by Lisa A. Grimaldi | October 30, 2017
The Incentive Research Foundation has released "Designing for Successes: Effective Design Patterns for Employee and Sales Programs." The study, based on an analysis of recent studies and research conducted by the IRF and the Incentive Federation, highlights noteworthy design elements for effective non-cash recognition and reward programs.
 Among the key findings:
• Forty-two percent of top-performing companies offer a single incentive program, while more than half offered multiple programs designed and managed under a common purpose;
• The top objectives of employee programs are improving morale (84 percent), improving productivity (58 percent) and improving customer satisfaction (48 percent);
• The most prevalent types of awards in employee programs are gift cards (used by 71 percent of businesses), merchandise (38 percent), award points (36 percent) and travel (30 percent);
• The top objectives for sales rewards and incentive programs are increasing overall sales (80 percent), improving morale (76 percent) and improving productivity (58 percent);
• Individual (per-person) sales quotas are used by 80 percent of top-performing organizations;
• Incentive programs are most successful when they are designed to reflect and enhance the organization's corporate culture;
• More than 80 percent of U.S. firms use more than one award type. On average, businesses use more than seven types of awards for sales incentives; and
• The performance metrics most often used to evaluate the success of sales-incentive programs are dollars earned through sales (66 percent), net new customers (49 percent) and product sales determined per unit (37 percent).
"With 84 percent of all U.S. businesses now using non-cash awards, it is critical to understand how to create effective programs," said Melissa Van Dyke, president of the IRF. "'Designing for Successes: Effective Design Patterns for Employee and Sales Programs' details patterns in effective program design used by top-performing companies." 
The full study can be downloaded here.