Incentive program reward preferences are put under the microscope in a just-released new review from The Incentive Research Foundation (IRF).
The review, Reward Preferences: Making a Lasting Impression on Incentive Program Participants, examines which rewards employees prefer the most, which rewards employers use most frequently, and which rewards most closely correlate to motivation. In doing so, it provides information necessary for selecting and presenting rewards that will increase motivation and make a lasting impact on employees.
“Reward Preferences reports which rewards employees say they want, and then examines which rewards correlate to motivation. There are some surprising differences between these two lists,” said Stephanie Harris, president, IRF. “Well designed incentive programs factor in both employee preferences as well as the impact of the reward on motivation and engagement.”
The IRF surveyed 1,500 US-based full-time employees representing a cross-section of industries. Key findings and insights included:
- While employees expressed a strong preference for cash bonuses, this reward did not highly correlate to motivation or job satisfaction.
- “Having your employer send a token of appreciation sent to your spouse or family members” was ranked fourteenth in reward preferences, but it was the second highest reward on the motivation ratings.
- Employees who are most satisfied with their jobs are fifteen times more likely to recommend the company to prospective employees as a place to work.
The study also addresses the effects of the pandemic on employee preferences:
- Only 16 percent indicated their reward and recognition preferences had changed since the pandemic.
- Interest in incentive travel still high since pandemic. The net decrease in interest in travel experiences that involved flying was less than one percent.
- Those whose hours have been increased expressed a desire for increased compensation, including direct cash bonuses, gift cards, and merchandise.
To read or download the full study, visit the Reward Preferences: Making a Lasting Impression on Incentive Program Participants webpage.