Emerging trends for incentive programs

by | Aug 24, 2021 | Experts

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There’s no doubt that incentive programs are worthwhile for organizations. Gifting is a powerful tool that can be used as a way to help organizations reach goals and have a positive impact on more than just their bottom lines. Over the past year and a half, the ways we work and connect have evolved, and as a result, what motivates people and makes them feel appreciated has also evolved. Because of this, incentive programs should also adapt to meet people’s needs. To keep incentive programs desirable, program planners and organizers need to put themselves in their audience’s shoes: What do people want from incentive programs?

Below, our team of Gifting Experts has outlined a few trends you can implement to make your incentive program an endeavor people want to work towards and feel good about.

Make it their choice

Gifting is a universal motivator and method for showing appreciation. However, people are motivated by and often feel appreciated by different things. This is especially amplified in multigenerational audiences. For us, many clients want an incentive program that motivates and appreciates people, regardless of whether they’re onboarding or on their way to retirement. Our solution is simple: let people select a quality gift of their choice.

By inviting people to select a gift of their choice, it guarantees that people find a gift they’ll love. It also reduces the time you would otherwise spend digging through demographic data to try and find the right gift for each person. To make it even easier for you, gifts are recommended by our team of experts who monitor trends and review feedback to ensure your gifting options offer something for everyone.

In addition to monitoring emerging trends and reviewing feedback, we also keep a keen eye on what products people are redeeming. This gives us a deeper understanding of what people find motivating and rewarding. If you haven’t already, download our Redemption Trend Report. It shares year-to-date insights on the gifts people are redeeming and explores how choice increases redemption rates.

Make it responsible

For some incentive programs, people want to know they are contributing to something bigger while participating. According to an article by the IRF, “corporate social responsibility initiatives, such as giveback programs, have been an ongoing trend that is being emphasized more by organizations.” Knowing that, it’s only natural that this giveback trend would also influence incentive programs’ gifting options. Cultivate is proud to partner with companies that value giving back as much as we do and are proud to offer those brands and products to our clients. Check out this recent blog to read up on a few of our brand partners with giveback components.

Furthermore, incentive programs that offer a giveback component are not only good for the people and charities they’re helping to support, but they’re also good for companies. For starters, they can potentially attract and retain employees, motivate prospects and clients. Plus, it’s an opportunity for the company to tie incentive programs back to their own vision, mission, and values—deepening how program participants are contributing to something bigger.

Make it inclusive

More often than not, organizations tend to offer incentive programs to top-performers. Thus, incentive programs are built around this key demographic. That’s understandable, especially when you’re investing heavily in an incentive program. But what if you included mid-level performers, too? Exploring different program approaches—such as Ticket Programs—can extend your program to people who just miss the mark to qualify as a top-performer and to people who deserve it the most. An inclusive program is a great way to help more people feel appreciated and can serve as a motivational tool for future incentive programs.

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How can you guarantee that taking different approaches to your incentive program will maintain appeal? The IRF suggests surveying program participants. “What do [people] care about? You need to ask them and know that it can change throughout the year. Three or four months ago in America looked very different than it does today. Companies are really trying to reestablish the goal of their incentives because it has changed dramatically in the last 14 months. They’re trying to figure out what’s going to motivate their people.”

To deliver an exceptional program that evolves and adapts to meet people’s needs, program planners and organizers should be forward-thinking, focus on people’s preferences, and leverage factors that will make people want to participate.

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The benefits of promotional gifting

The benefits of promotional gifting

The ultimate goal of promotional gifting is to increase brand recognition, attract and retain customers, and generate exposure. However, companies can't reach any of these goals if they don't measure the effectiveness of their promotional gifts. Let's explore how gifting can go a long way for your business.

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