There are subtle but very real differences between what people think they want from incentives and what actually motivates them. Here is evidence from the latest IRF (Incentive Research Foundation) report.
Reward Preferences: Making a Lasting Impression on Incentive Program Participants demonstrates how rewards can increase motivation and make a lasting impact on employees. Follow the link for the full report from IRF.
The study examines which rewards employees prefer the most, which rewards employers use most frequently, and which rewards most closely correlate to motivation.
The IRF surveyed 1,500 US-based full-time employees representing a cross-section of industries. Key findings and insights included:
- While employees expressed a strong preference for cash bonuses, this reward did not highly correlate to motivation or job satisfaction.
- “Having your employer send a token of appreciation sent to your spouse or family members” was ranked fourteenth in reward preferences, but it was the second highest reward on the motivation ratings.
- Employees who are most satisfied with their jobs are fifteen times more likely to recommend the company to prospective employees as a place to work.
The study also addresses the effects of the pandemic on employee preferences:
- Only 16% indicated their reward and recognition preferences had changed since the pandemic.
- Interest in incentive travel still high since pandemic. The net decrease in interest in travel experiences that involved flying was less than 1%.
- Those whose hours have been increased expressed a desire for increased compensation, including direct cash bonuses, gift cards, and merchandise.
Planning travel incentives
The findings of the IRF survey reflect our conviction that using incentives to boost performance is vitally important. In difficult trading times, every business must strive for an extra competitive edge.
Travel is the ultimate incentive and Covid-19 restrictions have reminded people of its appeal. NOW is time to start planning and dreaming of the possibilities. The prospect of vaccines is much closer. It is not unrealistic to imagine your top performers enjoying exotic destinations in 2021 while celebrating their achievements.