The Incentive Research Federation (IRF) has released results of its analysis of the non-cash rewards strategies and tactics of financial services companies. “What Top Performing Financial Services Companies Do Differently for Incentives and Rewards,” based on analysis from its 2020 IRF Top Performer Study, identifies benchmarks and best practices to help financial services companies design effective non-cash rewards programs.

“Disruptions from COVID-19 have had a tremendous impact on the operations, customer base and workforce of financial services institutions,” says Stephanie Harris, IRF president. “As financial services companies adapt, What Top Performing Financial Services Firms Do Differently for Incentives and Rewards shows how the effective use of incentive programs can help motivate performance, drive recovery and ultimately gain a competitive advantage.”

The study summarizes findings from data collected across multiple financial services firms and compares the results of top-performing financial services firms to those of their average-performing counterparts. It found that executives at top-performing financial services firms regard their reward and recognition programs as a competitive advantage—92 percent in 2020, up from 76 percent in 2019—and that they prioritized flexibility and relevancy of rewards for both tangible rewards and incentive trips. The study shows top performers were more likely to award incentive trips based on automatic selection, and the use of gift cards and group incentive trips increased for top performers and comparators.

The full study and white paper are available here.