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5 Ways to Engage Stock Plan Participants on Any Budget

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August 05, 2021 | Jennifer Namazi

5 Ways to Engage Stock Plan Participants on Any Budget


How do you get one person, let alone 75,000 people, to open an email or watch a video? During a time when it's hard to get anyone to view a communication, T-Mobile is succeeding in employee engagement.

Aftab Ibrahim, Senior Director of Stock Compensation & Executive Programs for T-Mobile, shares the tactics they are using to engage their 75,000 employees, all of whom are stock plan participants.

Each of these tips is practical and easily implemented at low (or no) cost. Yes, they can help transform stock plan communications for any company size or budget.
 

1. Understand Your Audience: T-Mobile’s Stock Plan Participant Demographics

In deciding on a communication approach, it’s important to understand “who” is in the stock plan and how best to interact with them.

T-Mobile offers true broad based stock plans. All employees are eligible for an annual RSU grant. In addition, the company has an employee stock purchase plan (ESPP), also broadly available for participation. 

The workforce population at T-Mobile skews young; the average worker age is 30. Employees work in retail, customer service and corporate roles. Knowing the average age of worker and that generation’s approach to information consumption is an important factor in deciding how to structure communications.
 

2. Put Only Key Details in Written Stock Plan Communications

Forget the kitchen sink approach to communications, says Aftab. He shares that T-Mobile initially operated this way, loading up emails about ESPP or RSUs with every detail that an employee may need to know.

Realizing that long wordy emails weren’t being read, a modified approach turned out to be the key.

T-Mobile began to embed links to “additional resources” into stock plan communications, rather than describing the information in the email itself.

This means that the text within an email is reserved only for must-know details. All other information is accessed as needed using the links.
 

3. Capture the Participant’s Attention Using Catchy Email Titles and Listicles

When faced with a large RSU vesting event, T-Mobile realized that half the battle in getting employees to open an email is to capture attention right off the bat.

With such a large RSU release on the horizon, how would they be able to get ahead of questions from thousands of employees? A brainstorm inspired a “Things to Know” concept in drafting emails.

Aftab reports that they started with “5 Things to Know…” emails and eventually whittled the concept down to “3 Things to Know,” continuing pursuit of only including the most important details. This was a game changer and email views increased dramatically.
 

4. Short Videos Can be Even Shorter

T-Mobile once created a 6-minute video to educate participants on the RSU release process.

The video was distributed to employees and metrics showed that nobody was watching it. Realizing that the video didn’t hit the mark, Aftab made a pivot. What if they had the video producer break up the video content into a series of 30 second videos?

Aftab explains that in doing so, “It’s the same video – it’s just broken into 30 second hits. But it changed the number of folks watching it dramatically.”

With the rise in popularity of video social sites like Tik Tok and Instagram Reel among younger populations, video is becoming shorter and more casual. Even if an organization isn’t ready to jump on Tik Tok, companies can use social media to inspire ideas for how to communicate. Even a cell phone camera can be a jump start to create short videos about the stock plan.
 

5. Make Your Stock Plan Resources Accessible From Anywhere

Aftab points out that workers don’t always make decisions at work.

T-Mobile used to have all stock plan resources behind a firewall, only accessible from the company’s network. Aftab says this was a mistake, hindering employees from accessing information when they had the time or energy to process it. The company decided to move all benefits content (including other HR benefits) to a hub outside the firewall, and it was a game changer.

Employees can now access stock plan/benefits information from any Internet connected device, no login needed.

In addition, the public can view T-Mobile’s benefit hub online as well. Aftab calls this a win, because T-Mobile is proud of their employee offerings and is happy to showcase it to the public and prospect workers.


Small Changes Can Lead to Big Impacts

What steps can a stock plan administrator take to level up their communications? The key is to just start.

Regardless of stock plan or ESPP participant population size, T-Mobile’s tactics be used by most organizations.

Create a short video or format the next email into a list of “things to know.” See how small shifts can make big impact on the participant experience.

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