by Lisa A. Grimaldi | January 26, 2016

The Incentive Research Foundation has released a list of 10 trends that will affect organizations, their products and services, and the workforce in the coming year. The findings are based on recent studies the IRF has conducted: the 2015 Pulse Study and the Participant Study, as well as several other key reports. 

Among the trends identified:

• There's a need to engage all generations and the changing talent pool in order to retain employees. 

• Incentives are seeing increased budgets, but also the involvement of procurement departments. 

• Lead times have increased and programs have changed according to security concerns. 

• Merchandise and gift card programs are growing, especially in the luxury sector. 

• Programs are increasing the use of technology. 

• Social media is increasing participant engagement. 

• Authentic and unique experiences are more popular in travel programs. 

• Participants prefer rewards over cash. 

• How awards are presented matters to participants.

• Variables including participants' generation, life stage, past work experiences, and current work environment should be taken into account for rewards and recognition. 

Full details on each trend, as well as IRF-recommended takeaways, can be found here.