Going the extra mile for employee ownership

Employee stock ownership plan

Campari Group won the 2022 ProShare Award for Best Overall Performance in Fostering Employee Share Ownership: 501 – 5,000 employees. In this article, Global Shares tell us about how they partnered with Campari Group as they launched their first all-employee share ownership plan (ESOP) in 2021.

The Campari Group ESOP

As their partners in launching the plan, we saw up close Campari Group’s commitment to employee ownership and determination to acknowledge and reward their people with an attractive share plan that would work for them.

The plan they proposed was a flexible one, giving participants the ability to sell shares at the first opportunity, but also incentivising them to retain shares for at least three years.

There were several key elements to achieving this.

  • At the outset, after registering on the Global Shares online Equity Gateway platform, participants specified whether to set aside 1%, 3%, or 5% of their monthly salary for the purchase of Campari Group shares.
  • Accumulated funds at the end of every quarter are used to purchase shares.
  • Participants are free to sell at the end of every purchase period, but a matching element incentivises them to hold their shares.
  • The matching shares will vest after three years, at which point participants can choose to hold, sell or move shares to another account.

Going above and beyond

The plan was incredibly well thought through, but what really made Campari Group’s efforts stand out for us was the effort they put into making sure that all employees, no matter where they were in the world, were fully briefed and informed on the opportunity being presented to them.

With a potential participant pool of 3,200 individuals spread across 24 countries on multiple continents, reaching out to all eligible employees and providing them with the information they needed to properly understand what was being proposed was not straightforward. But this did not deter Campari Group. On the contrary, they embraced the challenge and committed themselves to developing a communications strategy that would take the message around the globe, while remaining cognisant of the fact that some of their target audience might have a limited understanding of share plans at the start of the process.

There were multiple strands to their communication strategy, some key aspects of which are included here.

  • A written message from the company Chairman emphasising the importance of the ESOP was circulated to all offices.
  • The company CEO recorded a video in which he explained why the company was launching the plan and outlined its key features.
  • Video animations were created and circulated to explain the plan and presentinformation designed to educate employees on shares and being a shareholder.
  • An eight-page booklet was created, explaining the plan and how to sign up.
  • Information posters were placed in prominent positions in offices and plants.
  • Slides were created for live presentations, delivered by HR representatives in online or on-site meetings.

Global Shares role

We also played our part in these efforts, with a view to making the registration process as unintimidating as possible.

  • We set up the website for the plan in eight different languages and sent activation emails and enrolment reminders in those languages during the mid-October to mid-December registration period.
  • We also provided a facility on the website whereby participants could watch the CEO’s video message, delivered in English, with subtitles in the language of their choice.
  • For ease of access, we also enabled single sign-on to avoid the need for people to log in to the site with a username and password.

The pay off

Campari Group’s determination to reach as many of their employees as possible and demystify what was being proposed proved to be worthwhile, with more than 51% of eligible employees having registered on the online Equity Gateway platform by the mid-December registration deadline.

The Camparista Shares Plan is now an ongoing initiative, with an annual registration window allowing more employees to sign up and experience the benefits of employee ownership.

Subsidiary Governance Summit, 20 Feb 2024 Download this year's course catalogue Defining governance: An exploration of practitioners’ role and value Engage Governance podcast series FTSE 350 Boardroom Bellwether survey Join our upcoming training for governance professionals

Search CGI