Non-cash Recognition, Incentives and Rewards

Incentives and Rewards Best Practices

The Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) recently published findings from an annual study which examined and compared non-cash recognition and reward approaches among top performing firms in the manufacturing, financial services, and technology sectors.

IRF found that 100% of the respondents indicate their companies use non-cash incentives, beyond compensation, to a mix of salespersons, partners, and employees to motivate behavior. The goal of the study was to determine best practices which distinguish top performing companies from others.

Companies were designated as “top performing” from a national cross-section of respondents from firms earning at least $100 million in revenue, in addition to other criteria.

For example, to qualify as “top performing,” a firm had to report strong overall performance, which included financial growth of more that 5% in revenue. Strong performance with customers and with employees was also a requirement, and reputation as a highly desirable place to work was also considered.

There is still a large gap between Top Performers and Comparators, but both groups have grown in the percentage who say executives are strong supporters of reward and recognition as a competitive advantage. This growth is not insignificant – Top Performers from 80% to 94% and Comparators from 44% to 65%

Another key finding is the percentage of Comparators who design programs with strong collaboration across multiple departments.  For Comparators, this increased from 51% to 65%. Top Performers maintained an already strong majority at 78%.

Of all the measured increases from the previous year, participation among Top Performers was the highest, with the percentage describing participation as “excellent” increasing from 34% to 45%. Additionally, manager buy-in also increased significantly for Top Performers, from 42% last year to 64%.

Overall, Top Performers have a higher percentage of recognition program structures over Comparators. During the current global pandemic, companies that have invested in strong recognition and reward initiatives are finding them to be vitally important to relationships with customers and employees. In the coming months, these programs will enhance efforts to maintain and strengthen those relationships even more. To review the entire IRF study, download it here.  The IRF also produced an infographic of the study, available here.

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