BT offers employees access to both sharesave and share incentive plans (Sips), with free share allocations that are tightly linked to company performance – based on customer satisfaction and earnings per share.
Francis O’Mahony, shareholder services manager, explains: “We want to enable employees to build up a stake in the company and on a tax-beneficial basis. Now that we are much more of a global player, it is a real identifier for our employees in over 40 different countries too.”
BT has offered share plans dating back as far as 1984, but its current plans began in 2002 following the demerger of 02. Since then, it has seen encouraging levels of staff interest, with take-up reaching as high as 97% on its UK allshare plan, for instance, which gives employees free shares based on the organisation meeting its performance targets.
The group has paid out £139m in free shares to employees in its Sip since 2002 and in the 2007 financial year employees invested £14.3m of their own money to buy shares.