Looking to create and sustain lasting value with your equity programs?

From insights to action - learn from industry pioneers through our ‘Excellence in Global Share Plans’ thought leadership series. Showcasing GEO Award Winners’ experiences, this program will focus on their plan strategies, challenges and successes.

Through a unique series of resources, we will share actionable insights, designed to help you ensure your equity programs create and sustain lasting value.

We give you a behind-the-scenes tour of the workings of some of the most effective equity compensation strategies.


GEO Award winners share their stories of challenges, processes and success through resources that keep you up-to-date with the latest in equity compensation innovation.

Browse the articles, webcasts and events below for insights that help your business.


27 January 2022
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Janet Cooper OBE, FGE, Moderator (UK), Karin Adams, TMX Group (CA), Andrew Forsythe, Unilever (UK), Anika Link, Allianz SE (DE), Julie Sheperd FGE, The Sage Group (UK)

Employee engagement

In this moderated webcast, we ask GEO Award winners Unilever, Allianz, TMX Group and Sage the secret of their successful communications.

Each has demonstrated an effective and innovative approach to their share plan communications with clear objectives and strategic intent, innovation, creativity, and quantifiable, measurable results - explore their use of audience insights, creative innovation and cultural and brand influences.

Discover which of their communication strategies, platforms, mediums and frequencies worked, which didn’t, and importantly, why.

You’ll come away with ideas on how to breathe new life into your communications and modernize your share plan experience.

14 June 2022
woman smiling

SPEAKERS: Janet Cooper OBE, FGE, Moderator (UK), Nick Lawry, Kindred Group (UK), Adrienne Pettit, Insulet (USA) 

Employee engagement

As companies continue to combat the Great Resignation, the search for effective retention initiatives to reduce churn is an ongoing challenge. Putting talent first is a must to save time and resources on recruitment, sustain team morale and support growth.

How can employee ownership improve employee retention rates? 

In this moderated webcast, GEO Award-winning companies that have built successful employee retention strategies supported by their equity plans. You'll discover:

  • Whether retention was a key objective when designing the winning equity compensation programs, or a welcome by-product
  • The affect of global events such as the Covid-19 pandemic and the ‘great resignation’ on plan participation and employee retention
  • Whether the share plan had any other employee-centric impacts
  • What other steps the companies take to retain employees
  • What’s next - is retention a focus for their future share plans?
20 September 2022
woman smiling

SPEAKERSJanet Cooper OBE, FGE, Moderator (UK), Margie Molesso, Walmart (US), Eileen Lacamera, Pfizer (US), Louis Pretorius, Anglo-American Kumbe Iron Ore (SA), Kathy Son, Uber (US)

GEO award excellence

Rather than solely focusing on the customer experience, companies are turning their attention to the people who make everything happen: their employees. In an employee-centric organization, individuals are supported, encouraged, and their ideas are requested and heard.

In the context of employee share plans, considering employees’ needs above revenue measuresabove commercial outputs can increase participation and align employee and shareholder interests.In this moderated webcast, you'll discover:

  • How employee needs were prioritized when communicating the plans
  • What lessons were learned
  • Whether the employee-centric share plans had any wider benefits for the company
7 November 2022
share plan data

The concept of intuition — simply knowing when something is right or wrong, is often romanticized but, while it can provide a hunch or spark that starts you down a particular path, it's through data that we verify, understand, and quantify.

Data-driven decision-making (or DDDM) bases decisions on the insights and analysis of verified data. Here, we look at how GEO Award winners have used data to shape the design, direction, and implementation of their share plans.

1. Improving participant engagement

Stock plan teams can use the information gleaned from data analytics to improve employee engagement strategies. A great example of this in action is easyJet, an award winner that used plan data to identify groups of disengaged employees and designed a bespoke and targeted communications campaign to successfully drive engagement in these groups. Similarly, Google created a mobility tool to identify and target participants with specific plan messaging.

Award-winning companies that helped participants make key decisions using data include Alcon, which created 2,300 personalized statements with before and after spin values to provide transparency to participants and Unilever, which designed personalized videos for its vesting employees that featured their personal share plan data.

2. Measuring plan success

Data analysis can be an ally when it comes to tracking the success of an employee share plan.

Implementing a very clear scoring system to track their executive plan’s performance criteria enabled IHS Markit to measure and prove its effectiveness. Comparably, Google used numerous data points to measure the success of its plan including training scores, ticket metrics, broker and vendor data, and employee feedback.

3. Informing plan design

Stock plan designs can be enriched by data captured through user experience research methods such as surveys, feedback forums or analysis of previous design iterations.

When designing a new all-employee plan that delivered the full value of shares rather than just the growth in share price via EBITDA-linked performance criteria, Kindred Group used feedback and learnings from survey data and its previous plans, that improved the plan’s engagement rate by 26% year-on-year.

Uber also effectively used evaluation metrics and survey data to refine its education materials and delivery methods to meet the financial education needs of its highly diverse, global employees.

4. Develop a multi-channel communications system

Creating a one-stop, single data source makes sure that business decisions are being made based on common data.

GEO award-winner Walmart collated its historical data in its new reward system to provide a full and holistic view of its equity program history of 410m shares over 40 years., Anglo American Kumba Iron Ore’s cloud-based portal was designed around a single data source and offers an end-to-end solution for its administration, accounting, and reporting teams.

5. Improving executive reporting

Driven by the need for leadership teams to validate the financial investment in its equity plans, stock plan teams track a wide array of information including vesting schedules, plan parameters, grant prices, participant details, and award expiration dates—but it takes time, resource, and expertise to produce high-level reports that determine whether the programs are working as intended.

To this end, Amazon created an end-to-end technology stack to communicate its data findings and recommendations to the executive team via automated monthly business reports, saving hundreds of hours and freeing up stock team’s resources in the process.

Using data to improve your company’s equity plans doesn’t have to be a painful task. Our award winners have shown that data is indeed king if you use it to capture, interpret, extract and present important information. It can bring strategic perspective and wide-ranging tangible, measurable benefits to your plan, participants, internal teams and leadership.

24 January 2023
webcast on-demand

SPEAKERS: Sheila Frierson, Computershare, Sandra Sussman, FGE, SAP,  Andrew Thain, hkp///group, Sebsatian Wetzel, Siemens Energy

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Now in its 11th consecutive year, the Global Equity Insights Survey is the leading global assessment of current market practice and trends regarding equity-based compensation across the world. With new focus topics each year, insights into new market developments help practitioners design and implement equity programs in the largest companies from diverse industries. Join us for a discussion of the latest trends with survey sponsors and panel experts.

10 April 2023
people discussing
GEO award excellence

The ‘millennial mindset’ is now a phrase familiar to HR professionals. It means a way of thinking that builds social consciousness into all aspects of life.

As younger generations of employees pay attention to where businesses spend their money and how they contribute to society, establishing a corporate culture of social awareness and offering philanthropic benefits can attract and retain top talent, instil a sense of purpose and improve employee engagement.

In 2020, Generali designed a unique all-employee share plan that empowers its people to drive social change.

Simple to understand and pioneering in structure, We SHARE - The Generali Ownership Plan encourages their 70,000 global employees to help care for those most vulnerable in society.

Let’s take a look at Generali’s socially aware approach to share ownership.

“If your company is looking to recruit and retain the best talent it may be time to look past traditional perks such as gym memberships and swanky offices and use your share plan to offer a rewarding, engaging and meaningful employee experience.”

1. Put people at the heart of your corporate strategy

At Generali, entrepreneurship and growth are encouraged, and their teams are empowered to make a difference to people’s lives through the work that they do.

These employee-centric and altruistic principles became a key focus when Generali launched its strategic plan in 2020.

The company strived to ensure alignment of employee performance with their new strategic goals by prioritizing their employees’ needs.


2. Create a common purpose

Generali wanted its We SHARE plan to be capable of reaching out and bringing together people with a common purpose from across the globe for the common good.

To provide a structure and focus for their corporate giving, Generali established ‘The Human Safety Net Foundation’, a charity that aims to help shape a safer future and make a concrete and lasting impact on lives.


3. Incentivize plan participation

A donation of the equivalent monetary value of one share for each employee who actively participated in the company’s share purchase plan was paid by Generali to its ‘The Human Safety Net’ charitable foundation. Employees were also encouraged to make additional voluntary donations to feel personally invested.

Other engagement incentives included free shares, potential share price gains, and membership of ‘The Owners’ Club’, an app offering on-demand financial education and support.


4. Develop a multi-channel communications system

Generali’s well-orchestrated communications campaign was lauded by our judges as one of the most integrated and comprehensive programs they had encountered. The plan had visible top-down support, strong program branding, and its comprehensive communications materials were visible, clear, country-specific, and accessible.


5. Prioritize more comprehensive financial education

Generali provided participants with digital tools to make informed financial decisions via their Owners Club app. This award-winning financial education program provides direct, virtual, on-demand, and borderless access for plan participants all year round.

Financial concepts are made easily understood and its content leverages expert opinion from qualified internal and external sources with themes that dovetail into the benefits of equity and link to the corporate charity.


The result? A successful share plan that fuels positive change

Not only is the We SHARE plan an innovative share ownership program that fits snugly with the company’s ethos, but it also enjoyed a plan participation rate of 35.7% during its three-week enrolment window and won the following GEO Awards:

  • 2020 Best Plan Communication
  • 2021 Best Use of a Share Plan in Support of Corporate Social Responsibility
  • 2021 Best in Financial Education

Today, the Human Safety Net charity is funded by donations from the We SHARE plan, General’s employees, its Vitality membership base, members of the public, and social investors. It works to transform the lives of over 150,000 vulnerable parents, children, and refugees across 23 countries, most recently raising funds to support impacted families with children from Ukraine. Visit the Safety Net website to find out more.

19 April 2023
Dominic member image
GEO award excellence

Great company culture sets the foundations for real, tangible business growth. It makes an organization unique and can impact important business drivers from productivity and morale to reputation, employee engagement and retention.

But can you design a workplace culture or is it something that develops organically over time? Leaders grapple with this question as they try to define their company’s personality and express its core values, ethics, behaviors, and beliefs.

Read on to discover different ways in which GEO Award-winning companies have used equity compensation as a tool to shape, or reinforce, the important intangibles of a strong organizational culture that elevates companies.

“Every company has a culture, either by default or by design, but our award winners have demonstrated how equity compensation can be used to nurture the ‘right’ corporate culture – to support business objectives, drive employee retention, attract new talent and play a role in marketing the company to customers and to society at large.”

1. A culture of trust

Trust is an essential component of any successful organization - and how better to build trust than to give employees permission to make and act upon strategic decisions?

To foster engagement and action, Danone gifts the power to co-own the company’s agenda through the grant of one free share to each of its employees. Rather than focusing on reward, its ‘One person, one share’ program gives each employee a vote at each annual shareholders’ meeting, encouraging a sense of equal ownership regardless of location or seniority.

Conversely, when Aviva used employee feedback to shape its share plan design, structure and communications, the message to its employees was clear – we respect your input, and you can trust us to design a plan that meets your needs.

2. A purposeful culture

Purpose is characterized by idealism and altruism and can unite people and teams by focusing on shared ideals or contributing to a greater cause.

Generali aligned their employees’ personal purpose with work by establishing a charitable vehicle to help the world’s disadvantaged. Funded by participation in its share plan with corporate donations linked to participation, as well as voluntary donations from employees, the plan placed purpose at the center of the enterprise.

Similarly, Shell, an organization with a razor sharp focus on achieving carbon net zero throughout its entire supply chain, unleashed higher performance and engagement when it included environmental performance criteria in its executive share plans.

3. A culture that supports diversity, equity and inclusion

With a global spotlight on improving and embedding diversity, equity and inclusion into everyday work life, the idea of ‘equitable equity’ versus reserving share ownership for rewarding high-skilled or senior employees is trending.

Saudi Aramco’s ambition to use equity to make their employees feel valued, regardless of background or position, was their equity plan’s key driver and the first of its kind in Saudi Arabia.

Equity compensation can also be used to build an equality-driven culture from the top down. One example is IHS Markit’s plan which introduced performance indicators including leadership support and mentoring, team engagement, inclusion and diversity and volunteering to retain key staff during a merger.

4. A cohesive culture

It is common to experience multiple embedded cultures within an organization, especially during times of change.

When two of Indonesia’s largest non-listed entities merged, GoTo Group looked to its share incentive plans to unify the employees from both organizations and to gain cultural alignment pre-IPO. Its all-employee share option award was named ‘Pancasila’ after the official, foundational philosophical theory of Indonesia rooted in inclusivity and unity.

It can also be difficult to uphold a cohesive culture that includes remote employees. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, Atlassian launched ‘Team Anywhere’, an initiative which enabled its employees to work permanently from (almost) anywhere and port their share plan to their new home country. Reinforcing its relaxed culture, participants received plan communications via informal blog posts and emails on their internal wiki space, ‘hello’.

5. A rewarding culture

Commission-based industries, such as real estate or insurance, are challenged with avoiding toxic sales cultures. eXp World Holdings broke the mould by offering equity rather than cash-based incentives to its real estate employees. Participants can exchange commission for shares at a discounted price and earn more equity for notable achievements such as closing their first transaction each year, meeting certain metrics, committing to corporate culture requirements, and attending events.

Their ground-breaking approach positioned the company as the fastest growing real estate company in the world by headcount.

1 January 2021

Author: Shearman & Sterling

Throughout this survey, Shearman & Sterling provide insights on specific topics of interest in the current environment, including practical advice for boards and management. Across all topics the goal is to provide an overview of the current corporate governance landscape and to identify best practices.

1 August 2021

Author: PwC

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