Kindred Group Launches Employee Share Plan

The owners of 32Red and Unibet have launched an employee share incentive plan. Kindred Group believes the move will help them to retain talent and reduce churn.

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Kindred Launches Employee Share Plan © Pixabay.

The Kindred Group has decided to move away from cash bonuses for employees by introducing a share plan. Employees will be given shares in the company based on the company’s Annual Evaluation Standards and Procedures (AESP) results.

All employees will be enrolled on the compulsory scheme, except for Kindred’s executive team, many of which will already have performance-related bonuses included.

Shares will be based on the operators Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization (EBITDA) results, a measure used to assess a company’s financial standing. The number of shares awarded will be on a slide-rule basis, with stretch targets meaning more shares for the employees.

The company previously ran an AESP in 2017, and shares held in that plan rose by 70% during that time. Kindred Group chief human resources officer Gavin Hayward said the rationale behind launching the plan was to boost engagement with the workforce, with the bonus of reducing staff churn rates. He said: We prefer that approach to a cash bonus. With those sorts of bonuses, you tend to see a drop off in employees after the bonus is awarded, because people will wait for the bonus and then start looking for another job.

“A share incentive scheme is obviously geared to retention of these employees through engagement. In our previous scheme, more than 75% of our employees who were awarded shares have retained them, so they will now get dividends on that investment,” Hayward added.

The company have also announced that they aim to “reinvent the sports sponsorship model”. In a blog post on Kindred’s corporate website, UK General Manager Neil Banbury outlined the company’s approach to sponsorship and men’s mental health issues.

Announcing the renewal of the sponsorship of SPFL Champions Rangers, Banbury said:” That is why as part of the extended agreement with Rangers, we will be renewing our support for the vital men’s mental health initiative, Team Talk – a programme that Rangers’ Manager Steven Gerrard recently attended and said how abundantly clear it was to him how much of a support network Team Talk provides to the Rangers community.”

“There has been a lot of coverage about the industry and its relationship with football and sport in the UK – some of which is a little unfair. Many football fans, in particular, understand the role that responsible betting and gaming companies play in supporting the sport – and that betting and football has a natural relationship, with millions enjoying a flutter on the sport they love.”

Banbury did however, acknowledge concerns about the deal, adding, “but it is also clear that there is, perhaps, too much involvement from betting.”

He continued: “A greater commitment to ensuring sponsorship benefits clubs and communities – as well as promoting safer gambling behaviour – should sit at the heart of all licensed, UK-focused operators’ approach to sponsorship.” “We have taken great strides at Kindred to do that. This season, we became the first brand in the UK to feature responsible gambling messages on all of our shirt sponsorships, and we dedicate over 30% of all of our assets in football to safer gambling messaging. Combined with our approach to community investment, we believe this higher bar of sponsorship is the way forward in the UK.”

Banbury also highlighted the fact that Kindred was committed to reaching 0 per cent of their revenue obtained from customers who have gambling issues. You can hear Banbury talking about Kindred’s commitment on this issue via the talkSPORT website.

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