it here (available in German).