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Stock options aid in staff retention

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Many executives are finding that it pays to give employees a personal stake in the company, particularly in today's high-employment climate, according to a recent survey. Eighty-five percent of respondents said that stock options are a valuable tool in attracting and retaining workers at all levels, stated a news release from Robert Half International Inc.

This represents a 5 percentage point increase from 1991 when, in a similar survey, 80 percent of executives said such programs were important, the release said.

The survey was developed by Robert Half International, the world's first and largest staffing services firm specializing in the accounting, finance and information technology fields. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from 150 executives with the nation's 1,000 largest companies.

Executives were asked: "How important are stock options in attracting and retaining American workers at all levels of a company?"

"Stock option plans provide employees with a unique, no-risk opportunity to build wealth and financial security over the long term," said Lynn Taylor, vice president and director of research at Robert Half International, in the release.

"Whether a company is public or is anticipating an initial public offering, the opportunity for employees to become shareholders offers them an incentive to act as owners of the company and reap the rewards of their collective successes."

Taylor added, "Variable compensation, such as stock options and performance-based pay, encourages top performers to remain with a company and help shape its future direction."

INSET CHART:

Their responses:

1998 1991

Very important 37% 23%

Somewhat important 48% 57%

Somewhat unimportant 11% 12%

Not at all important 3% 7%

Don't know/no answer 1% 1%

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