The Incentive Federation, Inc. (IFI) is finalizing proposals to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to be approved as a developer of a domestic standards program for workforce incentives, rewards and recognition standards, and to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to have a technical committee established to oversee those standards and to eventually have them approved by ISO. The IFI has engaged the services of the Healthcare Management Institute of the University of Texas Medical Branch to assist in this process. The timeline for submitting the proposals is by the first quarter of 2019.

The IFI was approved as a member of ANSI earlier this year and will continue its membership in the organization throughout the standards approval and development process.

The federation’s actions acknowledge that standards developed and applied in thousands of industries worldwide, such as ISO 9000, have helped improve efficiency, productivity and quality in manufacturing and delivery of products and services. Only during the past few years has the concept of standards for quality management gained acceptance, and efforts are now being made to extend those principles to organizational engagement with employees and customers.

Standards for the incentive and recognition industry, when properly applied and executed, promise to help businesses deliver more powerful and effective solutions and programs for rewarding and recognizing excellent employee performance, increasing productivity and ensuring customer retention and satisfaction.

The IFI board recognized that each of the five non-profit organizations serving as IFI members have an interest and stake in developing standards to benefit their nearly 20,000 members and sponsors. Since the IFI has served for many years as the umbrella group for the broad marketplace of incentives, recognition, rewards, promotional products, corporate gifts, awards, incentive travel and motivation in areas such as research, legislative monitoring and public outreach, the board decided that the IFI is a logical “home” for standards development.

IFI member organizations and corporate members are being asked to participate in the funding, review and development of the standards. Four of the organization members and one corporate member have already pledged to partially fund the costs for standards development in 2018 and 2019, and each of those members, by virtue of their financial support, may participate directly in reviewing and crafting the language and direction of the standards as they are developed.

The Federation needs the support of its members, both financial and intellectual, to ensure the standards being developed represent the interests of the members and, most importantly, the interests of the thousands of businesses employing incentive, recognition or rewards programs for customers and employees. In the coming months the Federation will be asking IFI members and other industry companies to pledge their support in 2019 and to offer their expertise in helping craft the standards documents.