Trends in Incentive, Rewards & Recognition Programs for 2020


The Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) recently published their Trends report for 2020. The trends in incentive, rewards & recognition programs for 2020 include:

  • Strong support from the top. Those of us who have been designing employee programs understand that support from top management and company leaders is critical. According to IRF research, 94% of company executives consider employee reward and recognition programs to be a competitive advantage. This is a very positive trend since, according to a previous study, The IRF found that 19% of program cancellations were due to lack of support from company leaders.
  • More program designers are measuring and reporting results. Before organizations like Gallup and The IRF were conducting studies and proving the effectiveness and return on investment of employee programs, many felt that they were “nice to have” and vaguely “improved morale”. We now know that employee reward and recognition programs deliver measurable results. As company executives demand value for every workplace initiative, more program designers are analyzing, measuring and reporting results.
  • Providing experiences. For incentive travel, unique experiences are the trend. For non-travel programs, program designers have been moving away from cash for some time. Creating or providing memorable experiences are likewise important for employee reward programs. Many manufacturers now offer events or gifting suites where participants or attendees can “shop”, try on and select their own gift. Examples include categories such as watches and jewelry, sunglasses, designer handbags, name-brand sport shoes and more.
  • Cyber security is a top priority. As incentive software becomes more sophisticated, managing risk online becomes even more critical. Program designers are collecting more and more data which helps to personalize the rewards and the experience, but also increases the risk to that employee or customer information. A trend for this year will be to commit to investing in the security of that data. Regulations, such as the European Union’s 2018 implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which went into effect in January 1, 2020, are also driving increased measures to improve data management and security.
  • Personalization is key. With increasingly sophisticated program software and participant data, program designers are finding ways to personalize reward options for program participants. Rewards that specifically appeal to the individual is more valuable and memorable. An experienced incentive professional can help to guide you through collecting the data and selecting reward experiences that will appeal to your specific audience.

Contact us today to discuss how you can capitalize on these trends to increase sales, improve performance, increase employee engagement and more!




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