by Alex Palmer | February 28, 2013
As the workplace has become increasingly globalized, more employers are seeking incentive providers that can operate across nations and cultures. With this in mind, the Incentive Marketing Association’s Global Incentive Council (GIC) has offered up a white paper outlining best practices for employers looking to select a global incentive provider. 

The paper, titled “Recognition and Incentives in the Global Marketplace: Selecting the Right Provider,” emphasizes that planners must avoid seeing their international incentive program as just an extension of their domestic plan. From logistical points like shipping and ensuring electronic rewards have the proper electrical cords for the country, to more nuanced cultural variations in award presentation and selection, there are a host of ways that a program can hit a bump if it is not carefully executed, according to the paper.

“Too often, we have found that many U.S.-based companies think they can simply extend existing domestic recognition programs to their employees in other countries without considering issues like cultural differences, local delivery capability, fees, taxes, and the provider’s international experience,” said Ashley Fina, GIC member and president of Michael C. Fina’s Recognition Division, in a statement.

To help with this, planners have several options including tapping specific in-country fulfillment experts to oversee award delivery; a network of administrators that tailor and track goals for their respective regions; and multi-national awards, such as global gift cards, that can be used across borders.

The paper continues by outlining other criteria planners can use in selecting global providers, such as level of buying power and level of expertise, as well as fulfillment capabilities, customer service, and consistency in communication.

It goes on to outline the RFP process, and includes sample questions that should be asked of potential providers, such as, “Is your software user-friendly with minimal training?” and “How do you monitor and improve the program while it is in progress?”

“The global incentive marketplace is changing so rapidly due to emerging technology that we thought it important to try to establish some actionable benchmarks that would help companies select the provider that best suits their particular needs for awards around the globe,” said Fina.

The full white paper is available here.