Left: IRF President Melissa Van Dyke and Education and Content Consultant Lynn Randall at the Annual Incentive Invitational May 8
Celebrating its 20th year developing research on all things incentive-related, the Incentive Research Foundation has made several strategic shifts, discussed at a press event May 8 during the Annual Incentive Invitational in Cancun.
The first is the quantity of research being released: 30 surveys in the past three years alone. And though some of the IRF’s earliest surveys are still the most popular in terms of number of downloads, the focus of its research has shifted as well—toward industry innovation. “Four years ago, we were doing a lot of ‘make the case for your incentive program’ research,” said Melissa Van Dyke, IRF president. “We don’t need as much business justification research now.”
In other words, many companies are starting to “get” incentives. A recent study conducted by Aberdeen Group and distributed by the IRF earlier this year found that 100 percent of “best-in-class” companies use group travel and company-sponsored events to reward their sales teams. Now it’s about how companies are building in game mechanics, for example, or extending the reach of their programs with virtual technologies. “We’re always looking for partners with whom we can co-create research,” said Matt Harris, chairman of the IRF board and VP of marketing for Ungerbocker Software International.
The IRF’s goal is to create a “constant trickle of information,” to ensure it is found online and is the go-to source for incentive information. To that end, the organization is also redesigning its web site, an effort led by Trustee Richard Weinstein, CITE, VP of sales and marketing at Ocean Reef Club, who says traffic has grown to between 5,000 and 6,000 unique visitors/month.
Triple the Education
The IRF has also tripled its educational offerings for 2013, starting with the hire of Lynn Randall, managing director at Randall Insights, as education and content consultant, and the debut of its Professional Development Series at the 2013 Rewards & Recognition Expo in April. This will continue with “Third Thursdays,” educational offerings every third Thursday of the month including the videotaped educational sessions from the recent Incentive Invitational which, for the first time, included a dedicated Education Day.
Finally, aware that people now prefer their information in quick snippets, the IRF has introduced Incentive Insights, one- to two-minute video segments offered by no fewer than 40 different experts, such as Dr. Michael Wu, principal scientist at Lithium Technologies and a popular speaker at the Invitational, on the behavioral model created by Professor B.J. Fogg at Stanford University and its connection to human motivation.