A fresh take on share plan promotion
Bringing share schemes to life – a lesson in internal communications

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Asda’s employee share ownership scheme Sharesave plays a critical role in the reward and recognition strategy for all our colleagues. But with the scheme reaching 30 years old in 2012, our Reward team faced the challenge of how to increase its take-up further, knowing that there was little they could do to alter the scheme itself due to HMRC regulations. The answer was in revitalising our internal communication plan and enrolment process (which in 2012 became 100% paperless) based on colleague feedback and using a variety of channels to reach our large and varied employee base.

Take-up of our Sharesave Plan increased by 2.25% to 18.63% – our best ever. The total number of colleagues currently in the 2012 Sharesave plan is 28,952, made up of 24,252 hourly paid and 4,700 salaried colleagues.
Thanks to our phased introduction of online and SMS over the last few years, our first paperless enrolment process was a huge success:
– The majority of colleagues used SMS to enrol (40%), up from 35% in 2011.
– 30% enrolled by phone using a new interactive Voice Response system.
– 28% signed up online.
– The paperless environment avoided the need to print 150,000 paper forms.

– In a genuine first for the share plan industry, our Facebook page was used to encourage colleagues to discuss their share plan
– We devised a new online savings calculator that enables colleagues to experiment with different contribution levels and potential savings.
– A new dedicated Sharesave web page on our colleague internet site, the Green Room, acts as a one-stop multi-media shop for information on the scheme. 44,835 hits were received in 2012.
– QR codes on all printed literature linking to the website.
– ‘Sharesave Champions’ enabling colleagues to find out more information on the plan directly from their peers.[/one_half_last]

Research showed that colleagues make decisions on share plans based upon peer endorsement. Our communication materials therefore featured real-life colleague examples and images.
However – we learnt that this was only effective if the material was relevant to the recipient’s area of the business. For example, distribution colleagues receiving a booklet filled with pictures of store colleagues were left feeling the material wasn’t relevant to them and hence weren’t signing up. We overcame this by running separate photo shoots with Home Office, Distribution, and Store colleagues when creating the 2012 materials.
A vital insight for future campaigns.

At the end of each enrolment cycle, we gain face-to-face feedback from our colleagues’ in-store to find out what impact the plan has had on their daily lives. With colleagues using their funds for everything from paying for a relative’s medical care, to wedding costs, to trips to see estranged family, this was all the proof we needed that encouraging more colleagues to take up the scheme was worthwhile. In 2012, 17,698 colleagues shared a record £50.9 million windfall, with those saving £50 a month receiving £2,808.[/one_half_last] Speaker
Jane Earnshaw
Head of Reward & Recognition

Jane is the Head of Reward and Recognition for Asda Stores Ltd, Britain’s Lowest Price Supermarket for 15 years running.Jane has been with Asda for 17 years. She began her career at Asda in the Company Secretariat and is a qualified Company Secretary. Jane was part of the Asda Shares Team in the late 90’s which introduced the successful all colleague share plan. In 2001 Jane moved into the Reward arena and has gained experience in all areas of Reward including Compensation, Benefits and Recognition. Jane has led the Reward and Recognition team for the last 2 years and has recently lead a strategic review of the total reward strategy. Asda won the Employee Benefits award for the most effective all employee share scheme strategy 2012.