How a Good Employee Share Reward Program (ESRP) Can Solve Your Retention Challenges!

September 27, 2022

A good reward and recognition system is the be-all and end-all for high employee retention, productivity level, and company success. However, it’s not as simple as saying “well done” and handing a 100-dollar bill to an employee for their birthday with a quickly scribbled happy birthday note. You need a good reward program that ticks all the boxes for a rapidly changing job market. So, how can you easily set up a recognition program that works? And how can an employee share reward program (ESRP) solve your retention challenges?

The aim is to use a reward program that shows your employees that they are valued and gives them a sense of belonging, building a motivated, productive and creative team. Many traditional reward programs are clunky to use, time-consuming and not flexible enough for the contemporary workplace. In this blog post, we’ll go into detail about how Upstreet’s ESRP offering can solve your company’s retention issues by offering a flexible and accessible recognition system for today’s workforce. 

An Accessible Employee Share Reward Program for 2023

Making sure your rewards are easily accessible is a requirement for the current workplace climate. With a rapidly increasing number of company apps across industries, the need to reward your employees “where they are most” shows a preference towards mobile applications. With the Upstreet Employee Share Reward Platform (ESRP), rewards are easily accessible both through a mobile app and browser – so that both mobile first employees and those who may choose not to use smartphones can easily access, review, buy additional or sell their shares if they so wish. 

For a recognition program to actively solve problems of retention and motivation, the rewards have to fulfil employees' expectations and needs, and be authentic, personalised, equitable and embedded in the workplace culture. It’s likewise important to separate an employee reward platform from a general communication platform: after all, you don’t want to congratulate your employee on running the marathon in the same email that you ask for an update on a fast approaching deadline. The Upstreet ESRP therefore also includes a communication channel, making it easy to personalise any reward. A separate, easy to use, fun and engaging platform for rewards not only drives engagement but signals to your current and future employees that recognition plays a big part in your workplace culture. 

A Flexible ESRP Covers All Employees and Contractors

Since the pandemic, employees have been increasingly wanting increased work flexibility with a global survey by EY finding that 88% of surveyed workers sought flexible working hours and 87% sought work to be more flexible. As your workplace becomes more flexible and full-time, part-time, freelance and contract employees start working in the same teams, the need for your reward program to be able to cover all kinds of employment relations becomes all the more crucial. 

Traditionally, share based rewards are normally only  offered  to full-time senior executive employees, in the form of STI or LTI awards, through ESS programs. This limits the capacity to build an owner’s mindset across the entire employee base. With the Upstreet ESRP, we’ve solved difficult share distribution challenges by buying company shares on the open stock market and placing these in the Upstreet fund which facilitates easy distribution to all employees. You can even reward suppliers and other contractors who may also deserve recognition, their motivation and retention being equally important for company success as those you employ directly. 

A good recognition program further allows you to decouple evaluation from appraisal, letting your employees understand that you value them as people. This requires both expected and surprise rewards for employees’ work performance as well as for their personal achievements. A reward platform needs to be both automatable for birthdays, company events and other occasions, and allow managers to reward employees ad-hoc. Upstreet therefore offers flexible automatic rewards that allows you to schedule rewards on a daily, weekly, monthly or ad hoc basis. Furthermore, Upstreet offers an easy vesting schedule to reward employees regularly e.g. monthly and if an employee leaves the not awarded (scheduled) rewards forfeited and cancelled.

As we see increased changes in the workplace, company structures increasingly differ from one another. Some, such as KKR, choose to distribute larger company shares to their employees. Others choose to focus on fractional shares which have been shown to give the same ownership mindset to an individual as if the company was a cooperative. Our ESRP caters as much for fractional as for large-scale share rewards to be distributed to employees, ensuring that all employees can partake in the same scheme irregardless of their stake or position in the company. 

Upstreet ESRP: How it Works.

Upstreet Cuts Through the Red Tape

For a reward scheme to be successful in increasing employee retention, it needs to not only be accessible but also easy, quick and hassle-free. In contrast to traditional employee share schemes, ESRP is a post-tax solution where the annual tax reporting to the Australian Tax Office is managed by Upstreet at the individual level – saving you valuable admin time as well as offering a quick return on investment. That’s why it’s also quick to get started with our ESRP: on-boarding takes a few weeks and rewards appear in employees’ wallets in 1-2 business days.

For employees, the process has to be fun and simple. When you offer an employee a reward, they get an email invitation to create an Upstreet login which grants them direct access to their rewards as well as the ability to keep track of scheduled rewards. Once an employee has registered for an Upstreet account, they can add fractional shares through online shopping with the 500+ brands on the platform, purchase e-gift cards for loved ones or colleagues and play Moonshot, an in-app game where players can free fractional shares every 24 hours. Employees can also cash out their shares after a short period of time.

By offering your employees share rewards with Upstreet ESRP, you get an accessible, flexible recognition platform that cuts through the red tape and fosters an owner’s mindset amongst your employees – ensuring higher productivity, motivation and retention.

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