New Survey Looks at How U.K. Firms Use Incentive Rewards

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Incentive Research Foundation report finds that 81% of United Kingdom companies offer non-cash recognition to employees.

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The good news is that corporate stakeholders in the U.K. believe in rewards & recognition as effective engagement, retention and recruitment tools.

A new survey of companies in the United Kingdom reveals that a majority offer non-cash rewards & recognition to employees (81%), salespeople (72%), distributors/channel partners (57%), and customers (63%).

The online study, jointly sponsored by the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) and the Intellective Group, examined the rewards & recognition practices of 100 U.K.-based organizations. It considered employee and sales programs, influence, spend, rewards, anticipated changes and other key indicators. Results were weighted to reflect the actual proportion of U.K. companies by annual revenue size.

Overall, the survey found that U.K. companies leverage non-cash employee and sales reward and recognition programs to promote desired behaviors—and reported growth and increased investments relative to these programs. The majority currently offer group and individual incentive travel, while half offer merchandise and many offer prepaid and digital rewards. Most companies work with incentive industry suppliers in some capacity; however, many respondents are unaware of industry associations that provide thought leadership.

The survey revealed that 49% of U.K. companies integrate their incentive campaigns with customer management systems (CMS), as well as employ social media (39%), corporate social responsibility (CSR) (33%), and gaming (21%) as enhancements.

“The good news is that corporate stakeholders in the U.K. believe in rewards & recognition as effective engagement, retention and recruitment tools,” says IRF President Melissa Van Dyke. “We hope to be able to reach out to the nearly half of rewards & recognition program buyers who we found are unaware there are industry associations specifically for incentive-related data and information—to help them understand the breadth of research available.”

Here’s a more in-depth, statistical look at some of the findings:

  •     The most popular objectives of rewards & recognition campaigns in the U.K. are improving productivity (49%), improving morale (39%), and promoting innovation (35%).
  •     Nearly 60% of U.K. companies offer incentive travel awards, and 52% offer merchandise awards.
  •     In the coming year, the vast majority (79%) of U.K. companies will choose European destinations for their incentive travel programs. North America ranked second with 31%, and the Middle East and Asia were tied for third at 17%.
  •     Just over 50% of U.K. companies offer merchandise awards, and 48% have per-person budgets of £999 or less.
  •     Nearly four in ten (37%) U.K. companies offer digital awards, and 52% have per-person merchandise budgets of £999 or less.
  •     In the coming year, 49% of U.K. firms plan to increase their use of debit/prepaid gift cards, and 29% say they will increase their merchandise selection.
  •     The majority (85%) of U.K. companies work with incentive industry suppliers in some capacity.

To view/download a copy of the full study, please visit:

About the IRF:
The Incentive Research Foundation ( funds and promotes research to advance the science and enhance the awareness and appropriate application of motivation and incentives in business and industry globally. The goal is to increase the understanding, effective use, and resultant benefits of incentives to businesses that currently use incentives and others interested in improved performance.

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