Building A Better Visa: Employees Shape Total Rewards Offering.

Global payments technology company, Visa, enables customers in more than 200 countries and territories to use digital currency instead of cash and checks. Starting in 2015, Visa’s HR team needed to enable their eligible employees in 22 countries—representing 93% of their workforce—to participate in a new equity compensation program developed in response to the company’s “Build a Better Visa” employee feedback initiative.

Stacey Lombardi, Visa’s Director of Global Total Rewards, led the efforts to develop and communicate the Employee Stock Purchase Plan (ESPP) that employees had requested. Her extensive pre-launch planning included collecting employee feedback on the specifics of the new ESPP offering and pulling together a cross-functional team to design the program. The team spent considerable time researching, benchmarking against peers and companies in other industries, and evaluating the purchasing power of employees.  They eventually branded their ESPP with the catchy “V Shares” name and gave it Visa’s single-letter ticker symbol to make the program recognizable and easy for employees to remember. And to quickly deliver on the “Build A Better Visa” suggestion, they introduced the program through a phased launch, focusing first on countries with the largest concentration of employees and those without significant regulatory hurdles.

Effective Global Communications Expand Visa’s Equity Footprint

Lombardi and her team wanted to make sure that employees got all the information they needed to make an educated decision, knowing that many had not worked for a public company before. And for those who had, it was important that they fully understood what made V Shares unique. In addition to analyzing the demographics of their workforce and evaluating how successfully Visa had communicated HR programs in the past, the team looked at what other companies were doing to launch similar programs. They concluded that, to ensure success, the launch needed to be customized by region and communicated to employees via multiple channels—including videos from GuideSpark’s employee communications solution.

A comprehensive communications plan was developed, and the first phase was implemented several months in advance of the V Shares enrollment date.  Employees were offered several ways to get informed and educate themselves about the program before they needed to make an investment decision. Since GuideSpark’s ESPP video was a key component to Visa’s strategy, it was shown in all employee education sessions, distributed to employees who weren’t able to attend a live session, and shared with employees on the V Share internal website. To drive a deeper level of engagement with participants, employees also received program messaging via e-mail, posters and digital signage, internal ESPP website, and Total Reward Statements.

Creating a Culture of Employee Shareholders

Lombardi managed the V Shares’ communications plan through each launch event in the phased rollout, building on what worked best. Using a leadership dashboard designed to gauge the success of the program for each enrollment period, Lombardi’s team was able to track a variety of metrics related to employee engagement. Her team found that the in-person sessions were central to employee participation when launching in new countries and that GuideSpark’s content was the perfect tool to reinforce important messaging and prepare employees to make investment decisions.  As a result, Visa increased enrollment rates across the globe, including 100% participation in Taiwan, 111% increase in participation in India, and 55.5% global participation. Given their success using on-demand multimedia communications, Visa is now looking to develop a similar program to communicate the value of Restricted Stock Units.

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