When it comes to employee motivation programmes, most businesses are likely to continue to emphasize the social aspects, employee retention, and specifically measurable outcomes, according to a report from the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) entitled '2014 Trends in Rewards and Recognition'. This article is copyright 2014 The Best Customer Guide.

In preparing the report IRF's researchers analysed existing proprietary research, scanned incentive industry and business publications, and sought input from industry professionals, and revealed ten key trends, among which are:

  • Talent wars and 'leadership squeeze'
    Many companies are ignoring the jobless as potential candidates and instead targeting their competitors' key employees. This makes it more important than ever to recognise and reward top performers and bind them to your company over the long term. Likewise, a shrinking leadership pipeline has left organisations struggling to develop organisational leadership capacity. In response, many firms are using existing rewards and recognition platforms to align workforce skills and link behaviour to the firm's broader business mission, as well as turning to incentive travel to bring top performers together to learn from one another and help solve key business issues.
  • Holistic motivation is hot
    The integration of social media technology into Rewards & Recognition programmes is one of the most prevalent developments in recent years, with more than one-third of programme owners incorporating gaming techniques or virtual elements. Corporate Social Responsibility also continues to be a hot topic for planners, with nearly half integrating it into their programmes. Likewise, just over 60% of programme owners say they're either reviewing making wellness part of their programmes, or have already implemented a series of changes to integrate it.
  • Expanding budgets improve programmes
    The recovering economy is having an extremely positive impact on motivation programmes. Nearly 40% of incentive travel programme owners and 42% of merchandise and gift card programme are increasing their budgets this year. programme owners are significantly more likely now to say the economy is having a positive impact than they were two years ago.
  • Connecting people to profit
    Businesses that have invested in building what some call a "ulture of appreciation" are now looking for employee engagement to translate into more immediate, recognizable and revenue-related results. This represents a key opportunity for providers of non-cash award and incentive travel programmes who can connect programmes to the direct outcomes of sales, retention, productivity, and customer satisfaction.
  • Big Data
    The opportunity to collect and analyse the massive amounts of data produced daily is being hailed as the next big opportunity for businesses of all sizes. HR departments and providers of Rewards & Recognition programmes that can capture, translate and integrate this data to more effectively support the company's desired outcomes will be better able to position themselves to outperform the competition.