Earlier this year, food and hospitality group Whitbread saw both a three- and five-year Save As You Earn (SAYE) schemes mature, benefiting more than 1,000 employees at the group's brands, which include Premier Inn, Costa, Beefeater and Brewers Fayre.
Those in the five-year plan did best, making back four times the amount they had put in, while those on the three-year option more than doubled their money. The share price on maturity stood at £37.50; the SAYE options had been granted at £7.28 for the five-year plan and £14.14 for the three.
The majority – 895 – of employees took part in the three-year scheme, saving an average of £51 a month; an amount which saw a profit of £3,000, while the 160 people in the five-year plan saved an average of £77, delivering an average profit of more than £21,000. Those who had saved the full £250, however, made £15,000 and £69,000, respectively.
The business offers a new three and five-year SAYE plan in Autumn each year, and is now using staff who have benefited from the recent payouts to promote it to others.
“Having someone who has just received a payout share their story with you is a much more effective way of engaging with someone than something coming from head office,” says group reward manager Stephen Brown. About 14% of staff currently take part in at least one plan, he says, with many using the regular savings – or any payouts – to fund holidays.
One of the attractions of SAYE, says Brown, is that it is easy to communicate to an employee population spread all over the country. “Talking about shares can put people off but the reality is that it’s a saving scheme, and you could potentially make some money at the end of it,” he says.
Whitbread recently decided to give employees the option of saving up to the new limit of £500. “We think it’s a fantastic benefit, particularly for our hourly-paid population,” says Brown. “It’s a great way for them to share in the success that they help to create every day.”
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