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employee rewards, Melissa Van Dyke, professional development blog
Melissa Van Dyke

Melissa Van Dyke is president of the Incentive Travel Research Foundation, a not-for-profit foundation that research studies and develops products serving all segments of the global incentive industry. In this shakedown, we asked Melissa to explain what’s so groundbreaking on the IRF’s recent research on employee rewards.

IRF in November published a “landmark study that debunks myths around employee rewards.” Can you start by saying what was so groundbreaking about this study?

Well, we’ve always known in the incentive industry that the elements surrounding the reward—such as how it is presented and by whom—were very important, but we never knew just how important. And now with this study, which gave us thousands of data points, we can really quantify the impact of various elements with different types of rewards and different age groups and work settings.

And what were the key findings?

One of the key findings is that while the reward itself is still a big part of creating a motivational experience, respondents indicated that generally about 50 percent of the preferred reward experience has to do with with the award presentation and the professional development that can come with the reward. What’s more, the weight employees give to who presents the award, how it is communicated to them, and the professional development implications is generally the same regardless of a person’s income, role, gender and even generation.

We were surprised, actually, to find that the reward presentation was as important for Millennials as it was for other age groups. We hear so much about how generation is a defining factor but in this case the differential had to do with workplace location. For employees working in factory locations and home offices, the reward presentation had an even bigger impact on the perceived value of the reward.

So what is the main takeaway here?

The key takeaway is that it’s very important to carefully craft how the incentive reward is presented and communicated and what kind of professional development comes along with it. We’ve always known these elements were important but this study really shows in a quantitative way how impactful they can be.

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