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.