Five trends to drive R&I to 2020


By Colin Hodgson, sales director for incentives and motivation, Edenred

This week I have been busy telling our clients about the rebrand of Capital Bonds, our multi-retail gift voucher, which we are bringing into our Compliments family of products. As a product which has been in the market for over 20 years, it’s a big change but one which is necessary as our brands have evolved.

This has got me thinking about the new trends which will shape how incentives and reward are delivered in the future. So I have borrowed the Doc’s DeLorean and taken a trip ‘Back to the Future’ to see what will be driving change in the next few years…

1. Workplace demographics
Here I see two big areas of challenge. The first is the increasing spread of ages in the workforce. The second is cultural diversity of global businesses and talent pools. Taken together, all organisations will have to think hard about how we ensure incentives and rewards remain relevant, culturally acceptable and with parity for an increasingly diverse set of audiences with different needs and interests.

2. Long-term pay squeeze
The lack of money to invest in pay looks set to continue for the foreseeable future as businesses, the local and global economies recover. As a result, organisations will work harder to deliver recognition programmes to engage and motivate employees. Companies will invest more in incentives and reward as a form of incremental pay for employees who support the behaviours and business outcomes they strive to achieve.

3. Mobile internet
Mobile devices will soon dominate as the channel of choice for going online around the world. This will be a game-changer for reward and incentives where the ability to reach a wider demographic instantly through one device will change the way that incentives and reward are communicated, delivered and redeemed. And as mobile internet means we are increasingly ‘connected’, this is driving the fourth trend.

4. Social Recognition
Peer-to-peer and direct recognition will evolve to ‘social recognition’, allowing employees to congratulate, ‘like’ and celebrate their colleagues achievement within a social media infrastructure. This evolution is already underway in a handful of businesses, delivering great results. As internal social networks become the norm in organisations and demand for these grows from younger generations of workers, I think social recognition will become the norm, not the exception. For organisations, this significantly drives employee engagement. The result will be more ‘democratic’ recognition programmes, less reliant on the actions of line managers.

5. Big data
The last change I see is a transformation in the way organisations use the data they capture from their incentives and motivation programmes. This won’t simply apply to the way reward is redeemed and delivered. It will be significantly deeper, more insightful and incorporate richer HR data, particularly around employee demographics, engagement, interaction and communications to design better, more effective reward programmes that push return on investment.

Of course, in looking to the future you always run the risk of getting things wrong and history shows there are plenty of “unknown unknowns” which come from nowhere to change the way we think. However, I am a firm believer that if you are in the habit of staying on your feet and introducing incremental change then when the big stuff comes around you will be better placed to respond and adapt quickly.

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