2017 Report on Trends for Incentives and Employee Recognition
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  • This year we will see a lot of increase in the budget for incentives and a higher concentration on creating experiential and exceptional rewards for employees, as per the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF)’s “2016 Trends in Incentive Travel, Rewards, and Recognition” report. 

    Drawing on its internal analysis, intensive interviews, input from many trade members, and additional coverage from trade publications, IRF isolated a few general trends like luxury gift cards and merchandise, authentic and unique experiences, integrating the latest technologies.

    “This study reinforces that we live in a time of extraordinary personalization,” according to IRF President Melissa Van Dyke. “Every business needs to keep up with a fast pace and deliver on its brand promise if it wants to retain the best people — and keep them happy, productive, and motivated.”

    Industry Insights Reviewed

    • 69% of employees who did not receive some incentive or recognition for their performance said “no” when asked if they feel motivated for their jobs in 2015. On the other hand, 82% of employees said “yes” they feel motivated and received recognition and rewards for their excellent performance.
    • When the rewarded employees were asked about their experience, 38% said they felt “valued,” and 26% said motivated. Their productivity and performance were also better than the employees who didn’t receive some form of incentive.
    • 75% of employees in a survey reported that they would be more likely to continue working with companies that offer holistic incentive programs like healthcare, the latest technologies, paid parental leaves, recognition, and appreciation for a job well done, etc. An exceptional incentive program has the potential to guarantee that your employees stay productive and motivated.
    • A 5% increase in employee incentive budget will guarantee a lifetime of productive employees and a significant return on investments.

    Programs that will motivate you to kick-start your incentive implementation:

    With NextBee’s team of experts on your side, you will be able to:

    • Define and optimize recognition awards, offers, rewards, and job promotions, which will match your employees; and lead your program to success.
    • Design a one-stop mobile app to connect and communicate with all your employees to keep them motivated, engaged, and satisfied. 37% of employees reported having a better job life and increased engagement by introducing mobile applications by the firms.
    • With our tools, you can use social media to enhance your firm’s rewards program and incorporate gamification and embrace new technologies that are expected to be more critical than ever for incentive strategy.
    • Automation also plays a vital role in keeping employees satisfied and productive by reducing paperwork by hand and moving towards an online automated process.

    Aims to fulfill in 2017

    • Design more mobile-centric incentive and rewards programs’ strategies, as employees these days prefer using mobile devices.
    • Increasing employee productivity and satisfaction, creating a lasting motivation to serve, and creating more wellness programs to make your employees feel cared for.
    • Developing and integrating more unique rewards and recognition strategies is also crucial to keep employees engaged, motivated, and increasing their overall productivity.

    Challenges to overcome

    The key to success will be guaranteeing the quantum and targets associated with the incentive programs. The incentives themselves must be of a significant amount and size and with enough potential to help attract employees’ attention. 

    Appropriately designed performance targets would also be of value considering that performances and rewards are linked adequately through which shareholders can get returns from the incentive program. 

    Incentive programs can cause complications wherever these fundamental problems are not adequately evaluated. However, with appropriate structuring, they can give a simple fastening for employees and ultimately generate a more considerable overall equity value for business owners.


    Research indicates that a broad-based incentive plan can be used to encourage each employee’s level of productivity and performance.

    When incorporating an incentive strategy, several parameters guarantee the plan’s success. However, it is essential to notice that incentive plans cannot ensure employee productivity by themselves. Additional to these plans, effective human resource practices are also necessary to build a healthy working environment. 

    These comprise determining the appropriate rewards, instituting comprehensive performance management systems. With effective communication, and buy-in from top management to support the plan of compensation. 

    Over the past decade, variable pay has become the standard as corporations reward good performances and lower overhead prices. This trend is likely to continue in the coming years.


    1. “IRF 2016 Trends in Incentive Travel, Rewards, and Recognition.” IRF 2016 Trends in Incentive Travel, Rewards, and Recognition | Research | The Incentive Research Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Feb. 2017.
    2. “The Rewards Report, 2016.” The Rewards Report 2016 | Reward and Employee Benefits Association. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Feb. 2017.
    3. “Effective Employee Incentive Plans: Features and Implementation Processes.” Cornell HR Review RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Feb. 2017.

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