Something that I find too often ignored until late in the incentive program design phase that will have a big impact on the program structure is something called “reward velocity”.

Reward velocity is pretty much what it says – how quickly, and how often will a participant experience the thrill of earning something in the program.

I’ve seen programs where the award is a group travel award for 2 – but it is 12 months away. That means your program has to compensate for the lack of reward velocity with other interventions to keep engagement high. 

In a perfect world you’d want the reward velocity to be a bit random, but still within a two, or four-week time frame if possible. That’s not so many opportunities they see it as spam but not too long between awards that they start to slack off.

This also means as your reward velocity increases – your reward amount per event probably has to decrease to keep your budget in line.

It’s a balancing act.

But the first thing to get right to to make sure you have a program with enough earning criteria – results-based and behavior-based – that you can maintain an appropriate Award Velocity.