Using Shareworks to Engage Your Participants

July 31, 2019 Sara Pinkus


Synergy 2020 Icon This topic was initially delivered as a session at Synergy 2019 in Scottsdale, AZ. Learn more about Synergy and what to expect for Synergy 2020 in Austin, TX.

At Shareworks by Morgan Stanley, we know that your employees are the reason you do what you do: your corporate equity program is just one of the many tools you use to recruit and retain talent to your organization. However, unlike a cash bonus or a paycheck, equity awards often operate in a way that’s new and unfamiliar to many of your employees. Keeping them informed and engaged with your equity program is vital to their understanding of its value.  If you don’t do it well, it can mean the difference between keeping a valuable employee or watching them walk away for a compensation package that seems more competitive.

With that priority in mind, we’ve designed a comprehensive toolset surrounding the Shareworks platform to help you better communicate with your plan participants.  Read on to discover more about how we help, and the benefits we offer (or get in touch with us to learn more today).

Customization is Key

You’d be suspicious of a letter from your bank that wasn’t in the correct branding, so why would you expect your participants to pay attention to a notification regarding their corporate benefits if it isn’t in the same brand style?  Shareworks is truly YOUR equity administration platform, and that flows through to the site and branding that your employees see.

The benefits of customization are threefold:

  • It fosters alignment between your corporate goals, terminology, and what employees see in Shareworks.
  • Participants feel like it’s truly your company’s program, not just some third-party site.
  • It creates a sense of affinity between your employee and your company – everything is familiar!

First and foremost, you want the actual software interface to be familiar – Shareworks supports this by allowing you to brand your login page and the color and logos your employees see throughout the site.

If your organization leverages a single-sign on (SSO) service, you can also add Shareworks as an option here – no need for your employees to remember another username and password!

Moving past the visuals of the site, you can also change the language employees see to refer to their awards.  Do you call all of your employees ‘ninjas’?  So could Shareworks!  It’s truly an extension of your company culture.

It’s all Online

Depending on the profile of your workforce, some may remember the days of paper – paper memos, paper grant agreements, paper exercise requests. Shareworks was built from the ground up to eliminate the need for paper, saving time, the need for manual tracking, and (of course) trees:

  • Online award agreements: Shareworks gives your employees a centralized portal where they can receive, review, and accept all of their new award agreements (including a repository where historical agreements can be stored and accessed). It’s on-demand, and (as we mentioned above) branded and built from the language they know.
  • Online grant acceptance: Once an employee receives and reviews a new award, accepting it in Shareworks is as easy as pressing Accept! Once they do that, the award is displayed as part of their total portfolio value, and they can see instant updates to value, future vesting dates, and other vital details about the new award.
  • Online transaction activity: Release elections?   Exercise?  Check.  Employee stock purchase plan enrollment and contributions?  Check. Shareworks lives up to its reputation as an end-to-end solution by supporting efficient online transactions, and we’ve devoted significant time and attention to helping your employees easily and securely transact (including recent improvements on how their future and available values display to make the entire process easier to understand).
  • Automated communications: Shareworks has a native communications tool built into the system, sending automatic notifications to employees about upcoming award-related events, like a vesting or a new grant. Using a templated field-merge system, the employee gets a custom notice about their award and any associated amounts (giving you back a hefty chunk of time in your day and preventing unwieldy email mail merges).
  • Statements and tax resources: All of your employees can generate and access their Shareworks account statements on-demand in the platform, allowing them extensive analytical power on the compensation they’re set to receive from your equity program. Additionally, the Documents tab in Shareworks is a place where you can house all of your vital corporate documents, like policies, tax and transaction guides, and other supplemental resources (like training videos).

With everything else in an employee’s life happening online, the items above aren’t anything ground-breaking.  However, it makes the crucial difference in convenience and accessibility for a busy participant population (and helps alleviates some of the administrative duties you may currently be doing).

Shareworks?  There’s an App for That

The Shareworks app has seen tremendous adoption rates by the majority of our existing customers.  Even without a formal promotional campaign, our clients often report that their employees are organically seeking out and downloading the app.  While this likely falls into the category of mobile audiences expecting that their tools are available in an app format, we like to think it’s because of our intuitive design and exciting in-app transactional capabilities.

The app is available in both the App Store (for iOS devices) and the Google Play Store (for Android devices) and mirrors an employee’s Shareworks account, letting them view their portfolio and award information, access notifications, and transact on their available equity.

Because the app is so convenient, it’s often the preference of employee users over the desktop version (especially because the information and available actions are mostly the same). Also, anecdotally, when’s the last time you went more than an hour without checking your phone? The ubiquity of smart devices almost guarantees that your employees have the ability to access the app – and you can use our other engagement tactics to provide them with a reason!

In March of 2019, on average, we saw users access the mobile app twice as much as the desktop site! That means 2x the amount of information, 2x the amount of engagement, and 2x the amount of general awareness of the value of their equity.  It might not seem like a lot, but it can potentially represent the difference between an employee who leverages their equity as part of their overall financial wellness program, or someone who leaves a role in search of a more comprehensible compensation structure.

Shareworks has the tools to help you as you support (and inform) your employees. All said, the time and efficiency benefits that you’ll see as an administrator take a bit of a backseat to the ways Shareworks is familiar to your employees – they recognize it as an extension of the company, not as an additional, third-party system intruding on their day-to-day.

If you already use the Shareworks participant portal, talk to your Relationship Manager about how to expand its impact for your employee population.  If you want to learn more about the participant portal (or Shareworks in general), request a demo and start exploring our product solutions today.

About the Author

Sara Pinkus

Sara is a content marketing manager at Shareworks by Morgan Stanley, with over five years of experience in the equity compensation space. She helped redesign the Shareworks Certification program in 2016, and is excited to help share the organization's knowledge expertise with the industry.

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