Case Studies and Success Stories

Google’s Stock Option Program

Google (now part of Alphabet Inc.)

Key features
  • Google’s ESOP allowed employees to receive stock options as part of their compensation packages
  • The program included a unique “transferable stock options” feature that allowed employees to sell their vested options to financial institutions or outside investors, providing employees with liquidity and flexibility.
  • The ESOP played a significant role in attracting top tech talent to Google
  • The liquidity feature allowed employees to realize the value of their options without waiting for an IPO or sale of the company
  • Many early employees who participated in the ESOP became millionaires, fostering a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation.

Starbucks' Bean Stock Program

Starbucks Corporation

Key features
  • Starbucks’ Bean Stock Program granted stock options to eligible employees, including baristas and store managers.
  • The program also included a component called “Bean Stock Rewards,” which provided grants of restricted stock units ( RSUs) to employees.
  • The program helped foster a sense of ownership and pride among Starbucks employees, who referred to themselves as “partners.”
  • Starbucks consistently ranked as one of the best places to work, and employee engagement and retention were positively impacted by the program.
  • Employees could participate in the company’s financial success through stock ownership.

Microsoft’s ESOP

Microsoft Corporation

Key features
  • Microsoft’s ESOP has been a cornerstone of its compensation strategy for decades.
  • The program includes both stock options and employee stock purchase plans (ESPPs).
  • Microsoft’s ESOP provides employees with opportunities for ownership and participation in the company’s growth
  • Many Microsoft employees have become millionaires through the ESOP, which helped attract and retain top talent in the highly competitive tech industry.
  • The ESOP contributed to a culture of innovation and collaboration within the company

Southwest Airlines’ ESOP

Southwest Airlines Co.

Key features
  • Southwest’s ESOP is an employee-owned program where employees gradually gain ownership of the company’s stock over time.
  • The ESOP is an integral part of Southwest’s corporate culture, emphasizing teamwork and shared success.
  • The ESOP has contributed to Southwest’s reputation for excellent customer service and employee satisfaction.
  • Southwest employees have a significant stake in the company’s success, leading to high levels of engagement and dedication

Buehler’s Fresh Foods’ ESOP

Buehler’s Fresh Foods (grocery store chain)

Key features
  • Buehler’s, a family-owned grocery chain, transitioned to employee ownership through an ESOP.
  • Employees were granted shares and gradually became owners of the company.
  • The ESOP helped secure the company’s future by providing an exit strategy for the retiring owners.
  • Employee morale and commitment to providing excellent customer service improved as employees took pride in their ownership stake

Unilever’s Long-Term Incentive Plan (LTIP)

Unilever (Anglo-Dutch multinational consumer goods company)

Key features
  • Unilever’s LTIP is a performance-based stock option program for senior executives.
  • The program rewards executives with stock options based on the achievement of specific performance targets, including financial and sustainability goals.
  • The LTIP aligns executive interests with Unilever’s long-term sustainability and business objectives.
  • It has contributed to Unilever’s reputation as a leader in corporate sustainability and responsible business practices.

SAP’s Global Stock Option Program

SAP SE (German multinational software corporation)

Key features
  • SAP offers a Global Stock Option Program to employees around the world.
  • The program includes stock options and restricted stock units (RSUs) as part of employees’ compensation packages.
  • SAP’s ESOP has been instrumental in attracting and retaining top talent in the highly competitive tech industry.
  • It has encouraged employee innovation and a commitment to SAP’s mission of helping businesses run better.

Siemens’ Equity Participation Plan (EPP)

Siemens AG (German multinational conglomerate)

Key features
  • Siemens’ EPP allows eligible employees to purchase company shares at a discount through payroll deductions.
  • The program also includes stock options and performance-based grants.
  • The EPP has helped employees build wealth and create a sense of ownership in Siemens’ success.
  • It aligns employee interests with the company’s performance and long-term growth objectives.

Vodafone’s ShareSave Scheme

Vodafone Group Plc (British multinational telecommunications company)

Key features
  • Vodafone’s ShareSave Scheme allows employees to save a portion of their salary to purchase company shares at a discounted price after a fixed savings period.
  • The program encourages long-term financial planning and participation in Vodafone’s success.
  • The ShareSave Scheme promotes financial literacy among employees and enables them to benefit from the company’s growth.
  • It fosters a sense of ownership and loyalty among Vodafone employees.

AstraZeneca’s Share Option Plans

AstraZeneca plc (British-Swedish multinational pharmaceutical company)

Key features
  • AstraZeneca offers share option plans to employees as part of their compensation.
  • The plans include various types of stock options and awards.
  • AstraZeneca’s ESOPs have played a role in attracting and retaining talent in the competitive pharmaceutical industry.
  • They have motivated employees to contribute to the company’s mission of improving global health.

Spotify’s Employee Stock Option Program

Spotify (Scaleup, music streaming platform, Swedish origin)

Key features
  • Spotify offers stock options to its employees, aligning their interests with the company’s growth and success.
  • The program includes options for employees at various levels, including engineers, product managers, and executives.
  • Spotify’s ESOP has been instrumental in attracting top tech talent and fostering innovation.
  • Employees have the opportunity to share in the company’s success as it continues to expand globally.

Revolut’s Equity Program

Revolut (Fintech Scaleup, UK-based)

Key features
  • Revolut, a digital banking and financial technology company, offers an equity program that includes stock options to employees.
  • The program aims to motivate employees and align their interests with the company’s mission of disrupting the traditional banking industry.
  • Revolut’s ESOP has helped the startup attract a highly skilled workforce and rapidly expand its services across multiple markets.
  • Employees have a sense of ownership in the company’s rapid growth and success.

TransferWise (Wise)’s Share Option Plan

TransferWise (Fintech Scaleup, UK-based)

Key features
  • TransferWise (now Wise) offers a Share Option Plan to employees, providing them with the opportunity to purchase company shares at a future date.
  • The program is designed to align employee interests with the company’s mission of making international money transfers more transparent and affordable.
  • The Share Option Plan has contributed to Wise’s reputation as a fintech unicorn and a disruptor in the financial services industry.
  • Employees are motivated to help the company achieve its vision and benefit from its growth

Bolt’s Equity Incentive Program

Bolt (Estonian-based ride-hailing and delivery Scaleup)

Key features
  • Bolt offers an Equity Incentive Program, including stock options, to its employees.
  • The program is designed to reward and retain talent while aligning with the company’s mission to make urban transportation more efficient.
  • Bolt’s ESOP has been instrumental in expanding the company’s global footprint and attracting employees who are passionate about the shared mobility sector.
  • Employees have a stake in the company’s growth and success.

Adyen’s Stock Option Plan

Adyen (Dutch-based payment technology Scaleup)

Key features
  • Adyen’s Stock Option Plan allows employees to become shareholders and benefit from the company’s growth in the fintech and payment processing industry.
  • The program reflects Adyen’s commitment to innovation and excellence in payments.
  • Adyen’s ESOP has contributed to its rapid rise as a fintech leader and global payment platform.
  • Employees are motivated to deliver exceptional results and share in the company’s achievements.