Upstreet ESRP as an Easy Way to Show Your Employees You Care: A Case Study

October 19, 2022

It is only by taking a deep, long-term perspective that we can bring all of the value we have on the table into the success of our lives and our business.

– Brett Kelly, CEO and founder of KPG

In our previous blog post, we introduced Brett Kelly, CEO and founder of Kelly Partners Group (KPG) and how he’s been using Upstreet’s Employee Share Reward Platform (ESRP) to foster an owner’s mindset among his employees. In this post, we’re very excited to use the KPG case study to illustrate how Upstreet ESRP can help solve your problems of retention, motivation and engagement in practice by offering an economical, immediate, scalable and accessible solution for today’s workplace needs.

Employee Rewards Made Fun, Easy and Visible

Brett Kelly had a long-standing interest in offering company shares to his employees before turning to Upstreet, but was looking for an employee share reward solution that would make a real difference. Major obstacles with offering shares included that people were either not claiming shares offered to them because it was too complicated, or sold their shares at the very first opportunity. In 2017, eleven years after forming the company, KPG IPO’d on the ASX, and Kelly granted $1,000 in company shares to each employee. Of the 230 people awarded shares, half never claimed them at all. Among those who did, about half sold the shares as soon as the share price went up 20%. Allowing people to sell shares whenever they want stifles the goal of creating an owner’s mindset when rewarding employees although, of course, it’s completely up to the individual when to sell. “Interestingly,” Kelly says, “as the business kept growing, many bought back in. Previously, they would just get a note once a year reminding them that they have company shares, and then some would go on to claim the $1,000 by selling them. But once we moved to Upstreet, we don’t see people selling their shares. The reason is that they are more engaged with the ownership concept – and that’s because they can see it.” Now, over 90% of KPG employees claim their shares, because it meets them where they are: on their mobile phone.

At Upstreet, we pride ourselves in making the employee share reward experience easy and fun. As you probably know by now, we’re a strong proponent of putting employees first and working for financial equality, but you shouldn’t forget to make things fun in the process. A lot of this lies in the way you deliver the message notifying people of their reward. See the examples below: screen 1, shows an email inviting an employee to join the ACME Employee Share Rewards Program, which is followed by a text message. As an employee, you simply click the link redirecting you to downloading the Upstreet app or to sign up for an Upstreet account online. Subsequent rewards are notified in-app as well as via email and text, and you can easily view all of your shares either in the app or online. Screen 2 shows the screen of an employee who has accumulated $315.43 worth of ACME shares as a reward for their hard work. It also shows that they’ve received $315.07 worth of Microsoft shares through an Upstreet gift card and $302.68 shares as 6% of their holiday purchase, as Upstreet enables employees to integrate their employee reward shares with customer rewards from 500+ Australian and international brands. The final screen shows the breakdown of an employee’s rewards: a birthday, a work anniversary, a client referral, an Easter congratulation and an outstanding achievement – making sure the employees are continuously reminded of how much their employer actually values them. 

Examples from the Employee Reward Process

Turns out, the KPG employees love it. As Amanda C. says, “I am glad that I received shares over a cash bonus. I like to see my account growing and feel that my work is contributing to this.” Incentivising future work as well as rewarding past achievements is, clearly, working out well. 

Effectively Rewarding Employees with Company Shares

Kelly identified another hurdle when awarding shares without using Upstreet ESRP: the administrative complications and costs of awarding shares at scale. “If I want to give someone $25 worth in shares with a note saying ‘Hey Johnny, thank you for doing X. Here’s 25 bucks,’ it’s not the dollars that count but the thought. The problem was that I didn’t have a way to easily do that at scale. With Upstreet, I can ask them to reward 80 employees, for example, and they do it.” The shares thus appear in the employees’ Upstreet accounts in 1-2 working days, or can easily be scheduled through the Upstreet app or website for a future date. Kelly even uses the shares to congratulate his employees’ partners and children on birthdays or other occasions, because of Upstreet setup, the shares can be awarded to everyone. “I have had my people’s children come up to me and say, ‘thank you so much for that Mr Kelly! Now I own shares.’”

As the HR administrator at KPG, Lawrence Sleimen, says “The Upstreet program is easy to use. We’ve had great success with over 90% of our entire workforce claiming their share rewards. Employees are excited about getting share rewards.” Apart from allowing the share rewards to be given in smaller and bigger amounts, or be vested over time, Upstreet has helped KPG save on admin costs. As Kelly says “it’s great, it’s cheap, it’s easy; what’s not to like?” At the time of writing, Kelly has already rewarded employees with over $240,000 worth of KPG shares through Upstreet, with rewards ranging from $5 to $10,000 depending on achievement, occasion and company position. Rewards included a new hire bonus with a vesting schedule over 24 months; employee referral reward vesting after 6 months; annual and quarterly performance bonuses; birthday wishes; and, finally, ad hoc rewards. All of these are personalised, as Upstreet comes with a communication platform which allows you to reward your people intimately, with a personal note. 

If you would like to find out more about how Upstreet can work in your company, reach out to Neil Jackson on (+61) 414964148 / or Christian Eckelmann on (+61) 403 954 947 / We’d love to chat to you about your particular needs.

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