During trying times, it may be difficult for companies, especially their HR teams, to compensate employees. It is not surprising that equity management platforms are becoming more popular tools for companies during these times. Equity management platforms such as Upstock offer a dynamic solution to HR compensation strategies by seamlessly integrating equity-based rewards. By leveraging Upstock, businesses can attract, motivate, and retain top talent through competitive and transparent equity offerings, even when faced with budget constraints. It's a modern approach that aligns employees with long-term organizational success.
- Upstock equity is accessible
- Equity is attractive
- Equity doesn’t have to be risky
- Equity is aligning
With COVID-19 seemingly entering its end stage and the economy reopening, many people, especially those who have been historically underserved by the federal government, federal agencies, or just the government in general, expected to slowly get some semblance of normalcy back. But there’s no assurance that things will easily revert to before, at least in terms of civil rights and public policies.
Multiple issues still threaten human rights, American democracy, and those who have been historically underserved by the federal government and federal agencies.
Even government employment opportunities evade some people. They suffer problems, such as persistent poverty, without assistance from the state department, the government, and the Biden administration. Thus, we can't exactly blame them if they feel they don't receive equal opportunity and civil rights.
When it comes to the employment sector, businesses and companies —especially those historically underserved by the federal government, Supreme Court, and federal agencies — had to deal with the Great Resignation during the height of the pandemic.
A recruitment and retention arms race ensued, exacerbated by entrenched disparities. Companies fought over access to existing talent in a market that tilted in favor of those with a lot of cash and capital to spare. This eventually became another issue of disregarding civil rights, decreased equal access to resources and services, and lack of equal opportunity for everyone.
Some expected the battle for access to top talent to slow down as the economy gradually reopened and more people were ready to return to work. However, data collection from entities like federal agencies and the Supreme Court shows that the quit rate had not decreased significantly as of January 2022.
A persistent problem of the great resignation in relation to the federal government
A persistent human resources problem has always been acquiring as much human capital as possible while minimizing the costs to a company’s financial resources.
These resources and services could be going to things that improve the company's overall value, like equity action plans and compensation. Cash is finite for most smaller companies, small businesses, and other service providers, and managing it properly is important.
But with the competition for talent and access to services not ending anytime soon, not having the needed economic resources — such as equity action plans — to bring more value could be disastrous for the unprepared. Equity compensation strategies will be crucial to a company's success. Bootstrapping can only get you so far when you are short on money in the first place.
So a key question for HR practitioners is how precisely to develop an effective equity based compensation strategy, develop equity action plans, and/or promote equitable outcomes and the ownership mindset — in which employees are given a stake in the company and are invested in its success — with little to no cash. Is it even possible, according to federal agencies like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and other service providers?
We think developing the ownership mindset is possible if we promote equitable outcomes and services through equity compensation plans, equity action plans, stock options, and stock compensation. Here’s why we think it could work.
1. Upstock Equity is accessible, unlike stock options and company stock
One of the major systemic barriers to deploying and maintaining employee equity compensation and equity action plans is the high legal costs that it often requires. Lawyer fees and services don't come cheap.
However, solutions like Upstock have created the needed technical and legal infrastructure to be able to deploy and manage equity compensation plans and stock options at a considerably lower cost.
Companies wanting to issue equity and stock options through equity programs can now do so in a matter of minutes by using vetted and standardized legal agreements through services like Upstock.
SaaS legal and equity solutions like Upstock can offer companies click-to-deploy solutions for issuing equity remotely to workers no matter where they are after equity assessments are performed.
This makes advance equity more accessible to companies and workers, as these platforms can also offer individual dashboards for both workers and administrators to track advance equity earnings.
2. Equity is attractive
When you are trying to woo the top talent in the world, you need to offer something unique. You have to be different to stand out from the crowd. You have to motivate employees to retain employees so they will continue with their service delivery.
There’s no doubt that a big salary offer is very attractive. The problem though is that companies who need to hire the best people are willing to do that too, and as companies try to outbid one another, the process becomes a war of attrition that the less funded companies will not be able to survive.
High payroll costs can end up cutting into the company’s spending budgets on the areas they’re hiring for, which can negatively affect the new hires in an entirely different way.
Offering equity, equity compensation, or company shares, however, gives you a fighting chance. Its main draw is uniqueness since not all founders and business owners are comfortable with advancing equity or giving employees part-ownership stakes, company shares, or actual shares over the company itself.
This is possible even if the key employees do not purchase shares (company shares), as it is supposedly part of the comprehensive approach to give them advancing equity and better pay on top of the equity compensation they receive while working with the company.
As the stock value increases, their perceived value also increases with the company. As a result, employee engagement and stakeholder engagement can also improve.
If you are a non-tech company and usually target talent who suffers from persistent poverty, offering a stock option or stock option plan has a stronger effect, as it is almost guaranteed that most of your competitors are unwilling to provide equity compensation.
3. Equity and equity compensation don’t have to be risky
One criticism of equity compensation is that the company stock could become worthless. In fact, this has been a major concern for stock options and many a stock option agreement, as employees are forced to shell out personal funds to pay the strike price or risk not getting any company shares at all.
This essentially compels employees to make a gamble that the company will succeed in the future: a gamble that they have a real possibility of losing.
In response, equity systems have evolved by introducing a newer and more effective breed of stock equity compensation plans and benefits on top of their equity compensation. One of these is restricted stock units (RSUs), which offer operational flexibility through features like dynamic equity and double-trigger vesting.
These ESOPs use a deferred equity based compensation model that is different from restricted stock awards, so that workers and plan participants receive their stock once the vesting date/ vesting period/vesting schedule/grant date and certain milestones are met.
A portion of the stock (such as restricted stock) will often be liquidated to pay the taxes and tax liability so that workers do not have to pay any out-of-pocket expenses in order to own their stock once they meet the vesting requirement to receive their benefits on a set future date.
This way, workers only have the benefits to gain and don’t have to risk putting their personal cash on the line to own company stock that may or may not be worth what they paid for once they are able to fulfill the vesting schedule. They also don't have to worry about tax liability and tax consequences related to these equity compensation plans or employee stock purchase plans.
4. Equity and equity based compensation is aligned
People will work harder and contribute more if they know their efforts will be proportionately rewarded. Basic salaries, however, can only go so far to motivate workers and employees to go above and beyond what is necessary.
You need a stronger incentive if your company wants to truly motivate its workforce. You need a key tool that enables workers and employees to share the same goals and concerns with private companies. The best way to do this is by helping workers to think like founders. This is where equity compensation enters the picture.
Equity compensation can do this by facilitating the development of true worker-company alignment through a very simple message: if we win, you win.
By tying the company’s interests and motivations with its employees, equity compensation helps develop understanding and empathy within a corporate setting, creating a healthy internal culture.
Ways on How Upstock Equity Plans Can Boost HR Compensation Strategies
Here's how Upstock or similar platforms can boost HR compensation strategies:
1. Attracting Top Talent: Offering equity can make a compensation package more attractive to potential employees, especially for startups or growth-oriented companies where the future potential value of the company is expected to increase.
2. Employee Retention: Equity incentives often vest over time, which means that employees need to remain with the company for a certain duration to fully realize their equity rewards. This can increase employee retention rates and reduce turnover.
3. Alignment of Interests: When employees hold equity or equity-like incentives in a company, their financial interests are more closely aligned with the company's success. This can motivate employees to contribute their best efforts towards the company's growth and profitability.
4. Flexibility in Compensation: Especially for early-stage startups with limited cash resources, offering equity can be a way to provide competitive compensation packages without straining the company's cash flow.
5. Transparency and Automation: Platforms like Upstock allow for streamlined management of equity plans. They can automate the complex processes of tracking, issuing, and vesting equity awards, thus reducing administrative overhead and errors.
6. Cultural Benefits: Offering equity can foster a sense of ownership and belonging among employees. It can lead to a culture where everyone feels they have a stake in the company's success.
7. Tax Benefits: Depending on the jurisdiction, equity-based compensation can offer certain tax advantages for both the employer and the employee.
8. Diversified Compensation: Offering a mix of cash and equity compensation can provide employees with both immediate financial rewards and long-term investment opportunities.
9. Feedback and Metrics: Platforms might offer analytics and insights into how equity-based compensation impacts employee performance, satisfaction, and retention, allowing HR to refine and optimize their strategies.
10. Educational Tools: Platforms often include educational resources for employees about equity and how it works, enabling them to make informed decisions about their compensation.
Incorporating equity into a compensation strategy using platforms like Upstock requires a thoughtful approach. It's crucial to balance equity offers with other forms of compensation, ensure that the value proposition is clear to employees, and regularly review and adjust the strategy based on feedback and changing business needs.
Hypothetical Examples on How Upstock Equity Plans Can Be Used
Let's delve into three hypothetical examples of how Upstock can make a difference.
1. The Tech Titan Turnaround: ByteSquad
Background: ByteSquad, a tech startup, was in its critical scaling phase but faced stiff competition from tech giants in hiring top-tier developers.
Challenge: With cash constraints, offering competitive salaries was tough. They needed a way to differentiate themselves and attract premium talent.
Solution: ByteSquad implemented Upstock. Instead of just cash-based incentives, they offered significant equity packages. Using Upstock, they streamlined the management of these equity offers, ensuring transparency and ease of understanding for prospective hires.
Outcome: ByteSquad not only attracted high-quality talent but also saw improved retention rates. Their employees, now stakeholders, were more vested in the company's success. Two years later, upon a successful IPO, early joiners celebrated substantial returns from their equity stakes.
2. Retail Revolution: UrbanSprout
Background: UrbanSprout, a sustainable clothing brand, was looking to expand its operations but faced retention issues with its managerial staff.
Challenge: The brand needed to incentivize managers to stay through the expansion phase and contribute to the brand's success.
Solution: Using Upstock, UrbanSprout offered equity-based compensation packages to its key employees. The platform's clarity and user-friendly approach made it easier for HR to manage and employees to understand their equity's potential value.
Outcome: Managerial retention rates soared. As UrbanSprout's valuation grew, employees benefitted from their equity's appreciation, leading to increased loyalty and a unified drive towards the company's mission.
3. HealthTech Triumph: MedMingle
Background: MedMingle, a digital health platform, was at the forefront of telemedicine. To innovate, they needed top software engineers and healthcare experts.
Challenge: With substantial R&D expenses, the budget for high salaries was limited, making it hard to attract industry experts.
Solution: MedMingle integrated Upstock into their HR strategy, offering enticing equity packages to prospective hires, showcasing potential long-term gains over immediate cash rewards.
Outcome: The company successfully onboarded industry veterans, and as MedMingle's user base exploded, so did its valuation. The early team, benefiting from their equity shares, felt a profound connection to the company's success, leading to a collaborative and motivated work environment.
An equity compensation strategy must provide a compelling offer of value (such as stock value, restricted stock units, or other benefits) to future and existing employees to be effective.
Equity compensation plans or employee stock purchase plans boost these stock strategies by giving value and providing something more meaningful than just a simple financial incentive or set of benefits.
Legal solutions like Upstock and Uptoken for crypto have made equity, equity compensation, and other similar equity compensation plans a more viable and accessible equity compensation option for companies by streamlining the deployment and management process of issuing equity.
At the same time, they made it easier for staff to access their employees' benefits easily, compensation (equity compensation), stock, and other benefits that can help them get a sense of company ownership and higher perceived value.
Our remote-first legal solution now makes issuing equity and equity compensation available across 70+ countries worldwide. If your company could benefit from a great implementation of a great worker equity compensation plan, sign up for a demo today!
- How does Upstock help HR departments overcome budget limitations when implementing compensation strategies?
Upstock enables HR departments to diversify compensation by incorporating equity into their offerings. Especially for startups or companies with limited cash flow, equity-based compensation can be a valuable tool to attract and retain talent without immediate financial strain. By providing tools to manage and understand equity offerings, Upstock empowers HR teams to offer competitive packages that combine both monetary and equity-based rewards, optimizing their budgets.
- Can Upstock integrate with existing HR software solutions used by organizations?
Upstock is designed to be adaptable and user-friendly, offering integration capabilities with various HR software solutions. Such integrations ensure seamless data exchange, streamlined workflows, and reduced administrative overhead, simplifying the overall management of equity-based compensation.
- Does Upstock provide data analysis tools to help HR professionals make informed compensation decisions?
Upstock equips HR professionals with tools to analyze and understand the impact and distribution of equity within the organization. These insights can be pivotal in making informed decisions about compensation adjustments, equity allocation, and understanding how equity offerings influence talent attraction and retention.
- How can Upstock improve transparency in compensation processes within an organization?
One of Upstock's core benefits is its ability to foster transparency in compensation processes. The platform provides clear visibility into equity distributions, vesting schedules, and individual allocations. This transparency ensures employees have a clear understanding of their equity stakes, and it promotes trust and clarity in compensation discussions and negotiations.