A new report underlines how companies are using corporate incentive strategies to motivate people and retain talent so to retain a competitive advantage over their rivals. Such incentive programs were considered a discretionary spend in the past for many corporate entities, particularly owing to adverse economic scenario and budget constraints. However, the situation is changing as more companies are using them to draw new talent and hold on to the existing one.

The survey focused on Canadian companies is done by Berkley Payment Solutions, a provider of Visa and MasterCard prepaid corporate incentive programs in North America. It has come up with the following findings:

This year, more than 75% of Canadian organizations provided incentives for their workers, clients and channel partners—up from 65% in 2012. Over 62% of the companies that offered incentives this year say these rewards have given them a competitive advantage—up from 53% last year.

The report reveals that 63% of polled organizations in Canada offer prepaid gift cards or retail gift cards because they are the easiest to administer and provide the greatest ROI. In fact, in 2013, the use of retail gift cards for specific stores, restaurants or services climbed to 72.8%, up from 62.8% in 2012.

The use of branded or points-based catalogue merchandise as incentives decreased to 54% in 2013 from 59% last year. “Recipients want more flexibility in what, how and where they redeem their rewards,” explains David Eason, CEO of Berkeley Payment Solutions. “Greater choice in redemption options for the growing multi-generational workforce strengthens administrators’ confidence that their programs are motivating employees and channel partners in positive ways.”

While recipient satisfaction and participation are major considerations for companies when they design incentives, cost remains the top factor. The numbers also show that budgets for incentive programs have remained the same over the past three years. In 2013, 47% of survey participants said their reward budgets were unchanged from the previous year. In 2012, that figure stood at 51%, while in 2011 it was 46%.

The number of companies in Canada not measuring the overall success of their campaigns has come down. Just about 23% of them didn’t measure ROI this year in comparison to 46% in 2012.
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