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The Future’s Bright - Incentive Programs to Address Workforce Changes


We all know it’s been hard, and businesses have to remodel to address changing market conditions. Into 2022, companies are still navigating supply chain disruptions, workforce challenges and new ways of working. These challenges bring employee uncertainty and motivation concerns… plus people are shifting their working demands, wanting flexibility and balance as the new norm.  Collectively these increase focus for the need to successfully engage, motivate, care, recruit and retain throughout the workforce: remote workers, flexed office/home workers, channel reseller and partner teams.

The good news is that many brands have realized the importance of addressing these workforce challenges and are altering and planning business models with incentive initiatives at the very heart!  According to The Incentive Research Foundation overall incentive budgets are expected to increase by 34% in 2022.  In fact they have just released a signature study: The IRF 2022 Trends Report indicating the top trends for incentive activity in 2022. 

These include:

Expanding Participant Reach:  As companies strive to retain and hire talent, incentive programs are expanding their reach to motivate the maximum number of employees and partners - with focus on the future (post-pandemic) and building collaborative goals.

Remote Workforce Engagement: With remote and indirect workforces, fostering a feeling of connectedness is highly important.  Designed programs that link employee (direct and partners) decisions, behaviors, and actions to company recovery strategies are a priority for many. Brands are looking to leverage points platforms, choice of merchandise, creative gifting experiences, gift cards, and individual or family experiences and travel.

Incentive Travel Motivation: Interestingly, incentive group travel will continue to remain a top motivator, despite the many challenges presented by Covid. Incentive program owners and participants are willing to navigate uncertainty, travel restrictions, testing, and shifting protocols for an incentive trip: with 80% of survey respondents considering travel awards ‘extremely motivating’ and ‘irreplaceable’ by virtual events or cash.

Heightened Personalization:  Incentive program personalization has been trending over the past few years, but there is now an increased need for customizing the incentive experience in 2022. Individual preferences need to be addressed for the remote workforce, employees returning to the office, channel team support and motivation. Automation will be key in personalization endeavors.

“Incentive programs have never been more important, as this IRF Trends Report details. These valuable insights can help every company improve their employee engagement and talent acquisition, through more considered incentive program design.” – David Gould, Managing Director, Europe at 360insights.

Want to see the full report? Visit The IRF 2022 Trends Report here.

At 360insights, we have conversations every day with organizations wanting to both implement new and/or remodel their incentive plans to address market shifting and future needs.  Learn more about how to address today’s and tomorrow’s workforce with engaging, personalized and connected incentives.