Creating a one stop shop for easyJet employees
As one of Europe’s leading airlines, easyJet operates on over 800 routes across 132 airports in 31countries with a fleet of more than 250 Airbus aircraft. It employs over 10,000 people, including more than 2,800+ pilots and 6,000+ cabin crew*.
Since easyJet’s flotation in 2000, Equiniti has been charged with looking after the ordinary share register so our relationship with easyJet is a long-established one.
*As at 30 September 2016
In 2013, easyJet put a tender out to the market in relation to the various share plans (including both SAYE and SIPs, as well as LTIPs) that were in place. The objective was to improve the user experience for its employees, regardless of where they are based.
Equiniti won this contract to administer all easyJet’s UK and international SAYE and SIP plans, together with its LTIPs.
This put easyJet on the flightpath to developing a seamless experience for all its employees, whenever they wanted to access information about their easyJet shareholdings, SAYE and SIP plans and any discretionary plans.
In addition, having the same provider of share registration and share scheme administration services has enabled easyJet to realise synergies between them.
easyJet’s SAYE and SIP share plans were administered by two different providers, which meant that it was difficult for employees to find out information across their plans; there was no single point of access.
The key priorities for easyJet when setting out the brief for the administration of these plans centred around:
This particular migration project had some additional layers of complexity to be factored in.
As well as there being two separate incumbent providers, there was a significant number of plans to migrate: six international SAYE plans, (which differed from country to country), plus a UK SAYE plan and four SIPs (including partnership, matching, free and dividend plans).
As if this were not challenging enough, in addition, there were three legacy SAYE plans in place which required different treatment. The previous provider needed to continue as savings carrier until the point of maturity.
How we helped
This was a project that necessitated meticulous planning, strong relationship building and excellent communication skills, together with the technical knowledge and innovation capacity to deliver to easyJet’s expectations. It also required long-term commitment and resource, as the project eventually lasted a total of nine months due to its level of complexity.
We took the decision to manage the migrations as two separate projects, as each incumbent needed to work towards different timeframes.
It was imperative that we built good working relationships with the incumbent service providers to ensure that we cooperated and coordinated well for the good of the client.
To keep employees well-informed and onboard with the changes taking place, we used a combination of communication channels. These included site visits in the UK and abroad, online communications and face-to-face presentations.
With three legacy SAYE plans in place, we knew that a strong ongoing relationship had to be developed with the incumbent provider. One of easyJet’s requirements was for all participant communications to come from Equiniti to ensure simplicity and consistency. This included providing one point of contact for any employee queries about these plans.
We worked with the legacy plans provider to structure the set up for employee enquiries in such a way that any employee making enquiries was not passed from pillar to post. We provided the front-end contact with employees and if historical information was required, it was Equiniti staff who liaised with the incumbent to find out the information and revert to the employee.
Another example of improving access to information was in the case of international staff. Up to the time of Equiniti’s tenure, these staff did not have a single point of access to their share plan and other information. This had previously been held across three providers.
Establishing an ESP portal for all employees, wherever they were based, meant that everyone had access and could view the information all in one place, including transaction history. This was a huge improvement and much welcomed by employees.
We introduced a global nominee so that employees overseas could choose to stop receiving share certificates (which had a habit of going astray) and could now hold their shares electronically, as well as trade online.
This drive away from reliance on paper and towards making more information available online and electronically brought great efficiencies and cost savings.
The migrations were a resounding success and both completed within the timeframes stipulated.
There were six international SAYE plans with 3,000 eligible employees, of whom 400 participated. In the UK, there were 4,700 eligible employees with 1,800 participants in the SAYE.
In the first year that Equiniti administered the plans, the number of participants increased, a testament to the improved employee experience.
Not only have we helped increase the participation rates, we also helped easyJet rethink and streamline its processes by creating an internal roadmap.
The Head of Reward and Group Company Secretary were delighted with the outcome and provided some very positive feedback.