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The GEO Awards Categories

Awards 2014
The GEO Awards Celebration

Any kind of plan that gives employees the opportunity of owning stock or receiving the cash value of the stock or increase in value of the stock can be submitted for an award. Award preference will be made for plans that extend beyond executive compensation, however all plans will be considered on their relative merits. Applicants do not necessarily have to have plans that are ultimately settled in stock distributions; companies with equity-like plans that model the benefit allocated to employees on a linkage to the performance of corporate stock may also apply for the awards (i.e., Stock Appreciation Rights, Phantom Stock).

The GEO awards categories represent the general distinctions in how plans can be promoted, designed, and operated to the highest caliber. These categories fall under Best Plan Communication, Best Use of Technology, Most Innovative and Creative Design, Best Plan Effectiveness, Best Use of Employee Share Plans in a Corporate Action, Best in Financial Education, Most Creative Solution, Best Use of Video Communication, (new) Best Use of a Share Plan in an Emerging Market and The Judges' Award.

Detailed Descriptions of the 2017 Categories:

Best Plan Communication
An effective communication program is key to the success of any share plan program. Operating plans internationally present unique geographic, linguistic, and cultural challenges that complicate even the best communication programs. This award category looks for the most effective and appropriate communication methods and materials used in plan communications regardless of where a plan is offered. Judges will consider a company's size and number of participants to whom the company must communicate with regarding their share plans. Awards are not based on the amount of money spent on a communications program—rather they are based on content, coherency, and style of the message delivered.

Best Use of Technology
The best designed and communicated global share plans can be prohibitively expensive and time consuming if not properly managed and operated. The use of paper/print confirmation, enrollment, account management forms and communication materials inherently slows the implementation and management of these plans. Corporate plan departments have thus found websites, intranets, and other electronic tools invaluable and cost effective in managing, communicating, and administering global share plans. The Best Use of Technology award is granted to companies that develop and/or successfully utilize innovative, appropriate, and comprehensive technological solutions to share plan administration, communication, and internal project management.

Most Innovative and Creative Plan Design
Share plans can be created to meet a multitude of corporate objectives which must be balanced with the legal, regulatory, and tax issues, both in the headquarters country as well as in other jurisdictions. An equally important challenge is to create a global plan that maintains the core corporate philosophy while adapting to local cultural concerns. This award category allows applicants to demonstrate how creative they are in working around potential stumbling blocks in developing and implementing global share plans. Measurements in this category include how well the plan was creatively adapted to local tax and regulatory laws, innovative ways to increase employee participation and excitement and how the plan differs from competitors or industry norms.

Best Plan Effectiveness
Share plans help companies achieve their corporate mission and goals. This award category is designed to highlight companies that have spent time and resources developing share plans that work well towards meeting key corporate objectives. The criteria for this category are based on the assessment of plan participation and other ways of involving employees in the successful operation of the company. An essential component of assessing effectiveness is a clear statement of the goals of the plan in addition to a demonstrated measurement technique to gauge progress in achieving those goals.

Best Use of Employee Share Plans in a Corporate Action
Share plan programs are increasingly viewed as a strategic tool in preparing for and executing mergers, acquisitions, reorganization or divestitures. This award recognizes excellence in the use of share plans in support of specific objectives furthering a corporate action. Measurements include fair or enhanced treatment for impacted participants, effective communication of implications to share plan participants, and demonstrated commitment to share plans after the conclusion of the corporate action. Qualified corporate actions include mergers, acquisitions, restructuring, divestitures and similar actions.

Best in Financial Education
There is an increasing awareness among companies that their responsibility to plan participants extends beyond the implementation of a share plan. Providing adequate financial education to participants is seen as one of the key features of successful global share plans. The award for Best in Financial Education is granted to companies who have implemented a financial education program that best meets the challenge of providing independent and objective information to employees without infringing on compliance or other regulatory constraints.

Most Creative Solution
Companies regularly face challenges—whether a result of complex plan design or extension of a plan internationally— in their share plans. This award allows applicants to demonstrate how creative they are in the design and administration of their share plans while still maintaining a high level of service to plan participants. The Most Creative Solution award is granted to companies who have implemented proven, effective, and innovative solutions that solve a company's needs and reduce workload and scale processes. Awards in this category are granted to companies who offer premier solutions to unique challenges and set new industry standards.

Best Use of Video Communication
In today's global workforce, plan participants are almost never in the same location—much less the same country. As such, audiovisual communications have emerged as one of the most effective ways to educate plan participants who are located throughout the world. The immediacy and impact of in person interactions can never be replaced, but with vast improvements in quality, availability and ease of use, and with the ability to interact and share content in high definition, today's video technology is as close to "being there" as one can get without actually making a trip. This award category is designed to highlight companies that have spent time and energy developing video technology as a way to educate participants about their share plans, and meet the needs of an "on demand" global workforce. The GEO Award for Best Use of Video Communication is granted to companies that use video technology specifically to increase communication effectiveness and reduce travel expenses related to participant training while also communicating an educational message.

Best Use of a Share Plan in an Emerging Market
The challenges of spreading share plan wealth globally can be particularly complex in emerging markets. Developing legislation, introducing share plans to an unfamiliar population and/or dealing with complex governance structures are a few among a myriad of challenges in a developing economy. This award category is designed to highlight companies that have developed and successfully deployed a global share plan program, including or focused on an emerging market. Successful candidates in this category will demonstrate the ability to address particular economic, social, political or even religious challenges faced in deploying in a developing economy. The winning company will address and even incorporate these aspects in their plan to be successful for their company and their employees. We recognize that measuring success may be different than what we have defined historically.

Best Use of a Share Plan in a Private Company
Share plans help companies achieve their corporate mission and goals. This award category highlights private companies that have spent time and energy developing share plans that support the achievement of key corporate objectives while remaining a privately-held company. The criteria for this category is based on the assessment of effective private company plan design, overall participation and other unique ways of involving employees in the successful operation of the company. An essential component of assessing share plan excellence in the private company environment is a clear statement of the goals of the plan in addition to a demonstrated measurement technique to gauge progress in achieving those goals.


The Judges' Award (Optional)
In addition to the award categories, the GEO Award Judges may award a company, organization, or individual that has made an exceptional contribution towards promoting global employee share ownership. Judges may select the company or organization from the annual applicant pool, however the Judges have the discretion to select any company, organization, or individual they believe warrants this award. Nominations will not be solicited for the Judges' Award. This award is intended to be granted to a company, organization, or individual that needs no application – a winner that is recognized as a leader in the field. If the award is given to a company or organization, the Judges will evaluate the overall impact of the equity plan, or promotion of equity plans, has had on its employees, shareholders, community, and the business environment. Individual awards will be based on the contribution of that person to the equity compensation profession over their lifetime.


The successful companies will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Communicating the risks and rewards of the share plan in the overall context of financial planning

  • Communicating clearly

  • Company endorsement of the responsibility to take appropriate financial advice

  • The innovative use of methods of communication to ensure maximum take-up

  • Broad coverage of all aspects of financial education

  • Assisting employees in the awareness of diversifying risk

  • Providing employees access to independent and accredited specialists

  • Use of innovative channels to provide financial education to employees (i.e., video, web, etc.)

  • Easy access to information after seminars, meetings, etc. – (e.g., use of intranet, call centers)

  • Employee feedback and evaluation of results

 

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