By Mark Shimomura. Communicating an equity-based compensation program requires effective collaboration of multidisciplinary internal stakeholders (e.g., finance, human resources, legal) and external service providers (e.g., brokers, transfer agent, software vendors). Thinking of each of these parties as members of your stock plan communication team will help to break up the responsibilities and coordinate efforts to work towards a common goal – increasing participant satisfaction with the equity plan.
In this post, we will discuss possible stakeholders to include on your team, outline some of the roles and responsibilities you should consider for each member, and illustrate how they can work cohesively to help the employees truly appreciate and understand the value of their equity incentives.
Stock Plan Administrator keeps ownership of the communication plan and designs and establishes best practices for the equity compensation management process. Also, can be responsible for general presentations about the stock plan and communication regarding employee transactions.
Human Resources is generally responsible for employee retention and engagement. HR provides initial details about the plan and follows up on employee performance and awards. HR can also be responsible for retention rates and discussing the compensation strategy with the senior executive team.
Legal can aid in providing a summary of the plan and can help to educate employees on the insider trading policy. In addition, the legal department can review appropriate communications to ensure the company’s legal requirements are met and legal risks are properly addressed.
Managers have a responsibility to recognize and reinforce strong performance in their employees. They may communicate the grant of an award to an employee or potentially answer general questions regarding the plan. Managers should have clear guidance regarding what information they are authorized to disseminate to prevent potential misunderstanding.
Marketing can help ensure clear and effective messaging to participants and engage different formats and channels of communication.
Engaging business stakeholders across the company can elevate your plan to the next level. Leveraging your broker to help with participant education and communication can save the equity comp team significant time and resources. Your stock plan management vendor can also provide you with a participant portal. An online portal enables you to maintain an open and consistent line of communication with your participants and will allow you to schedule trigger notifications for important equity events.
Having a well-balanced, cohesive team is crucial for effective participant communication. It’s a good idea to schedule meetings with all stakeholders to design and regularly review the communication plan to spot opportunities for synergy and overall improvement.
If you are looking for ways to improve your company’s stock plan communication strategy, be sure to download our Five Steps to Elevate Your Stock Plan Communications webinar. And for more information on Certent’s Participant Portal, download this data sheet.