IRF Releases Study on Valuing and Measuring Incentive, Reward and Recognition Programs

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With incentive, reward and recognition (IRR) programs resulting in an average 22 percent gain in employee performance, it is generally accepted by US businesses that rewards work to promote productivity. To help business maximize the effectiveness of their IRR programs, the Incentive Research Foundation has released Award Program Value & Evidence, a summary of the advantages of non-cash rewards and an examination of how businesses are measuring the program benefits.

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Award Program Value & Evidence presents a strong case for using non-cash reward programs to motivate employees and practical advice on how to measure the success of these programs to ensure goals are met.

With incentive, reward and recognition (IRR) programs resulting in an average 22 percent gain in employee performance, it is generally accepted by US businesses that rewards work to promote productivity. To help business maximize the effectiveness of their IRR programs, the Incentive Research Foundation has released Award Program Value & Evidence, a summary of the advantages of non-cash rewards and an examination of how businesses are measuring the program benefits.

“Most leaders expect their investments in incentive, reward and recognition programs to meet specific goals, such as driving more sales, increasing revenue, or producing some other return on investment,” said Melissa Van Dyke, IRF President. “Award Program Value & Evidence presents a strong case for using non-cash reward programs to motivate employees and practical advice on how to measure the success of these programs to ensure goals are met.”

Award Program Value & Evidence discusses the role of recognition in IRR initiatives and the broad benefits of cash and non-cash rewards. It then provides an overview of academic research that explains the psychology behind why non-cash rewards are so effective. Award Program Value & Evidence concludes with a discussion of the measurement of the benefits of IRR programs.

Key findings and takeaways in Award Program Value & Evidence include:

Advantages of Non-Cash Rewards

  •     People tend to make utilitarian purchases (e.g., groceries) when given a cash reward. Non-cash rewards (e.g., fun experiences, splurges) can create lasting memories and positive associations.
  •     According to “The Ikea Effect,” people put more value on tangible rewards that they have to work toward.
  •     Non-cash rewards have a “trophy value.” They are highly visible, and it is more socially acceptable to talk about merchandise or a trip than to “brag” about a cash incentive.

Measuring Incentive, Reward and Recognition Programs

  •     Clearly defined, measurable objectives are among the most important success factors in IRR programs.
  •     Metrics for tangible benefits include decreased staff turnover, increased productivity, sales, revenue, market share, gains in customer satisfaction, and customer acquisition.
  •     While more difficult to measure, metrics for intangible benefits include employee presenteeism and satisfaction.
  •     An effective ROI analysis compares the full costs of an incentive program to its gains – both tangible and intangible.

Award Program Value & Evidence was supported by IRF Research Advocacy Partner, Incentive Magazine.

To view or download a copy of the white paper, please visit: http://theirf.org/research/award-program-value-evidence-white-paper/2455/
To view or download a copy of the full study, please visit: http://theirf.org/research/award-program-value-evidence/2437/

About the IRF:
The Incentive Research Foundation (TheIRF.org) 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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Andy Schwarz
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