Technology companies have been in the news a lot lately. For better or for worse, they are subject to public criticism and scrutiny because of the industry’s widespread affect on people’s everyday lives. While some surveys find tech employees to be burnt out, other lists highlight the great benefits that make it desirable to work for the best tech companies.

The Incentive Research Foundation and Creative Group took a deep dive into how top performing technology companies use non-monetary rewards and recognition compared to average performing companies. As experts in rewards and recognition programs, we pulled out the most relevant and interesting findings to share with technology company leaders.

Leaders can use this information to see how they compare to other companies and focus on areas that will make a difference to their sales team, channel partners, employees and ultimately their bottom-line. The study looked at incentive and recognition programs overall, and specifically focused on sales incentive programs, channel incentive programs and employee recognition programs. The findings will be released in a four-part series, highlighting key points in each category.

Overall, when it comes to non-monetary incentive and recognition programs, top performing tech companies are more likely than average performing companies to:

  • Use incentive and recognition programs as a recruitment tool
  • Look to outside partners for expertise
  • Say their incentive and recognition programs are a competitive advantage
  • Use points programs and incentive travel
  • Work on building emotional connections with group incentive travel


1. Incentive and Recognition Programs as a Recruitment Tool

Almost 60% of survey respondents of top performing tech companies strongly agree that their programs are effective recruitment tools, compared to just 25% of average performing companies. Any forward-thinking organization can develop a recruitment and retention advantage through a strategically executed reward and recognition program. The news of job candidates not even showing up for interviews proves that the job market is fierce with competition and offering benefits like non-monetary rewards programs will provide an intriguing appeal to job seekers.

2. Outside Expertise

53% of top performers, compared to just 28% of average performers indicated that they look to outside partners for expertise on the best ways to recognize and incent participants. You know your people best but working with an outside influencer can open your eyes to new ways of motivating. Companies like Creative Group work with organizations in many different industries, so we can offer best practices and fresh ideas. An unbiased third party can even audit your current program to determine its effectiveness and if it’s working to its full potential.

3. Incentive and Recognition Programs as a Competitive Advantage

Executives at top-performing tech companies are strong supporters of reward and recognition programs as a competitive advantage – 86% compared to just 44% at average companies. The reason? In addition to being an effective recruitment tool, another benefit to reward and recognition programs is their place in retaining top talent. Creating a culture of brand loyalty among employees and channel partners alike directly leads to the success of an organization.

4. Combine Points Programs and Incentive Travel

Top-performing tech companies are more likely than average companies to use every type of non-monetary rewards, but particularly award points (25% more likely) and group incentive travel (2x more likely.) The benefit in offering these rewards is their ability to get participants asking “What’s in it for us?” instead of “What’s in it for me?” to get them thinking about collective, company goals instead of just personal ones. Plus, the further the rewards are removed from money, the more social in nature they become. Participants are proud to show off merchandise or share in the experiences they’ve earned through work, whereas they wouldn’t necessarily share their latest bonus check.

5. Group Incentive Travel Builds Connections

Numerous surveys from the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence (SITE) have focused on the key program objectives and benefits of incentive travel. Among them are better relationships between employees and management, better relationships among employees, and strengthening employee loyalty. It’s no surprise that top performing companies surveyed by the Incentive Research Foundation put a strong emphasis on building emotional connections with group incentive travel programs. Almost one third said this is a top priority for their programs compared to just 10% of average-performing firms. And beyond the employee aspect, relationship building is just as paramount with channel partners and loyal customers.

To review the other responses from the study, click here.

Interested in learning more? Check back for the other survey responses as they relate to Sales Programs (coming soon!), Channel Programs (coming soon!), and Employee Programs (coming soon!) when they become available. Also, the Incentive Research Foundation will be hosting a webinar, register here:

IRF Webinar: What Top-Performing Technology Firms Are Doing Differently in Incentives and Reward Programs

Tuesday, April 30, 2:00 – 2:30 pm ET

Want to talk about your rewards and recognition program?