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8 Ways To Boost ESPP Participation 2021_900x330

9 Ways to Boost ESPP Participation

Thursday, March 24, 2022

How are you communicating to employees about your ESPP?

For the first time, millennials are the largest group of shareholders. As investors, they are more direct – they want effective digital communication and a strong stance on environmental, social and governance (ESG).

The number of Gen Z investors is also growing, and they are set to become even more active and engaged in the next few years.


The answer might be simpler than you think: they don’t know about it.

EQ's Shareholder Voice survey sample revealed that 50% of all shareholders in the U.K. and U.S. are between ages 18 and 40, and 18% are between 18 and 24 – the so-called Generation Z.

Why aren’t even more employees taking advantage of this benefit? The answer might be simpler than you think: they don’t know about it.

An ESPP could be new to employees, and they may not understand how it differs from a 401(k) and its long-term potential.

Make your ESPP a must-have

Companies that offer employee stock plans gain dedicated, motivated employees who are working toward a joint goal of company growth. The win-win of an ESPP for companies and employees means that companies should make a concerted effort to promote it. Look at your current communications and consider some of the following.

  1. Detail your ESPP in new hire materials, recruitment efforts, and all employee benefit documents in a clear, easy-to-understand way.
  2. ESPPs and 401(k) plans are both broad-based, voluntary, and payroll deducted. Employees may not differentiate between the two and simply choose to participate in one. Equip employees with the knowledge that they can participate in – and benefit from – each of these investment platforms.
  3. Create and distribute a video of company leadership talking about their vision behind the ESPP and why your company chooses to offer such a rich benefit.
  4. Post information on the main page of your company intranet directing employees to learn more about the plan.
  5. Host lunch-and-learns or webinars for employees to get more information about your particular offering with time for Q&A.
  6. Connect with your plan administrator about providing tailored, on-site education.
  7. Meet with your Corporate Communications department to create a calendar of timed messages so it is on their radar to promote well in advance of the enrollment period.
  8. Ask plan participants to provide testimonials. Hearing from peers who employees identify with can help spur others to participate.
  9. Reevaluate your plan and consult with your plan administrator about how your ESPP could be more effective. Is participation low because there is a long restriction period? Is your discount not appealing enough? Do you offer lookback pricing?

ESPPs also offer an opportunity to engage with younger investors who follow stories and themes. Building narratives in digital channels can gain the engagement of these potential shareholders, especially by keeping them aware of things they care about, like ESG processes and results.

As a company that truly understands the value of equity ownership, we are here to help you take care of your most valuable assets – your employees. EQ provides equity compensation services including equity awards, RSUs, and employee stock purchase plans (ESPP).

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