Author: Mike Sullivan

Mike has more than 15 years of experience designing and implementing incentive and recognition programs. He specializes in employee recognition and multi-step channel sales incentive programs. When not tending to his clients’ needs, Mike can be found wetting a line on a local waterway or traversing a hiking trail with his wife Michelle.

Incentive Travel, Reward and Recognition Trends

IRF Incentive Reward Recognition TrendsThe Incentive Research Foundation recently released their 2017 Trends Study, which was developed through collaboration by the IRF’s Board of Trustees and advisors.  The study lists 10 important trends for incentive travel, reward, and recognition programs in 2017.  Below are some of those findings along with my observations and comments.

The Increasing Demand for Non-Cash Rewards and Recognition:

There has been a dramatic shift in companies utilizing non-cash rewards from 26% in 1996 to 84% in 2016.  Several reasons for this change are cited in the study including an indication that there is a positive correlation between employee engagement and stock price increases for the sponsor company.  One way to help increase employee engagement in a measurable and sustainable way is to launch an employee recognition program where the employees earn recognition in the form of points for achieving those behaviors that benefit the company’s bottom line.

Individualized Experiences and the Importance of Emotion:

There has been a shift over time from commodity-based wealth to experiential-based wealth.  There will always need to be a balance in the reward offering between physical and emotional awards, but it is important to address both to motivate all employees.  At QIC, we have been practicing this methodology for many years.  We continue to improve our merchandise selection, but we also allow participants to choose their own experiences whether they be custom-made golf clubs, a family trip of a lifetime or front-row tickets to their favorite performer, all the participant needs to do is submit a request and our concierge team will take care of the rest!

Evolving Design of Reward and Recognition Programs

Less than two decades ago, The Incentive Federation recognized four different types of incentive and recognition programs.  Safety, service, sales and quality.  Today, there are 9 different types of sales incentive programs alone.  One fact stood out to me in this section of the study.  81% of businesses now use more than one type of non-cash reward to recognize their employees, channel partners, sales team and customers.  At QIC, our clients can utilize their own branded currency to award all of these groups and in most cases can do this utilizing one platform which greatly reduces the administrative burden on the client.

Please contact the QIC Business Development Team if you would like to discuss further.

Participant Experience: Survey Says …

Our web-based incentive points platform features many modules designed to enhance the participant experience.  Our clients use these to ensure participant engagement and maximize the benefit of their sales incentive or employee recognition programs.  Whether it is the utilization of graphic goal trackers for a sales incentive program or the utilization of badges for “shout-outs”… Read more »

Millennials – Mobility Agility?

I recently attended my younger brother’s wedding, and while there had an opportunity to sit back and do some serious people watching.  From my vantage point, I had a pretty good view of my parents’ table, which were mostly Baby Boomers and my brother’s table which were mainly Millennials. I was able to observe behaviors… Read more »

Shh! It’s a Secret

This article describes a secret loyalty program for Chick-Fil-A where customers are invited to participate and gain access to unique reward items such as free food and special tours.  What makes this loyalty program special is not all Chick-Fil-A customers are invited to participate.  They are made to feel like they are gaining access to… Read more »

Effective Sales Training

I recently read an article entitled How Effective Was That Sales Training which described a strategy of replacing metrics-based sales training with a program of post-training communication between the sales team.  While I agree with the author’s opinion that the post-training communication between the sales team is important, I believe the metrics-based sales training can be… Read more »