IfsProShare Awards for employee ownership

Posted by RM2 at 15:51 on 3 Feb 2014


Last week the great and good gathered for the annual ifsProShare Awards, a celebration of the best in employee share ownership.

We were absolutely delighted that our client, Reassured Limited, was shortlisted for an award – in itself an impressive achievement for a small private company with fewer than 70 employees.

We’d really like to shout about their achievement in setting up their all employee EMI plan last year. With 100% takeup this is a real success story and is a great example of how well a share plan will work if the design is planned carefully, and there is a commitment to communicate the plan to participants.

About the Company

Reassured Limited is one of the UK’s largest insurance brokers. A large proportion of telesales staff can make retention challenging in a sector where and employee rewards can sometimes be limited. Reassured bucks the trend here, proudly listing a whole host of employee rewards.

An EMI for all

Chief amongst these is their EMI plan, flagged on their careers page:

The EMI share option is our reward to all employees for loyalty and hard work, no matter if you are the Office Junior or Senior Manager.

Reassured introduced their EMI Plan last year, making grants in the autumn, and are about to make a second round. Options are granted to all staff, from junior administrators through to senior managers.

Careful design

The plan was designed with very specific objectives in mind, taking into account the long-term corporate objectives of the business, the requirements of the founder shareholder and specific business performance conditions. These included:

  • Long term corporate objectives – option exercise is only triggered on specific corporate events
  • Loyalty - the number of options granted is linked to length of service
  • All employees are key – after 2 years’ service, everyone is invited to participate.
  • Reward to be based on long service and seniority - including length of service and the participant’s grade.
  • Business specific performance targets - including rewards for attendance records and whether participants are subject to disciplinary procedures.

The outcome is that everyone is motivated to drive the company in one direction, the key function being one of loyalty and seniority, with everyone subject to the same performance conditions measuring key behaviours in the industry.

Clever communication

The most important thing that Reassured has done to make the plan work is communication.

  • Before grant: all staff surveys and in house focus groups meant employees started owning the EMI well before implementation
  • At launch: full staff meeting and presentation, including worked examples, Q&A sessions – and a free lunch for all!
  • Since grant: personalised Option Certificates, Q&A on the Intranet, Newsfeed on the CRM, Ask the MD – the list goes on. And most importantly, the Wall of Fame with posters in the stairwells, updates in the kitchen - if you are an EMI optionholder in Reassured there is no danger of the plan being forgotten!

The Outcome

With a 100% take up of the scheme, EMI has been a runaway success. All the staff have to do now is keep working to achieve the common goal!

Many congratulations to the individuals at Reassured who took so much time to think about how the plan would work for the employees, and who continue to work so hard to make it a success. Even though you may not have scooped the prize on the night, you are more than worthy winners in our eyes!