by Matt Alderton | August 22, 2017
Successful companies don't just see different results than their competitors. As it turns out, they also practice different behaviors -- particularly with regards to non-cash rewards and recognition for their employees. So concludes a new survey and white paper published today by the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF).

The "IRF Incentive Benchmarking Survey" and companion white paper, "Ten Things Top Performing Companies Do Differently," revealed that top-performing companies are more likely than average-performing companies to use non-cash rewards and recognition programs to reward their salespeople (90 percent), employees (88 percent), and channel partners (81 percent). They also are more likely to have:

High payouts: Salespeople in top-performing companies earn an average of $3,916 in non-cash rewards, compared to $2,749 in average companies. Employees, likewise, earn an average of $170 compared to $147.

High confidence: Top-performing companies were 20 percent more likely to state that their non-cash reward programs help them with employee recruitment, retention, and engagement. The vast majority of them (93 percent) also said their executives are "strong supporters" of non-cash rewards and recognition because they view them as a competitive advantage for their business.

High reach: While average companies want their programs to feel exclusive, top-performing companies want them to have a wide reach; 56 percent of them said they prioritize reach for both employee and sales programs, compared to 36 percent of average companies that prioritize it for employee programs and 28 percent of average companies that prioritize it for sales programs.

"In today's war for talent, organizations need to embrace incentives and recognition more than ever, both internally and within the channel," said Christina Zurek, incentives and recognition solution manager at West Des Moines, IA-based ITA Group, the IRF's partner in the study. "These benchmarks help them ensure their strategies are best in class, making them more relevant to talent and ultimately putting them ahead of the competition."