Study Highlights Reward, Recognition Practices Of Top-Performing Manufacturing Companies

U.S. businesses using non-cash rewards grew from 26 percent in 1996 to 84 percent in 2016, and over that same time period, the amount spent in the incentive marketplace climbed from $27 billion to $90 billion. The Incentive Research Federation (IRF) has released a report in its IRF Top Performers Study series drilling down into the manufacturing sector and what its top performers do differently in incentives and rewards. The IRF’s research was designed to objectively identify the non-cash rewards strategies and tactics used by top-performing companies, providing benchmarks and best practices for organizations.

The IRF study reports that executives at top-performing manufacturing firms reported high levels of support for their reward and recognition programs compared to executives at average-performing manufacturing firms. These same executives, the study found, were also more than twice as likely as those at average-performing manufacturing firms to regard their reward and recognition programs as a competitive advantage. Also, they were 27 percent more likely to consider reward and recognition programs to be effective recruitment tools, and they were 44 percent more likely to consider these programs as critical tools in managing company performance.

Outlining the big differences between top and average performers, the IRF notes that top performers have more control, as top-performing manufacturing firms are more than twice as likely than average performers to centralize and manage all non-cash rewards activity top-down. Also, top-performing manufacturing firms are more than twice as likely than average performers to design and manage programs with strong collaboration across multiple departments/divisions. The study found that top-performing manufacturing firms are significantly more likely (44 percent) than average performers (17 percent) to have a single reward and recognition program for the entire company, and they are three-and-a-half times more likely to structure programs with a wide reach: the goal of each participant receiving recognition or a reward. Average-performing manufacturing firms are three-and-a half-times more likely to structure their programs with the goal of recognizing top performers.

Awards points are the most-used reward type used by top-performing manufacturing firms, the IRF reports, with 87 percent of top performers using award points. Average-performing manufacturing firms use gift cards and merchandise (both at 69 percent) at higher rates than top performers. Other differences can be seen in their priorities, with the priorities of top-performing manufacturing firms for incentive travel programs are appealing across a large audience, providing a unique experience and allowing participant flexibility (18 percent for all three), while average-performing manufacturing firms prioritize building brand loyalty as the highest priority for incentive travel programs—29 percent, compared to top performers at 12 percent.

For the full study, click here.

filed under August 2019
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