Virtual shares, real benefits: GetYourGuide turns to Shareworks by Morgan Stanley to simplify share plan administration
Ever arrived in a city or country with no idea of where to go or what to see first to heighten your experience? GetYourGuide was established to close that gap. Since 2009, the company has been on a journey to give the whole world access to incredible experiences by enabling travelers to book tours and activities in destinations around the world through its platform.
Since its humble beginnings, the company has grown to 650 employees across 16 countries. Throughout, GetYourGuide has rewarded staff for helping drive that growth by issuing virtual shares to new hires. Like many companies, they relied on a manual process to track their grants. But as GetYourGuide grew, their plan administration became increasingly complex.
Burdensome and error prone
“Without a digital platform, managing our share plan program data used to be very complicated, and involving lots of manual data entry into spreadsheets and printing documents for original signatures,” explains Julian Fichter, Head of HR at GetYourGuide. “Every time a number would change, we had to reprint the documents and get new signatures. It was incredibly onerous.”
And the challenges didn’t stop there. To keep track of the number of shares and grants issued to each employee, the company was using a large spreadsheet prone to manual data entry errors. To complicate matters, different HR colleagues used different formats and naming conventions whenever they accessed the spreadsheet, creating a version control nightmare.
“We were using the spreadsheet for crucial processes, like calculating who should get additional shares and determining when shares were supposed to vest,” Julian says. “So that sheet needed to be accurate, and often times, that was hard.”
Keeping employees informed about the benefits of the plan was also a struggle. GetYourGuide staff would usually only receive the initial paperwork for their shares, and then be left to themselves to calculate their vesting and package value, with little information available to support them. With limited visibility into the value of their awards, employee engagement with the plan was also lagging. Clearly it was time for a change.
Improved accuracy and efficiency
After considering several share plan administration platforms, GetYourGuide chose Shareworks by Morgan Stanley – and began to realise efficiencies almost immediately. Today, the company can get digital signatures for all of their grant letters, centralise regular uploads of their new grants and easily generate reports that accurately track vesting schedules, values and grant numbers. As a result, the HR team is spending an estimated 30 percent less time on plan administration.
Without a digital platform, managing our share plan program data used to be very complicated...
Even better, the company has boosted equity plan engagement thanks to a vastly improved employee experience. In addition to simplifying the sign-up process, Shareworks Participant Experience gives employees unprecedented visibility into the value of their virtual shares.
“Before Shareworks, no one had any idea how many shares they had or what they were worth,” Julian notes. “Now they have visibility into their share value, which has sparked a lot of interest in the plan. Employees are using the self-serve portal to educate themselves, which means we get fewer basic questions. This higher level of understanding has translated into increased participation.”
Moving forward, together
While the switch to Shareworks was not without its challenges, GetYourGuide is delighted with the level of support they continue to receive. This was especially appreciated when the spread of COVID-19 saw the company’s business dwindle in a matter of weeks.
As part of GetYourGuide’s strategy to combat the effects of the pandemic, they offered a voluntary program to employees to exchange a portion of the salary for shares. Thanks to the efficient processes behind Shareworks and the transparency on value, this program was well received.
GetYourGuide is also working on giving employees who leave the company ongoing access to the Shareworks system so they can continue to track the value of their grants. “Our dedicated account manager is really working to help us get more out of the system,” Julian says. “It’s a true relationship and it’s clear that Shareworks is serious about customer service.”
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