It’s not often that the worlds of professional sports and equity compensation intersect. True, I have a Google alert set up for “stock options” that sometimes returns articles about how the stock of football players impacts their career options (as in “Joe Schmo played really well in the last game; his stock is really rising”), but that’s not what I’m referring to. I’m talking about domestic mobility. While we are struggling with how compensation is taxed when employees travel from one state to another, this is an issue that professional sports has been dealing with for a long time now.
When it comes down to it, we grant equity compensation for the benefit of the recipients. We aren’t granting awards for the joy of accounting for them, nor for the fun of taxing them. We want employees to be happy with their awards, and we want the awards to drive motivation, loyalty, and retention. Because inquiring minds want to know, Fidelity Stock Plan Services undertakes an extensive biannual survey to understand the participant side of the story, which can help plan sponsors to be more effective with their offerings. Here are a few of the results.
Earlier this year, I was lucky enough to attend the 17th-annual Global Equity Organization conference in Boston. I feel right at home at conferences like this: They are teeming with people who love equity compensation as much as I do. I always look forward to hearing what people are talking about, whether it is in the keynote speeches, the more detailed breakout sessions, or just networking over a lobster roll in the Boston-themed exhibit hall. These conversations give me a glimpse of what the future holds, and when I hear the same topic addressed in a keynote, in a breakout, and in the exhibit-hall chatter, I know it must be a hot topic. So, what’s everyone talking about? Millennials!
Email, snail mail, and webinars are all great ways to communicate about your equity plan, but the use of video has created new and interesting ways to capture participants’ attention. The use of videos, including testimonials and “explainer” types, can help you get your message across to your employees in a quick, attention grabbing format. Read on for 4 key elements to creating an impactful video.
In marketing, understanding your buyer is key – and the same can be said for stock plan management. Understanding your participants (your “buyers”) will help you to engage them and communicate in a more effective way. Developing buyer personas for your participant pool can help you segment your audience and target your messaging accordingly. As we say in marketing-the more targeted the message, the better it works.
Are you new to the world of equity compensation or are you an experienced practitioner ready to achieve your Certified Equity Professional designation? While the 5 hour test can seem daunting and sifting through the endless questions about taxation, accounting and regulations can feel intimidating, read this blog for a few tricks that will put you on the track to acing the exam.
It’s no secret that most of today’s top technology companies follow an Agile development methodology. By definition, an agile approach means shorter sprints of software development and allows companies the ability to more quickly adjust and appropriate resources to stay ahead of the competition. It’s faster, more flexible, and better aligned to the needs of the client base. Read on to find our why this should be important to you.
Leap year can make things complicated. For example, if you use a daily accrual rate for some purpose related to stock compensation, such as calculating a pro-rata payout, a tax allocation for a mobile employee, or expense accruals, you have to remember to add a day to your calculation once every four years. Personally, I think it would be easier if we handled leap year the same way we handle the transition from Daylight Saving Time to Standard Time: everyone just set their calendar back 24 hours. Rather than doing this on the last day of February, I think it would be best to do it on the last Sunday in February, so that the “fall back” always occurs on a weekend.
In mid-November, Glass Lewis released its final proxy voting policies and methodologies for the upcoming year. While most compensation policies remained largely intact from prior years (see our complete summary of compensation and governance policy changes here), this year’s release includes much-needed guidance on Glass Lewis’ approach and requirements for reviewing the use of off-cycle equity grants.
If you’re as much into stock plan education as we are, you’re probably also really into survey data. That makes today a good day for both of us at this blog. We have been perusing the 2015 Global Equity Incentives Survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the NASPP. The survey presents questionnaire data from 245 multinational companies with employees in 75 countries. The researchers found that the use of equity awards by the surveyed companies generally continued to grow in 2014 and 2015, after falling in 2009–2011 and rebounding in 2012. With this growth in the use of equity has come an expansion in stock plan education and communications.