Customer stories

Sharesies uses Orchestra to increase employee engagement

Equity management platform Orchestra, has welcomed aboard online share trading platform Sharesies, a lead customer and partner who has contributed to the evolution of Orchestra's employee share ownership plan (ESOP) module.

Orchestra has taken an historically manual and potentially risky process and made it simple.

Hannah Bennett, Sharesies Company Secretary

The challenge - making ESOPs simple

Sharesies Company Secretary Hannah Bennett says Orchestra has taken a historically manual and potentially risky process and made it “simple”.

“With a team of 170 plus, managing share registries and our options scheme was a huge undertaking,” she says. “Orchestra has been an enormous timesaver plus the risk of getting something wrong has been vastly reduced. We now take data straight from our finance team, load it straight into Orchestra and have the information available and ready to use almost instantly. It’s not only operationally efficient, it’s also brilliant for our teams to see the live status of their options and to have access to everything at their fingertips.

“We feel lucky to have been an Orchestra early adopter and to have had the opportunity to give feedback that is appreciated and taken onboard. We’re just really delighted with the partnership.”

Having staff who are literally invested in the company means we have a highly engaged team who feel looked after

Hannah Bennett, Sharesies Company Secretary

Using ESOPs to engage employees

Sharesies launched in 2017 with an ESOP scheme in place, a move Bennett says has been essential to securing “great staff who stick around” while ensuring “all employees benefit from our potential success”.

“Having staff who are literally invested in the company means we have a highly engaged team who feel looked after. It’s just a really cool way to bring on board new talent and show them they’re going to get value from joining the team while still recognising the commitment made by those who have backed us as their employer since the early days.”

Both Bennett and Procter agree that education on how ESOPs work, followed by ongoing visibility of the plan details, is key to gaining employee buy-in and creating a lasting ownership mentality in the business.

“We explain the offer process to employees at the interview stage,” says Bennett. “It’s common for people to be new to ESOPs - or to not understand the technicalities so giving them access to information is key. Orchestra empowers our staff to know exactly what their ESOP is, how it benefits them and how everything is tracking. They love being able to jump online and see how many options they have and the status as it shows them what the future might hold. They’re empowered to make decisions and choices for their lives and futures. We love that.”

Orchestra’s ESOP module can be used for existing or new ESOPs and simplifies the process of manually managing a plan. It gives full visibility for participating employees across their portfolio, helping build more engagement and long term relationships between companies and their teams. Combined with Orchestra’s share registry tools, the module makes it easier for companies to ensure that their share schemes and registries are accurate, up-to-date, and compliant.

Sharesies has over 450,000 New Zealand investors with over $1.8billion invested through the platform. Orchestra launched in April 2020 and has grown to be New Zealand's largest provider of shareholder registry and stakeholder management solutions for private companies.