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.

Sharesies team image

Sharesies is one of over 400 New Zealand and Australian businesses using Orchestra for their equity management. David Procter from Orchestra, says that Sharesies’ feedback has assisted the development of the ESOP module to deliver “an enhanced experience for companies and employees”.

“As Sharesies do regular option grants to their staff, this challenged us to come up with a combined grant overview by staff member showing the status of all their options together,” he says. “It was a great opportunity to work with an experienced and insightful client who also believes in financial empowerment and knows the start-up space. This has resulted in an enhanced product that other Orchestra clients will also benefit from.”

Making ESOPs simple

Sharesies Company Secretary Hannah Bennett says Orchestra has taken an 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.”

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 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.

About Orchestra:

Orchestra provides equity management software for growth companies & businesses with many stakeholders, enabling them to build better stakeholder relationships. Orchestra is on a mission to better connect companies with their investors and employees. Investors who are more engaged with their portfolios and receive frequent communications typically invest more. Employees who are more engaged at work stay for longer and contribute to increased productivity, profitability, and business longevity. For more information, please visit orchestra.io.

About Sharesies:

Sharesies is an online investment platform that seeks to provide an inclusive, low-cost way to invest. Their platform is built around our purpose of “creating the most financially empowered generation” and gives investors access to more than 8,000+ companies and funds across New Zealand, Australia and the US with no minimum investment amount. Since launching in 2017, Sharesies has amassed over 450,000+ investors with more than $1.8B funds under management. As well as being an accredited Market Participant on the NZX, Sharesies is Living Wage Accredited, certified Carbon-Neutral, and one of the first New Zealand financial services companies to become a Certified B Corporation®.

DISCLAIMER: This article is for informational purposes only, and contains general information only. Orchestra is not, by means of this information, rendering accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such professional advice or services nor should it be used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect your business or interests. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business or interests, you should consult a qualified professional advisor. This information is not intended as a recommendation, offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any options or shares.