New IRF study explores motivating decentralized workforce

i By September 24, 2022 No Comments

The latest study from the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) takes a deep dive into the challenges and solutions for motivating today’s decentralized workforce.

Decentralized Workforce: Fundamental Drivers & Engagement in the New Workplace explores the fundamental drivers of employee performance in the current work environment and the impact of hybrid workforces on culture. Based on in-depth interviews with incentive industry professionals, the study provides recommendations on using incentives, recognition, and engagement programs as drivers of employee experience.

“The new decentralized workforce comes with new expectations, new drivers of performance, and new considerations for the structure and delivery of engagement programs to inspire employee performance and loyalty,” commented Stephanie Harris, president, IRF. “The industry professionals who participated in this study offer keen insights to the changes, challenges, and solutions for motivating the changing workforce.”

A companion study to The Role of Incentives In Today’s Decentralized Workforce (IRF, May 2022), Decentralized Workforce: Fundamental Drivers & Engagement in the New Workplace reports on employee expectations, manager mindset, and how good recognition and incentive program design can enhance employee engagement.

Insights provided by incentive program owners and third-party incentive professionals include:

  • “We’ve seen a big uptick in employee incentive spending with much greater use of rewards points programs than in the past. This may be for retention but it’s also for culture and if done well, to build a sense of connection among the distributed workforce.”
  • “You have to trust people. Training and incentives can help to change managers’ mindsets. In our business, people can and do work from anywhere. Incentives should be used to recognize managers who take the training and exhibit the behaviors.”
  • “People are craving the opportunity to see each other face to face. Firms are benefitting when otherwise remote workers come together, converse, and build relationships and trust.”
  • “We’re seeing a massive resurgence in group incentive travel. Our 2023 portfolio travel is already bigger than it was pre-Covid. There is huge demand.”
  • “Personalize recognition, don’t just give points. Encourage people to type in a sentence or two when you recognize your peer, explaining the reasons for the recognition. This is even more important when employees don’t see each other as much.”
  • “We had a client who wanted their employees to come back to work… They offered thank-you gifts for returning, something meaningful for each individual – they had us do a selection of gifts and merchandise across the demographics, and had us look at how to communicate more effectively with them.”

To view or download a copy of the full report, visit the Decentralized Workforce: Fundamental Drivers & Engagement in the New Workplace webpage