The New Year is synonymous with resolutions and promises of making changes. If you are a business owner, this time of year offers you a perfect opportunity to take stock of your business as emails are probably at an all-time low. Spending quiet time thinking about your business plans for 2016, more importantly how you are going incentivise, and reward your employees is precious time that should be grasped with both hands.
Brian Dunne, Managing Director of SVM Global shares his views on how important incentive and reward activity is to businesses of all types, and how insight and interaction can lead to inspired solutions.
A combination of factors has created a growing need for businesses across Europe to focus on their incentive and recognition activities, says Brian. “What’s really interesting is the movement of people’s expectations and technology, in tandem,” he says. “There’s a young population out there that now make up the majority of the UK workforce, and they’re all people in highly incentivisable spaces – call centres, stores and so on. They expect immediacy. They want to listen to a song and be able to download it, or to download a book instantly. Their method of shopping has changed too: they look an item up online, purchase it and then either click and collect or get it delivered. Those changes that we’re seeing in people’s behaviours are driving changes in incentives.”
For many countries in Europe, incentives and rewards also bring financial benefits. “There’s a number of tax-efficient programmes in different countries,” explains Brian. “One was recently introduced in Germany, where people can earn €44 a month tax free. There’s a similar programme in Ireland, and France has operated one for years. So there’s a significant advantage to companies in Europe who want to incentivise and that’s why the industry is growing so much.”
A look at the gift card market alone suggests just how great the demand is for incentive products and services, says Brian: “In the US, 18% of all the gift cards sold are B2B. In Europe, which has a population about four times the size of the US, that figure is over 50%, and we’re witnessing significant growth in the motivation and reward space across the continent.”
The personal nature of any incentive activity, and the importance of getting it right for each recipient, makes it especially important for reward managers and solution providers to meet face-to-face, says Brian. “When you buy an incentive or reward product, what you’re buying is trust, reliability and integrity,” he says. “This is a world where people’s wisdom counts for a lot, and the way to extract that wisdom is through face-to-face conversation.”
“This is not like buying an item that will look the same wherever you get it from. You’re buying a service; you’re buying the integrity to deliver something that’s got great passion behind it. Because in essence, you’re giving somebody something for being wonderful, whether that’s a ‘thank you’ for being your best customer; your best employee, for being loyal to their credit card programme, or anything else. Whether you’re giving someone a coffee machine, a gift card or an experience – it’s all something that’s very special for somebody. These are your best moments and it’s critical that the rewards you give are delivered with tremendous precision.”
Brian is also the President of IMA Europe, the EMEA division of the Incentive Marketing Association
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