A Rewarding Experience

A Rewarding Experience

by Laura Bickle

The Incentive Research Foundation (IRF) held a 45-minute Zoom conversation entitled “New Approaches to Incentives, Rewards and Recognition During the Pandemic.”

After a brief introduction by IRF president Stephanie Harris and Stephen Cook, IRF board trustee and owner of Waterloo, Ont.-based Lorandus Meetings, attendees where divided into groups and sent to zoom rooms to discuss the topic. The format offered an opportunity for the exchange of ideas and perspectives from third-party planners, gift card providers, resorts and incentive houses.

While there were no designated moderators in the rooms, the groups were given number of conversation starters related to the theme to get the conversation going.

In the session Ignite attended, a moderator naturally emerged and we gleaned some interesting takeaways:

• Communication with all stakeholders is key in this new environment— don’t be afraid of over-communicating to clients and earners.

• Many programs are pivoting to merchandise and individual travel experiences, at least for the time being.

• When earners choose to defer a trip, continue to communicate with them through gifts and messages to build anticipation and reinforce their achievement.

• Clients still see value in incentive programs. Said one participant: “It’s not like the last recession where corporations walked away from reward and recognition programs.”

• Gift cards are being used heavily, with a trend toward the more practical, such as cash cards and food delivery services.

• Customization is key: The pandemic is effecting every individual and corporation differently.

• Earning rules have changed for many programs: the goals set before the pandemic are simply not realistic for many sectors.

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