I am honored to chair the Incentive Research Foundation’s (IRF) Research Committee. Our team is made up of industry pros, from client companies, to incentive houses, to supplier partners, all of whom bring important perspective and insight to the table. Last year, when kicking around ideas for research projects, we found regulations to be a growing and important concern for client companies. What’s more, the regulatory environment was highly changeable and difficult to follow. So, we launched a Signature Study, which the IRF will carry forward year-over-year, to provide a real understanding of regulations for incentives, recognition, and rewards as things change.

The research team studied program owners for a clearer picture of their knowledge and confidence around regulations. They dug into the real-world changes companies are making now to adapt to evolving regulations. The results can be found in the IRF’s report, U.S. Federal Regulations and Non-Cash Rewards. Some of the most remarkable takeaways include:

  • Just 38% of program owners rate themselves very knowledgeable about regulations
  • Most companies do not have formal compliance measures in place, but large companies look to legal and compliance colleagues for help
  • 87% of companies have changed their program design in response to changing regulations
  • 85% of companies have changed program communications for the same reasons

The IRF team also worked with an industry attorney to create Legal issues that Affect Awards Programs – 2017 Primer. There’s so much to learn that a supplemental summary is also available to make things a little clearer. The paper provides the details on compliance for:

  • Employee achievement award programs
  • Investment advice fiduciary rule
  • Gift cards, including money laundering rules
  • Sales and use taxes

It’s a lot to absorb, but it is increasingly essential for program owners to understand the legal landscape of their programs, and we’re proud to share this important resource with our clients and colleagues. Happy reading!


About the author

As Vice President of Engagement at Next Level Performance, Susan serves on the board of the Incentive Research Foundation (IRF), and chairs the IRF Research Committee. She has also served on the board of the Incentive Marketing Association (IMA) and is a past president of the Recognition Council, and a past member of the Performance Improvement Council and the Incentive and Engagement Solution Providers (IESP). She is interested in the strategies and benefits of employee engagement, incentive, and recognition programs. An avid traveler, she is also passionate about the art and science of incentive travel. Favorite travel destinations: Costa Rica, Iceland, Switzerland, and Maine.

Susan Adams
Vice President of Engagement