They’re deemed the providers of the Best Employee Share Schemes; we look at why

Posted by admin at 15:51 on 13 Feb 2017


Following the announcement of this year’s nominees for the Employee Benefits Awards, five well-known companies have been recognised as the best providers of employee share schemes in the UK.

These companies are Asda, BT Group, DS Smith, Royal Mail and Unilever; large, successful companies which are considered mainstays of the UK’s business landscape. What are they doing that has led to their peers and employees nominating them for the ‘Best employee share schemes’ category at 2015’s awards? We take a look at three household names whose employee share schemes are working for them and their employees:


Part of Walmart and the employer of over 2.2 million employees worldwide, Asda operates an initiative known as Sharesave amongst its employees. The scheme provides a flexible savings opportunity, contributing anywhere from £5 to £250 four weekly, with an option to buy shares in Walmart at a 20% discount. These shares can then be sold at a later date, turning savings into potential profit. The giant employer offers all its employees the chance to employees and customers alike the opportunity to ‘be better off with Asda’.

BT Group

BT provides several share scheme opportunities for their employees, including those working with participating subsidiaries. They include a share ownership scheme for employee share allocations (profit sharing), an employee share investment plan and a savings-related share option scheme.

The largest of BT’s employee share schemes is the ShareSave Scheme, operated as a Save-As-You-Earn contract; employees share options are exercisable after a three or five year savings contract.

BT’s Employee Share Investment Plan (ESIP) came into operation in 2001, which gives employees in the UK the chance to purchase shares on a monthly basis, out of their pre-tax salary up to a maximum of £125 per month. They also provide an Incentive Share Plan (ISP) and Retention Share Plan (RSP) whereby company shares are acquired by an employee share ownership trust and are conditionally awarded to participants. For further details of their schemes and to view records of the share allocations they have made to date, you can review their employee share scheme report.


Voted the world’s third most in-demand employer by LinkedIn in 2013, Unilever are the giants behind brands such as Dove, Hellmann’s, Bertolli and Vaseline, to name but a few. 

Unilever’s ‘ShareSave’ scheme has been in operation since 1985 and was implemented by the company in order to get their employees to focus on the wider business and the company’s performance. The share scheme allows employees to participate in a Save-As-You-Earn arrangement, which they determine the value of, over a five year period. After which, similar to Asda’s scheme, the employee has the option to buy Unilever shares at a pre-determined price and they receive a tax-free bonus for doing so! 

Of Unilever’s 16,500 UK employees approximately 67% take part, evidencing the demand from employees to be able to ‘buy into’ the company they work for; its culture and its future. Details of Unilever’s full UK benefits packages can be found online on their Careers pages.