Employee Benefits Connect 2017: Mining organisation Rio Tinto uses country champions to help drive engagement with its employee share scheme.
Delivering the conference session ‘Driving long-term engagement through reward’ at Employee Benefits Connect 2017, John Beadle (pictured), global head of performance and reward at Rio Tinto, explained that using country champions as a point of contact to help promote the organisation’s global employee share plan across 38 countries led to greater engagement and take up across the business.
Beadle said: “The big thing that made the difference were country champions. These were [employees] who were not necessarily HR people, they were often colleagues of the people in the sites concerned and they went to tea breaks, lunch breaks, shift changes, they sat down, they talked about the programme, they handed out [scatter] cards, they asked questions. There was a virtual network created of these [employees] right around the world, […] and that network has seen us through from launch all the way through to vesting. It was an incredibly powerful tool.”
The myShare employee share plan, which has now been in operation for three years, is open to all employees across the organisation’s global sites, with staff able to purchase up to $10,000 or 10% of salary in shares. Aimed at all staff levels, employees who are unable to purchase entire shares can buy fractional shares. The plan also utilises a matching structure on a 1:1 basis.
The scheme was launched with an engaging video that explained the benefit in a jargon-free manner. Communications around the plan now have a harvest theme to coincide with messaging around investment and growth. This was promoted on scatter cards, posters and emails, as well as through the network of country champions.
Rio Tinto is focused on providing continuous support and communications around the scheme. Beadle said: “We are going to be doing a re-launch [of the harvest theme] later this year in order to reinforce some of the messages. You can’t just walk away from what is an on-going plan.”
The myShare scheme now has 15,000 participants across all levels of the business, with 10,000 employees receiving matching shares in the first quarterly vesting period. In the first year of launching, an average of 28% of employees participated in the scheme and now, an average of 70% save the maximum amount.