HRO Today March 2017 - 53

Employee Recognition
on award points, merchandise, gift cards, and incentive
travel, it's not surprising that over 80 percent of these
businesses use more than one award type. Budgets for
these tools continue to grow, with the latest IRF Outlook
Study showing the average per-person spend on incentive
travel programs at $3,755 and the average per-person
spend on gift card and merchandise programs hovering
near $420 per person. Almost 40 percent of incentive
travel programs now have per-person budgets of $4,000
or more. The majority of these budget increases are
going toward the rising costs of hotel rooms and food
and beverage, and sometimes toward the higher costs
of longer flights. A net 35 percent of programs with
larger gift card and merchandise budgets in 2017 will be
investing in areas such as more award earners and better
technology for their programs.
4. Get social. The vast majority of reward and recognition
programs now use some form of new technology. There
are also multiple indicators to show this technology has
a strong social edge. As organizations discover more
and more economic value in social sharing technologies,
reward and recognition programs are following suit.
According to the most recent IRF Outlook Study, over 60
percent of program owners now use social media before,
during, or after their program. Social recognition, or the
juxtaposition of technology-enabled internal networking
sites and peer-to-peer recognition schemes, is now part of
almost 40 percent of reward and recognition programs.
Accordingly, the value and benefits of social recognition
are becoming key elements of reward and recognition
business case discussions.
5. Individualize and personalize. Engaging the diverse
perspectives of three or four different generations in the
workforce is a core challenge for HR executives. Yet as
the IRF's Generations in the Workforce & Marketplace:
Preferences in Rewards, Recognition & Incentives study
found, concentrating on broadly defined cohorts versus
the individual employee drains reward and recognition
efforts of their impact. Simple interest-focused
questionnaires; personalized blast emails; award catalogs
with customized views; specialized merchandise selection
areas for award earners; and the increased inclusion of
unique " experiential rewards " such as spa days, concert
tickets, expensive dinners, sporting events, non-cash
reward and recognition programs all offer a strong
opportunity to forgo the less engaging macro view for
the more impactful micro focus. Likewise, to enable a
broader range of large and small experiences, many
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HRO TODAY MAGAZINE
| MARCH 2017
organizations now split their budgets between individual
and group incentive travel, with a quarter of program
owners increasing their individual travel offering in 2017,
according to IRF research.
6. Be predictive. As more organizations grapple with
the bane and promise of big data, they often overlook
its implications for reward and recognition programs.
However, the intersection of big data and engagement
programs holds immense promise for the future of HR
analytics. Where reward and recognition programs
maintain scores of real-time behavioral data on the current
workforce there lies enormous potential to use predicative
analytic tools such as classification and regression models
to determine how changes in this data will impact key
performance indicators. With the right partners and tools,
inputs from employee files, attendee responses, and
business results can now all be analyzed to help solve real
problems such as detecting fraud in programs, enhancing
the reach and impact of program communications, or
predicting how various changes in a program may impact
the bottom line.
7. Think global. Top-performer incentive travel programs
have long been international, with over three-quarters
of incentive travel program owners running at least one
program outside U.S. borders in 2017. With the continued
global expansion of U.S. business operations, however,
globalization now influences all reward and recognition
program types-merchandise and gift card programs
included. According to the IRF's latest Outlook Study,
three-quarters of the programs now include participants
outside the U.S. in their non-cash rewards programs. More
than half of corporate program owners said they have
international participants in their programs, with Canada,
Mexico, and Europe as the most predominantly included
areas.
Modern compensation systems are not designed to reward
and recognize the full breadth of activities in which the
modern worker is engaged. As CHROs expand their reward
and recognition budgets, so must they expand their focus
on rewarding non-core job roles, unlocking the promise
of predictive analytics, creating a social and personalized
reward experience, and staying attuned to global and
regulatory needs.
Melissa Van Dyke is president of The Incentive Research Foundation.

HRO Today March 2017

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of HRO Today March 2017

HRO Today March 2017 - 1
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