Our Predictions for Digital Rewards in 2017

Table of contents

Expansion of Digital Rewards

There’ll be more choice - people will follow the suit of companies such as Ovation who are able to offer a multitude of redemption outlets for their digital rewards. Offering a choice, overcoming cultural, local or economic differences will allow global companies to offer employees a streamlined reward platform.

People Analytics

People analytics will start to gain as much importance as analysing ad campaigns, customer engagement and social media channels. The human element of the company will be assessed through their adherence to company values, their contribution to the team, individual achievements recognised by peers. These powerful insights show you where improvements can be made, where processes can be streamlined, and where hard data is used to track real-time progress.

Digital Rewards Will Drive More Peer Collaboration

Through peer recognition schemes, employee platforms will help communities of staff members to work more cohesively, wherever they are in the world. Employers are likely to set more targets to encourage the use of these streamlining methods, and rewarding their use appropriately. This needs to be done on a real-time basis, which is where digital rewards really come into their own.


The adoption of the gamification of incentives, rewards and recognition will increase in 2017. See our blog explaining Gamification for more details on how this works for you and your employees. These could take the form of fixed action rewards, random rewards, or prize pacing (rewards that are given out in increments).

Team Rewards Will Overtake Individual in Importance

Organisational restructures are shifting focus onto team-work, rather than individual achievements. We are seeing hubs or teams created across departments to work collaboratively. For this reason, team rewards will see an increase in 2017.

Rewarding a Blended Workforce

Many studies including those from Intuit and The Freelancer’s Union are predicting that the workforce will comprise 40% freelancers next year in the US, and we expect that percentage to be roughly the same in other markets. This is due to a plethora of economic reasons that we won’t get into right now. But with this ‘blended’ workforce, how will incentives and recognition work? Having rewards on a flexible, automated platform will take the admin out of rewarding.


The platform you use for distributing rewards should reflect your company and your employees as individuals. At the very least, this should take the form of branding across the platform and links to Human Resources databases, ensuring that personalisation for employees is implemented. Rewards should be delivered using company branding.

Loyalty Marketing

Rewarding long term behaviours but not rewarding existing or passive behaviours will be a key priority for 2017. Going forward, companies will focus on what a customer is worth to them and which milestones, behaviours or thresholds to push customers towards with rewards. And those rewards should be personalised (as we discussed in our previous point). Forbes Insights/Sailthru found that companies that increased their spend on retention in the past one to three years had a nearly 200% higher likelihood of increasing their market share in the past year compared with those spending more on acquisition.

Employee Experience

Future Workplace (research firm) and Beyond (career network) released findings from their study into Active Job Seeker trends and found that 83% of HR said that “employee experience” is either important or very important to their organisations success, and in order to enhance the experience, they are investing more in training (56%), improving their work space (51%) and giving more rewards (47%).


Video is the fastest growing and most effective form of communication - this is seen across advertising, social media and even within human resources. Most airlines now use video to show their safety demonstrations, many companies use video interviews as an initial launchpad into hiring. We know that video engages - that’s why YouTube sees mobile video consumption rise by 100% every year. We predict we will see it more in digital rewards in 2017 - from adding a video message to the recognition like with Encore or by using explainer videos.  


The way in which we lead, manage and work is an ever-evolving methodology. Those who adapt to new ways of working will feel the results. Most of the predictions have their roots in pre-existing technologies and techniques. Their adoption will increase throughout 2017. Functionality, personalisation and user experience will be the focus of the year in our opinion.