Effective communication plays a vital role in making sure your employees can make the most of share plans like SAYE and SIP.

But a one-size-fits-all approach often falls short, because it fails to capture your workforce’s diverse needs and preferences. Employee segmentation can help. It’s a strategic approach that tailors your communications to specific groups based on their unique characteristics.

In this post, we look at how you can use segmentation in your communications and how it can lift engagement with your share plans.


Why employee segmentation matters for share plans

Employee segmentation recognises that employees have different levels of familiarity, interest, and financial goals when it comes to share plans. It also recognises differences in how they prefer to consume information, and the best way of reaching them.

By segmenting your workforce, you can tailor your messages so they resonate with each group’s interests and motivations. This personalised approach not only increases understanding but also boosts participation and engagement with share plans.


Some example segmentation criteria

  • `Current share plan participation

Segment employees based on whether they already participate in your share plans. If they haven’t joined before, you might consider providing some extra education. It’s also worth looking at people who don’t currently participate, but have done in the past, to find out why they no longer join and see if you can overcome any barriers.

  • Financial goals and risk appetite

Consider employees’ financial goals, risk tolerance, and investment preferences when crafting messages about share plans. For example those with less appetite for risk might prefer SAYE over SIP.

  • Demographics and life stages

Understand how factors such as age, family status, and financial obligations impact employees’ perceptions and priorities. Younger employees might be saving for a house deposit for example, whereas older employees might be focusing on retirement savings.

  • Channel preferences

Identify employees’ preferred communication channels and formats for consuming information. It’s especially important to figure out how you’ll reach those who aren’t desk-based, as email alone is unlikely to be enough to get your message across.


How to use segmentation strategies for share plans

There are two main ways you can segment your employees for share plan communications.

The first is what I call intuitive segmentation. As the name suggests, this is where you use your knowledge of your employee base, combined with your intuition about which different groups exist and what the right message/channel is for each.

This can result in a simple model which lets you tailor a strategy to different groups without the need for costly data science work.

The second – and most effective – way is data-driven segmentation. Here a data scientist considers all relevant variables. Through a ‘clustering’ model, they can tell you which factors are most significantly correlated with likely share plan participation. This then allows you to segment your employees.

This method is more precise, and avoids the potential biases which can arise with the intuitive method.

It can be more expensive, but the use case often extends way beyond share plan communications and across your entire HR function, so it can be a worthwhile investment.

Whichever method you choose, once you have your segments, the next step is to write a pen portrait of each. Give them a name, get under their skin, and write a statement which reflects their needs, motivations, concerns, and characteristics. This will allow you to tailor your messaging – writing personally to each segment.


Case study: lifting share plan engagement with segmentation

Last year we designed and implemented a segmentation model for one of our larger clients.

They had a large population of employees who had never engaged with share plan communications and never joined a plan. They also had a population of detractors who were sceptical about employee share ownership, having been negatively impacted by share price falls in the past.

Tailoring our messaging to different groups yielded remarkable results. Among employees who had never engaged with share plans before, 19% chose to join this year’s share plan. And 16% of the detractor group chose to join, despite not joining for the past 15 years.

We were delighted to see such positive increases in participation across these unengaged segments, highlighting the effectiveness of a tailored approach.


Key takeaway: segmentation is effective, and needn’t break the bank

By understanding employees’ diverse needs, preferences, and motivations, you can create targeted communication strategies to foster a deeper understanding of share plans.

Whether employing intuitive segmentation methods or more advanced models, embracing segmentation can unlock the full potential of employee participation and engagement.

Are you ready to optimise your share plan communications strategy? We’d love to talk about how we can help you deliver personalised messages to lift engagement with your share plans.