IRF Reports Stability and Flexibility in Incentive Programs in Response to COVID-19

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The Incentive Research Foundation recently conducted its second “pulse survey” about the impact of COVID-19 on the incentives industry. COVID-19's Impact on Reward & Recognition reports how employee and channel reward recognition programs have changed in response to the pandemic.

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This survey demonstrates that many incentive programs are performing well due to thoughtful shifts in programs that ensure relevance to participants today and help drive faster recovery for their organization.

The Incentive Research Foundation recently conducted its second “pulse survey” about the impact of COVID-19 on the incentives industry. COVID-19's Impact on Reward & Recognition reports how employee and channel reward recognition programs have changed in response to the pandemic.

“Reward and recognition programs play a vital role in helping to maintain employees’ focus and energy during difficult times,” said Stephanie Harris, IRF President. “This survey demonstrates that many incentive programs are performing well due to thoughtful shifts in programs that ensure relevance to participants today and help drive faster recovery for their organization.”

A high level of stability for incentive programs was reported, with over 65% of respondents indicating their programs are viewed as strategically relevant by senior management – and 12.5% indicated their program is viewed as more strategically relevant now than prior to the current pandemic. Key findings in COVID-19's Impact on Reward & Recognition:

Where Programs Continue, Budgets Hold
Over half indicated that programs remained intact (53%), and budgets for these programs have largely been protected with 56% reporting no budget change.

Pivoting Priorities
Program owners have indicated they continue to adapt their programs to ensure relevancy, shifting the focus to whatever is critical within the organization – growth-oriented objectives, safety-oriented objectives, health and well-being objectives, revenue retention.

Rethinking Rewards
With travel down, there has been an increase in the use of gift cards, with 6% indicating they have added cards to their programs and nearly 20% noting increased use.

Overcoming Optics
While just over half (54%) of respondents indicated they were not concerned about the optics of operating an incentives program in a declining economy, 31% of respondents who cancelled or put their program on hold cited “perception concerns from leadership relative to economic conditions.”

To download a copy of the report, please visit the IRF’s webpage for COVID-19's Impact on Reward & Recognition.

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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