IRF Study Reveals High Awareness, Low Knowledge Of Non-Cash Reward Regulations

In a study just released from the Incentive Research Foundation, respondents indicated they were highly aware of regulatory and tax codes, but are less knowledgeable about how to comply with them. Many program owners reported that they find regulations unclear and challenging to accommodate, but are making numerous changes to their programs in an effort to comply.

The study, U.S. Federal Regulations and Non-Cash Awards, examines program owners’ understanding of the regulatory environment and discusses how they are adjusting their programs to accommodate these regulations. It was supported by IRF Research Advocacy Partner MotivAction.

“Most program owners understand their reward and recognition activities are impacted by the regulatory environment, but struggle with the detailed implications,” says Melissa Van Dyke, IRF president. “Not surprisingly, over half of U.S. businesses have increased the dollars invested into programs to accommodate changes and close to half have increased staff support. We anticipate more and more resources will continue to be dedicated to understanding and accommodating regulatory requirements for non-cash awards programs, especially as these regulations themselves continue their refinement.”
The survey was executed this past summer to a cross-section of 419 businesses, 106 of which operate in the financial services sector. Program owners were targeted based on sector and revenue size.
Key survey findings include:

  • Most program owners (67 percent) are aware there are regulatory considerations for their programs
  • For the smallest businesses surveyed, awareness drops to 57 percent
  • Only 38 percent of program owners consider themselves very knowledgeable about regulations and tax requirements
  • Fewer than two-thirds of U.S. businesses have formal compliance mechanisms to address these requirements
  • Mid-sized firms find it most challenging to remain compliant
  • 86 percent of U.S. businesses make some revision to their rewards program on an annual basis
  • Half of U.S. businesses made eight or more changes to program design based on the regulatory environment in 2017
  • The most common design revisions are to general program design (87 percent of businesses) or program communications (85 percent)

View or download a copy of U.S. Federal Regulations And Non-Cash Awards and supporting materials here.

filed under January 2018
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