Isobel Evans is a director in human capital at EY.
Why did you enter your current profession?
It is intellectually rewarding and I feel that I can directly impact and benefit all employees across an organisation from key executives to broad-based employees. As an employee share schemes solicitor, I advise a diverse range of clients both in the UK and globally on a broad spectrum of share scheme and related remuneration matters, ranging from ongoing operational guidance to transactional assistance.
What are the best features of your job?
The people! Working at EY offers the opportunity to work alongside clients and colleagues who demonstrate entrepreneurial spirit in tackling some of the most complex, critical and rewarding challenges for our clients. We have employees from a huge variety of backgrounds who work together to create a more flexible, more inclusive, globally connected working culture.
In what ways does employee share ownership serve a useful purpose?
Employee share schemes can align the interests of employees and shareholders, aid employee retention and encourage broader share ownership. As part of the EY 2014 Global Share Plan Survey, when asked the main drivers for implementing a global share plan, 83 percent of respondents cited the fact that share plans promote corporate identity and encourage share ownership.
How can we widen and deepen the adoption and use of employee share ownership?
In my experience, increased communication of employee share plans (both in terms of frequency and methods) typically leads to higher participation rates. In addition, more and more companies are thinking of innovative ways to combine their all-employee share plans with other benefits they offer whether that is through salary sacrifice or alongside organisation-specific services/products.
What is the greatest obstacle to wider and deeper employee share ownership?
I think employee share ownership arrangements could benefit from greater simplicity and flexibility to adapt to the changing needs of today’s workforce. In addition, more financial guidance is needed at work to support employees and help improve their financial well-being.
What has been the most important development in employee share ownership during your career?
Friends and family finally understanding what I do as a result of the banking crisis and shareholder spring putting executive remuneration and employee incentive arrangements on the front page of the newspapers!
In terms of tax-favoured share plans, the OTS review of employee share schemes that attract special tax reliefs and the introduction of “self-certification”. It is still to be seen whether this will achieve the aims of encouraging take up and reducing the burdens on those that offer the schemes.
Which book has most changed your life?
Dispatches by Michael Herr – it denoted the beginning of my career in law. I received a signed copy as my leaving present when I left my editorial job at Picador to return to law school.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Not an achievement, more of an ongoing involvement. I’m an active supporter of the promotion of gender equality and women’s rights at work, at home and in public life through organisations such as the Fawcett Society, the 30% Club and initiatives such as the Part-time Power List.
Which living person would you most like to meet?
Kieran Hebden (Four Tet) – although, I’m not sure what I’d say to him other than, “I love your music”.
Do you have a favourite sport?
The summer months are a great time of the year for watching tennis and cycling with the French Open, Wimbledon and Tour de France…
How do you relax?
My daily commute (no really) – I use the time to read.