Incentive Strategies Change with a Changing Business World

by: Nichole Gunn April 27, 2011

The business world has changed over the last several years. The recession brought about a number of changes, and the recovery and new technology are bringing about even more. Business leaders are brainstorming on motivation and reward strategies for the new-age employees and clients, technology is moving onward and upward at record speeds, and government regulations are continually changing, all making for an evolving workplace.

To give managers of incentive programs some insight into the new trends, Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) created the “Top 11 Incentive Trends for 2011." The new report is based on prior research, business and incentive industry publications, and information from the business top tier.

IRF President Melissa Van Dyke explains, “In the emerging economy, non-cash compensation will play an increasingly vital role for most firms. However, like any corporate resource, it needs to be invested wisely and managed properly.” She adds, “Our findings are intended to give planners the perspective they need to gauge options, make decisions, and build a better business case in a changing industry.”

The results of the IRF survey demonstrate which forms of non-cash rewards and other sales incentives are being utilized by managers. But, fueled by cautious optimism, companies need to plan ahead for various “economic possibilities.” Any type of detrimental data can produce fear that can put a stop to potential investment plans.

The study also found that 60 percent of the participants are adjusting to “a new lower level of activity.” This adjustment is preventing overreaction. Instead of reducing or dissolving initiatives, the companies are reevaluating business models to explore effective and cost-effective employee rewards programs.

Along with this, the keyword "employee engagement" was Goolge searched 10 times more in India than in the United States, five times higher in Singapore, and four times higher in South Africa. This is evidence of the incentive industry market peaking abroad, and includes wellness and travel incentives in both the business and government arenas.

Another factor to be noted is “social influencers” in the incentive market. Conservation and environmentalism, or ‘green,’ consumerism, along with a greater awareness of health issues are motivating businesses to create “green” support initiatives.

Towers Watson conducted a recent study that demonstrated ‘corporate social responsibility’ is the third most motivating form of employee engagement. Statistics from the study found that 66 percent of workers perceive it to be a desirable feature.

While there are a number of incentive strategies that can be utilized to effectively motivate employee satisfaction and engagement, the primary action needed is to actually initiate at least one program. Incentive programs have been proven to boost a company’s status, within the workplace and without.


About Nichole Gunn

Nichole Gunn is the VP of Marketing at Incentive Solutions, an Atlanta-based incentive company that delivers advanced, agile B2B customer loyalty and channel sales incentives programs.