However, conveying the value of equity plans, both during onboarding and over time, may be harder than you think. In some cases, employees may not fully understand the ins and outs of equity ownership, particularly in a private company context. Or perhaps they do not fully grasp how the plan works or how much their equity may be worth over time. Plus, equity-based compensation jargon can quickly get confusing. Mention restricted stock units (RSUs) and non-qualified stock options (NQSOs), and more than a few questions may arise. Start talking vesting and valuation, and eyes may get glassy. By the time you’re ready to chat about tax consequences, your employees may be thinking that participation in your equity plan may be more effort than it’s worth.
And that would be a shame, not only because you’ve invested in making the plan a success, but because you may risk missing the potential benefits of active plan participation—such as increased employee loyalty and fostering a culture of ownership.
The good news is that there may be ways to promote equity plan participation among both your new hires and longer-term employees. It just takes a couple of sound approaches when communicating equity plans and equity participation agreements.