Younger employees (18-30) and those with higher incomes are more likely than others to prefer group reward travel, according to the latest research by the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF).
The IRF’s latest study examines incentive preferences by career stage and which types of incentives and rewards motivate early, mid, and late career employees.
“To prepare for a rapidly changing workforce, organisations should examine their reward programs to ensure that they motivate the ‘younger’ workers who will soon form the majority,” said Stephanie Harris, IRF President.
“Generational Expectations of Incentives, explores ways that incentive and reward programs can be re-designed to maximise their appeal to young professionals, while remaining relevant to those in the mid and late stages of their careers, whose motivation remains vital.”
The survey results are consistent with past studies that show travel rewards are among the most coveted, alongside cash and gift cards. But survey respondents express a clear and strong preference for individual reward travel over group reward travel. The study suggests that a deeper understanding of why workers prefer individual travel and what they like and dislike about group travel, will help incentive group travel reward designers to create more compelling group travel experiences that might attract and motivate more workers.
Other key findings include:
- Younger workers (18-30) are significantly more drawn to merchandise (electronics, etc.) and experiences (concerts, etc.) than mid-career and late career stage workers.
- Gift cards for fun and enjoyable purchases (hedonic) and gift cards for everyday purchases like groceries (utilitarian) were selected in the top three reward preferences across all career stages. Combined, they are more preferred than cash.
- Where cash and gift cards are removed as reward options, travel rewards are the most preferred, even above time off and flexible work. This holds true across all age groups and income levels.
- Late-stage career workers (51+) express a much stronger preference for drivable domestic reward travel locations over those requiring flights.
- Younger respondents (18-30) and those with higher incomes are more likely than others to prefer group reward travel.
- Paid time off (PTO) as a reward is far more important to early-stage workers than to mid and late career workers. The lower the employee’s income, the more likely they are to select PTO over cash.
- Survey respondents express a clear preference for calm and relaxing group travel over a busy agenda with physical activities and business or social events, however, mid, and especially early career workers, report a slightly higher interest in activities.
The IRF surveyed 939 North American workers representing a variety of industries.