Feature Article - January/February 2020

A Home for Incentive & Engagement Solutions

A Closeup Look at the IESP

By Deborah L. Vence

New Resources

One focus of the IESP since its creation has been to generate new resources, such as blogs, white papers and webinars. For example, the IESP blog, which was launched about 18 months ago, is considered one of the IESP's hottest resources.

One 2019 blog post by Carlton One Engagement included three ways to build the best sales incentive program for your team:

  1. "Offer choice. Choice is the true differentiator to any sales incentives program. You need to ensure there is a range of prizes on offer that suit a variety of ages, genders and interests to really get people excited about their incentives."
  2. "Get feedback. The best employee incentives programs involve the input of employees themselves! Get their feedback on the types of rewards they'd like to see, including specifics on what would motivate them most and which KPIs should contribute."
  3. "Consider offering travel. Travel incentives have been shown to have a number of positive effects on the workforce. In a study conducted by the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence, over 75% of respondents found travel incentives motivating or extremely motivating. Additionally, 88% said they felt appreciated when their company offered them travel incentives, and 80% said a program with travel incentives increased loyalty."

Another post by WorkStride includes the reasons that you should re-evaluate the channel incentive solution provider you're using to get your channel incentive program out to your target audience. They include:

  1. "You can't segment your audiences by many (or any) demographic characteristics. The most effective channel incentive programs can vary promotions for different audiences, depending on certain characteristics."
  2. "The platform is limited when it comes to types of promotions that can be run. In our experience, there are two major types of promotions: loyalty-focused and SPIFFs. Many channel incentive solution providers out there can offer you one or the other, or try to separate the two. A robust channel incentive program platform should allow you to seamlessly focus on both at the same time—reward now and promote long-term loyalty."
  3. "Reporting and analytics don't provide a full picture of your promotions. Any channel incentive solution provider delivers reports, but the key differentiator here is how many of these reports are available and accessible to you in real-time."
  4. "They nickel-and-dime you. Need a new promotion? Want to run a custom report? Looking to change out some marketing materials on the site? All of those can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars in addition to your standard subscription fees, reducing the potential for positive ROI."
  5. "Administering the program requires a lot of back and forth. Some channel incentive solution providers have many of the tools your administrators need to make the program succeed—but you have to go through the provider in order to make things happen."
  6. "You don't get the guidance or support you need. A channel incentive solution provider should provide thorough, precise account management that is tailored to your business' needs."

(You can find the IESP blog by visiting www.incentivemarketing .org/iesp. You'll also find links to webinars and other events, as well as other resources such as a Member Directory.)

In September, a new IESP white paper came out that offers advice on strategies to reduce employee turnover and calculate ROI. The white paper—"Strategies for Reducing Employee Turnover and Tools for Calculating ROI"—includes eight downloadable calculator tools to help managers measure everything from the costs of turning over each employee (such as advertising the job, hiring and training) to the costs and ROI of the turnover reduction strategies, such as reward and recognition programs.

For example, the study states that " on average, 27%, or nearly a third, of employees voluntarily leave their jobs each year resulting in their employers having to spend up to 20% of a person's annual salary to replace each employee." (Data from 2018 studies by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Center for American Progress as cited in the white paper.)

What the Future Holds

In looking to the future, Gould said, "We are looking to grow the membership of both the IMA and IESP, with recruitment of more solution providers.

In addition, "We are increasing the number of events for IESP members to educate and learn, through webinars and meetings," he said. "IESP has started to do more corporate outreach marketing, and this will only increase. It is all well and good being a trusted resource for business leaders help their organizations achieve results through engagement and incentive solutions, but if they do not know of us, or cannot find us when they look, it is all for nothing."

Valenzuela added, "We are working on ways to deliver more value to our members with more networking opportunities and access to the newest trends. The IESP is providing more content and educational resource for the IMA and for organizations."